en plein air


A new way to explore when traveling…. or even at home…. Nine Squared Walk’n’Draw!

The results of the Walk'N'Draw

The results of the Walk’N’Draw

It was time for me to make up a new game to play.  I’m now working on Design and Temperature.  In Susan Abbott’s workshop earlier this year, she emphasized the order of priorities when painting….. First comes Shapes, then Values, then Temperature and lastly, Color.  With that in mind, I used the concept of my video “Twenty Steps” to create the new game I’ve titled Nine Squared.

Basic Materials to walk with

Basic Materials to walk with

Before the walk, I drew a grid of nine rectangles on nine sheets of watercolor paper.  All I needed to bring with me were the sheets of paper, a mechanical pencil, a waterbrush, a mini Altoid tin with warm and cool pigment (I only needed two pans, not all three that are shown above) and my leather folder that I use as an easy-to-hold drawing surface that doubles as a folder to carry the paper.

Pencil sketch not shown

Pencil sketch not shown

I begin the walk, taking Nine times Nine steps in any direction (Eighty one steps).  I stop, choose a composition, snap a photo and start my timer for nine minutes.  In those nine minutes I determine my shapes and repeat them in two more rectangles.  I leave one as the pencil drawing, paint the second as a value sketch in browns and the third as a temperature sketch in warm and cool pigment.

Like any of my games, I allow myself to break the rules on a regular basis.  I do not stop in the middle of a busy street just because I’ve reach step number eighty-one.  If there is a nice place to sit in the shade and I reach it at step seventy-three, I stop and sit down.  If I need twelve more steps to get to a nice shady spot, I take those extra steps.  The rules are simply a guide to force me to be more observant of every spot I pass through and to determine warms and cools to create stronger design.

Images:  small en plein air watercolor sketches in Mountain View, California

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On September 26th and 27th I’ll be teaching another Color Scheme Game/Color Value Workshops at RileyStreet Art Supply in Santa Rosa.  On September 28th and 29th I’ll teach Watercolor Techniques at the art story.  Online registration is open on my website: ChrisCarterArt.com.

Orbs No. 20 - Watercolor - 12" x 18"

Orbs No. 20 – Watercolor – 12″ x 18″

I’m looking forward to spending time with new students and traveling a bit with former students who will be sharing some of their favorite en plein air painting spots with me.  I’ll do my best to post a few of our color adventures while I’m away.

Image:  Orbs No. 20 , watercolor, 12″ x 18″, created using flea market trash as templates applying paint with a mouth atomizer.  Color Scheme: Extended Analogous.

One never knows how much time is left to paint those paintings and mix those fabulous colors.  Today is a good day to do as much as one can. Cicadas have six weeks if they’re lucky.  The newborn bird that fell from its nest didn’t have nearly that long.

17 year cicada - ink drawing

17 year cicada – ink drawing

Excerpt from today’s post on my website blog: (Please remember that I post more often on my website blog than I do on this blog….. more time for painting and drawing!)

A cool breeze tempted me out onto the front porch with my cup of coffee, a perfect way to start the day.  Beside a pot of Oxalis a seventeen year cicada lay on its back, the first I have seen on our property this year……. read more.

sketchbook drawing: 17 year cicada drawn first in ink with fountain pen….. to be followed later with watercolor.

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Joanie caught my fever for painting outdoors as well as my attraction to the infinite variety of shapes that pipes and faucets draw upon the landscape. She suggested we paint the faucet outside her laundry room.
I drew it on site and painted it when I returned to Mountain View. I used an analogous color scheme with slit complements indicated by the color scheme game.
Drawn first with ink followed by watercolor.

A reminder that I am now posting more frequently on my website blog rather than on this Creative Color Blog and on my Third Time Around Blog.  To see more samples of the plein air landscapes I painted last month in California please visit the new blog at ChrisCarterArt.com

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, CA

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, CA

I will continue to post on this blog, but maybe only once a month.  I post weekly exercises and new paintings on the website blog.  You may also subscribe to a monthly Newsletter to update you on current exhibits and workshop schedules.

Thank you for viewing my work.

Blue sky lay hidden behind the cover of clouds as we headed to Pacifica.

Pacifica, California, en plein air

Pacifica, California, en plein air

The sun made bold attempts to break through the clouds, the neutralized colors enhanced by the silver light.

Pacifica, California, en plein air

Pacifica, California, en plein air

Finally ….. the landscape transformed as the cloud cover cleared and the water reflected the blue of the sky.

Sun Dancing on the Sea

Sun Dancing on the Sea

Sketchbook Paintings: Artist Trading Cards (2.5″ x 3.5″) en plein air, Pacifica, California

Top – Ink and watercolor

Middle and Bottom – watercolor

The hills surrounding Santa Rosa feel like kindred spirits.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Kenwood, California

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Kenwood, California

Live oaks and black oaks, solitary and in clusters,  populate the erratic hillsides declaring their uniqueness and beauty.  The winter colors are rich with muted blue/greens and red/violets, so different from the winter colors of New Jersey.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Kenwood, CA – watercolor on Rives BFK printmaking paper.  Limited palette: Winsor Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Carmine.

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