Figures


When painting dancers or musicians during a performance there is no time to contemplate what I’m drawing, what colors I’m using or even why I think I can express the energy of the moment in less than a minute with a pen and a brush.  I paint whatever grabs my attention and provides me with a starting point.

Saucon Valley High School Jazz Ensemble

The Saucon Valley High School Jazz Ensemble won second place in the High School Jazz Band competition at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA.  As a reward, they opened for Kevin Eubanks last Friday evening.  I was given a table to paint on at the back of the room giving me front, slightly distant view of the stage.  What I saw was a mass of musicians dressed in black sitting on black chairs behind black music stands.  The only shapes that stood out were the brass instruments as the stage lights struck them and ……. the bright red neckties worn by each of the band members.

Two students, Two trombones, Two red neckties

A little bit of color can go a long way to save the day.

Drawings: drawn first with dip pen followed by watercolor

Black ink is great for the initial, dip pen drawing while painting during musical performances.  The black lines bring the color to life.  Colored inks, on the other hand, become part of the color scheme, bleeding into the watercolor and often separating into the various colored pigments that they are made from.  Below are examples of the watercolor bringing out the red in Waterman Havana Brown Ink.

Jeffrey Hills playing Tuba (Sousaphone), SteelStacks Cabaret, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Ernie Elly on Drums, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The Havana Brown is beautiful on its own, too.

Frederick Lonzo, Mark Braud, Charlie Gabriel
Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Another example of the ink bleed into the yellows, blues and purples.

Sketches:  Drawn first with dip pen using Waterman Havana Brown Ink, followed by watercolor

Using a pair of near complements works well for a quick sketchbook drawing.

View of Blast Furnaces through the windows.

The blast furnaces as seen through the windows of the SteelStacks cabaret are far more impressive than I’ve shown in this sketch.  One of these days I’ll focus my attention just on these metal giants that look like an ocean liner docked on the outskirts of Bethlehem, PA.

I started with a simple line drawing using a dip pen in Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses ink.  I added a wash of slightly toned down cadmium orange on the blast furnaces, allowing the ink to bleed into the wash.  The final touch was a pale wash of dioxazine Purple, again allowing the ink to bleed.

Because the ink has such a red tone to it, the resulting colors appear to be more an extended analogous color scheme than near complements.  The only watercolor hues I used were Cadmium Orange and Dioxazine Purple.  The purple was my cool color that was warmed by the ink bleed.

 

Extended Analogous with One Complement

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Links to sample paintings using the various color schemes are now on the Color Scheme Game Page.

Playing the Color Scheme Game every morning is helping to strengthen the colors I use the rest of the day and into the night.  The painting above, painted during the weekly Blues Jam, is an excellent example of unintentional application of my morning experiments.

Painting: Portrait of V.D. King drawn first with dip pen followed by watercolor.  Painted at The Grisly Pear in New York City.

Here is another sample of the double complementary color scheme I used at the Raven’s Nest Blues Jam on Wednesday night.

Arne Englund and Don Plowman, Raven's Nest Blues Jam

The dominant complements are purple / yellow.  The supporting complements are blue / orange.  The two are united by the red tone in the ink line that bleeds nicely into each of the colors, acting as a mother color.  Several years ago, after reading Stephen Quiller’s Painter’s Guide to Color, I was inspired to try using a mother color to unite my palette.

Painting: Painted on location during the weekly Blues Jam at Raven’s Nest, Quakertown, PA.  First drawn with dip pen using Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses Ink, followed by watercolor

My brush dipped into only four colors on Monday night at The Grisly Pear.

Josh, Marge and Spiros, The Grisly Pear

Using only Winsor Orange, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Alizaring Crimson and French Ultramarine Blue I ended up with a pile of paintings, most of which fell into the color scheme Analogous with One Complement.   The transitions from alizarin to Ultramarine are a delightful passage of purple variations.  The brilliant yellow-orange is toned with a bit of crimson by the bleed of the ink I used.  I find myself using Noodler’s Black Swan in English Rose for the initial drawing done with a dip pen.  The bleed of the ink works well with my palette.

A couple more examples of the January 2, 2012 ink and watercolor sketches of the musicians can be seen on my other blog, Third Time Around or on my Grisly Pear album on Facebook.

Sketch:  drawn first with dip pen using Black Swan in English Rose Noodler’s Ink followed by watercolor washes.

Purple and Yellow complements with a neutralized red making the triad.

David French singing the Blues

Most of my paintings from Monday Night Blues Jam at The Grisly Pear ended up being triad color schemes, one of the colors being neutralized.  Perhaps this week’s small oil paintings using Color Wheel Five as a reference influenced where I dipped my brush in the dark.  I find triads pleasing and lively.

Sketch: first drawn with dip pen (Diamine Denim ink) and watercolor wash.

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