An analogous with one complement color scheme becomes even more dimensional when neutralized tones are included.

Family treasures No. 40, Flower Press

I’m not sure if the scanned image portrays the neutrals properly.  The analogous colors are yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange with the complementary color being violet.  There are three variations of the yellow-orange, the background, the top surfaces of the flower press and the edges of the flower press.   All three are neutralized with a touch of the violet complement.

I drew the flower press too small to draw the daisy and pansy design on the wood, so I placed them in the background instead.

sketchbook drawing: Family Treasures No. 40, Flower Press 0 drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme: Analogous with one complement.

I left the white petals unpainted, taking advantage of the white of the paper and the definition of the fountain pen lines.

Daisies from Lauraly

The Color Scheme is Analogous with One Complement enjoying a reversal of the dominant color.  I used the complement of the analogous cluster to be the dominant color, the Red/Violet of the background.  The analogous colors, Yellow, Yellow-Green and Green are accents to the bold background shapes.  The white petals allow breathing room between the colored shapes.
Drawn first with a fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Rome Burning Ink on Rives BFK printing paper, followed by washes of watercolor.

Rose Madder is the only fragrant pigment I am aware of.  I couldn’t resist adding a bit of it to the Rose Geranium sketch I posted previously.

Three Stages of the Rose Geranium Study

I could have, and probably should have stopped after adding two spots of Rose Madder.  But ….. my mind kept wandering to that place of curiosity that so often gets me into trouble, while at the same time pushes me ahead.  I wanted to see what the Rose Geranium drawing would like like with a background of yellow/orange.

Memories of playful times in the 60’s and early 70’s flooded my thoughts …. skirts made from half a yard of Marimekko fabrics, kitchen walls painted bright orange with window trim in bright pink …. and brightly patterned BBQ shirts.  Now chefs wear pants made from similar fabrics that awaken the senses.

The study went from being focused on shapes and patterns to being focused simply on playful color … not necessarily a bad thing.

Rose Scented Geraniums with Rose Madder and Orange

After two days of struggling to break through a few plein air landscape barriers, it’s a relief to return to familiar territory, ink and watercolor botanical drawing.

Buddleia – Butterfly Bush

I love painting on the Rives BFK paper in my sketchbook.  I’ve ordered fifty 22″ x 30″ sheets to experiment painting large, en plein air, on a steep slant.  I don’t know how it will drip, but looking forward to finding out.

Color Palette: Analogous with near complement, Yellow/Green, Green, Blue/Green with Red/Violet.

Cutting or carrying armloads of gladioli from acres of newly bloomed, spiked flowers was part of my job as a young teen working on a local farm. Though I love flowers, gladioli were never among my favorites. I thought of them only as funeral flowers.

Gladiolus plant, ink and watercolor sketch

My attitude changed a couple of days ago when the gladioli were the only flowers not yet suffering from the drought. It was my first ever attempt to draw or paint a gladiolus plant. I had not realized it is a genus of the iris family, iridacae. It wasn’t until I had completed my first drawing (see today’s post on my other blog) that I made the connection. Drawing opens my eyes to the obvious I often miss even when I am standing in the middle of it.

Watercolor sketch:  drawn first with fountain pen filled with blue ink, followed by watercolor.

Color Palette:  I used a limited palette of phthalo blue (Joe’s Blue), alizarin crimson and gamboge.

Ahhhh ….. I took a break from studying the form of facial planes to enjoy painting the blossoming hollyhocks again before they shrivel from the lack of rain.

Hollyhock Inspirations

Until a week ago, my sole inspiration for painting hollyhocks, aside from the gorgeous plants themselves, has been Jane Dyer’s illustrations for Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

A garden of Hollyhocks

Susan Abbott is teaching a plein air workshop in Provence and has been posting her paintings on her blog.  Susan’s hollyhocks along a narrow street in Viens has become inspiration number two!

Mine along with Jane’s and Susan’s

Hollyhock to hollyhock

A few adjustments to the painting

After brewing a cup of fresh Rose Geranium Tea, I saw that the green shape adjacent to the center blossom was too similar in value, shape and size.  I broke up the shape and softened some edges.

the source of my fresh brewed tea!

Paintings:  watercolors.  Color palette is Alizarin crimson, Gamboge, Jerry’s Blue and a tiny touch of cadmium red.


I am enjoying close up studies of the spring blossoms as much as I am the panoramic view of the landscape when painting en plein air this spring.

Pear Blossoms on Branch, pencil and watercolor

I’m not sure how well this subtle pencil and watercolor study will appear on computer monitors.  I attempted to express the delicacy of the pear tree blossoms, a challenge when silhouetted against off-white, hot press, watercolor paper.  I used yellows and lavenders as well as the grays and browns resulting from the mix of the two, sketched first in pencil.

Playing the Color Scheme Game can be used as merely a starting point. If the painting is telling you to change the plan, by all means, change the plan!

Trumpet Parts No. 62 with Daffodils and Oxalis Plants

After completing the drawing in ink I threw the die.  The die indicated a Modified Triad Color Scheme with Orange as one of the dominant colors.  That gave me blue as a second and I chose yellow/green over purple/red as my third, preferring my daffodils to be yellowish rather than purplish.  I didn’t like the way the blue worked for the oxalis plant and I didn’t think it would work for both the napkin under the trumpet and the trumpet.  I felt that the shapes might become confused and the trumpet would not stand out against the napkin.  For that reason, I moved away from my Modified Triad Color Scheme and introduced the neutralized red in the trumpet, a few oxalis leaves and the vertical  shape on the right.  The result was somewhat satisfactory, but more muted than I would have liked.  In order to support that muted effect I needed to added stronger color saturation and slightly darker color value to contrast the muted color.  I chose the bright red.  The effect worked.  The colors now look beautifully muted instead of too diluted.

I will continually point out that the purpose of the playing the game is to expand your horizons, not to simply follow rules.  Break the rules on a daily basis!  In playing the game, you will learn the rules and realize you are making the choice to stick to the color scheme or to step off the path.  Stepping off the path is the ultimate goal.

Sketchbook painting: Trumpet Parts No. 62 with Daffodils and Rooting Oxalis Plants.  Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Green Marine Ink, followed by watercolor.

A quick drawing of Daffodils and Trumpet Parts before I grab my oil paints and attempt to capture the local trees breaking into blossom.

Daffodils and Trumpet Parts

Luckily, I threw the die and ended up with an Analogous with Split Complements color scheme.  I chose my own dominant color to be yellow.  I didn’t feel like being bizarre with the daffodils this morning.

Sketchbook drawing: Trumpet Parts No. 61, drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink followed by watercolor washes.  Color Scheme: Analogous (yellow/orange, yellow/ yellow/green) with split complements (red/violet, blue/violet).

Link to Color Scheme Game.

I brought the Color Scheme Game with me on my recent road trip to New Hampshire and Maine.

Narcissus in Glass Vase

A good time was had by all.

It will take me a few days to get back into my normal schedule of posting.  More details later…….

Ink and Watercolor Painting: Narcissus in Glass Vase. Drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink followed by watercolor.  I took liberties with the color scheme of Triad with Split Complements.  I also took liberties with the dominant color being blue.  When I left yesterday morning, the Narcissus had bloomed!

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