garden


As much as I don’t like green and red together, I think green and rose is beautiful.

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Scented Rose Geranium

This is the second little Artist Trading Card I have painted inspired by my Scented Rose Geranium.  Both  days I threw the die and got a Complementary Color Scheme.  Link to previous painting post.

The colors work better because the red leans toward violet and the greens lean toward yellow.  Rather than being the same value, as red and green are, pink and green offers more of a value range allowing the shapes to play more dynamically with one another.  The value difference is subtle yet effective.

I leave in the morning to teach color workshops at Village Art Supply in Santa Rosa, CA.  I hope to see some of you there!  I’m giving a free demo on Thursday evening.

Sketchbook Artist Trading Card: Scented Rose Geranium No. 2 – drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor

Color Scheme:  Complementary Color Scheme

The large leaves of the Nespera Tree and the small leaves of the Rosemary Plant are painted using the same palette.

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya-japonica) Nespera

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya-japonica) Nespera

Rosemary Plant

Rosemary Plant

The palette for the leaves is cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, cerulean blue and french ultramarine blue.

The background colors are drastically different.  The color scheme for the Nespera illustration is Analogous with Near Complement.  The color scheme for the Rosemary illustration is Extended Analogous.

Sketchbook drawings: drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  3.5″ x 2.5″ standard size for Artist Trading Cards.

As a teen I flavored shortbread cookies with Rose Extract. I saw it in a store and couldn’t resist buying it.  I can’t imagine what inspired me to add it to the shortbread cookie dough.  The delicious taste of the cookies comes back in a flash when I rub the leaves of my rose geranium plant.

Rose Geranium - Artist Trading Card

Rose Geranium – Artist Trading Card

When I purchased the plant last spring I expected it to grow no more than 24″ high and be somewhat bushy like the ones in the fragrant herb garden at Lord Stirling Park.  Mine is now almost five fee high! The plant has never bloomed.  The fragrance comes from the leaves.

Color Scheme: Analogous with one complement – Yellow/Green, Green, Blue/Green and Rose (of course)

ACEO Sketchbook drawing: Rose Geranium –  illustration drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

By altering the green with each dip of the brush an illusion of space is created around each fragrant leaf of the French Tarragon.

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French Tarragon – Artist Trading Card

The color palette is cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, cerulean blue and a touch of french ultramarine blue.  Some of the leaves are painted with one stroke of the brush, others are painted wet in wet, adding variations of green within a single leaf.

Sketchbook drawing: French Tarragon – illustration drawn first in ink with a fountain pen, followed by watercolor

Color Scheme: Analogous – Blue/Green, Green and Yellow/Green.  Dominant Color: Green

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

Parsley, Sage. Rosemary and Oregano - Artist Trading Cards

Parsley, Sage. Rosemary and Oregano – Artist Trading Cards

My morning ink and watercolor drawings have become an addiction, one that brings me great joy.  I don’t always throw the dice to determine my color schemes anymore.  After two years of throwing the twelve-sided die, playing with color is as natural to me as drawing with a fountain pen.  Working in a sketchbook is also an addiction.  I’m creating these little Artist Trading Cards in a small, handmade sketchbook so that they are easier to find than the hundreds of small paintings I have stashed in boxes and drawers.

When I first started my journey toward understanding color, I only hoped that I would be seeing through the eyes I see through now.  Color was one of my weaknesses and now it is one of my strengths, and getting stronger every day.  I look forward to next December 31st to see where this wonderful journey of drawing and painting daily will have taken me.

Happy New Year!  Thanks for joining me on my journey!

Sketchbook Drawings: Parley, Sage, Rosemary, Culinary Oregano – drawn first with ink using a fountain pen, followed by watercolor

The potted Black Sage is turning from blue-green to autumn ochres.

Potted Black Sage Plant

This is the first drawing in my new sketchbook made from recycled watercolors.  Tom needed a good portion of the plant for making a yummy butternut squash appetizer.  I wanted to draw it before harvesting.

Detail of potted Black Sage Plant ( Salvia Mellifera )

The variety of blue-greens to greens is spectacular.  I did, of course, take liberties when I painted it.

Sketchbook Drawing:  Potted Black Sage Plant ( Salvia Mellifera ) – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor, exploring the variety of greens on one plant as the weather turns colder.

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

I’ve discovered the pleasure of growing plants to brew tea from fresh leaves.  Rose Geranium tea is delicious!

Rose Scented Geraniums – Pelargonium Graveolens

Both of my Rose Scented Geraniums share a large, clay pot beside my back stoop.  I have an Old Fashioned Rose Scented Geranium and a Silver Edge Rose Scented Geranium.  They are both considered to be Pelargonium Graveolens.  The fragrance is delightful and the tea brewed from their leaves is refreshing and subtle.  A touch of raw honey from the bee hives across the street and I’m in heaven.

Never again will I moan over the multitude of greens in the summer.  As long as I stay either to the cool side headed toward gray as a neutralized green or the warm side headed toward brown as a neutralized green (depending on my color scheme) I can have the best of both warms and cools without conflict.  If I don’t become too distracted, I’ll paint a chart that illustrates my point.  In this painting I stayed on the side of grays rather than browns and was able to achieve both warm and cool variations in the leaves.  My palette was viridian, french ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, cadmium lemon and a touch of permanent crimson.  Note that they are all cool variations of their hues.  I did not use a warm green, a warm blue, a warm yellow or a warm red.

The greens I created are not realistic for a sunny day, but are quite close to the color of the geranium leaves on a bright but overcast day.  My choice was not based on reality anyway….. it was based on beautiful color and the joy of allowing pigment to mix on the paper, wet in wet creating gorgeous transitions from warm to coll and back again.

Color Scheme: Analogous

Drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor

Plants provide limitless possibilities for variations of shapes and textures.

Ivy Vines

Reality inspires the shapes, imagination provides the colors.  What a great team!

For more variety, I allowed the pigments to mix on the paper, wet in wet within the boundaries of each leaf shape.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme: Extended Analogous.

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.

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