Limited Palette


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

Coming up soon!  Both The Color Scheme Game Workshop and the Color Value Workshop is being offered back to back at the National Association for Women Artists in New York City on June 18th and 19th.  Call the N.A.W.A. office to register (212) 675-1616.  Space is limited to eight students.

Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Deep and Ultramarine Blue

Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Deep and Ultramarine Blue

Since teaching the last workshop at N.A.W.A. I have had several personal breakthroughs with color, experimenting with more neutralized primaries and discovering gorgeous palettes.  I also attended a fabulous workshop with Don Andrews.  Again, I experienced several important breakthroughs regarding maintaining strong color when working with color value.  I’ll be sharing these breakthroughs at the upcoming workshops in New York City.

Herman's Roping Boots

Seashells, Westmoreland State Park, VA

Seashells, Westmoreland State Park, VA

Seashells No.3, Myrtle Beach, SC

Seashells No.3, Myrtle Beach, SC

Blue Crab Belly

Blue Crab Belly

Click here for more info and materials list.  Please Contact me if you have questions.

Finally!  The downloadable, PDF Version of The Color Scheme Game is now available on my website!

Color Scheme Game Kit

Color Scheme Game Kit

Die and grayscale are not included.  Print on cardstock (available at office supply stores) and laminate with clear contact paper.  Color scheme templates and custom color wheel templates make learning about color, color schemes and mixing colors with a limited palette a breeze!

Visit my Website Store for details.  Website: ChrisCarterArt.com

Directions for playing both The Color Scheme Game and the Extended Color Scheme Game are included.

Contact me if you have any problems.

(1. ) Matted, framed and dropped off paintings for solo exhibit at Connexions Gallery in Easton, PA …. done  (2.) Picked up paintings from exhibit in Brooklyn … one sold! …. done (3.) Figure out how to film, edit and post short art videos for my students …. still a long way to go to get better, but done.  The list goes on.  Fortunately, all but a few items on the current Art Business list are checked off.  Today the list will grow again, but last night I felt the pressure was off.  I laugh when people envy my life as an artist thinking that I have all the time in the world to do exactly what I want to do.  My life as an artist definitely is enviable, but not for that reason.

Pete's Angel playing to a lame audience

Pete’s Angel playing to a lame audience

What might be envied is the joy of curling up in a comfy chair, a warm breeze crossing the room, the sound of gentle rain with an occasional flash of lightning, fountain pen in hand, drawing two of my constant companions, the little garden angel given to me by my friend, Pete, and my skeleton, Henry.  They keep each other company beside the fireplace in the living room.

Why post this random though on Creative Color?  Because I am still exploring the beauty of the neutrals I can achieve with that ugly pigment, Cadmium Red Deep!  I began my intense study of color three, almost four years ago so that I could bring more full intensity, highly saturated color into my paintings.  That mission has been accomplished and I am enjoying full intensity hues more than I imagined possible.  Now I am going deeper into the world of beautiful color and playing with neutrals.  Without realizing it, most of my daily sketchbook paintings, though rich in color and value, do not use any of the three pigments in full intensity.  All of the colors applied to the drawing are mixes of all three primary pigments in my limited palette of raw sienna, cadmium red deep and ultramarine blue.  This is my third week exploring this palette and I like it more each day.  Though I’m excited about whatever my next three primaries might be, I can’t seem to leave this palette behind.

Image:  Drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

For those of you who live within driving distance of Santa Rosa, California …. I will be teaching workshops at both Village Art Supply (April 25th & 26th) and Riley Street Art Supply (April 27th & 28th)  Please contact me if you would like more info!

Link to short art videos:  Vimeo.com/ChrisCarterArt/

Link to Website Blog: ChrisCarterArt.com/blog/

While preparing for the recent watercolor demonstrations I’ve been doing, I cut open the tube of Cadmium Red Deep that I never use.  I don’t use it because I think it is as ugly as Cadmium Red Light is beautiful.  After making the Color Scheme Game color wheel using Cad Red Deep as my primary red, I discovered the potential of beauty within that color I deemed as ugly.

No. 1 - Artist Trading Card - Watercolor

No. 1  – Watercolor – 2.5″ x 3.5″

This limited palette of raw sienna, cadmium red deep and ultramarine blue produces lovely neutrals.  The watercolor demos are over for the next two months, but I continue to use this odd palette.  In fact, I have replaced a dozen of the paintings I originally planned to hang in the upcoming solo exhibit at Connexions Gallery with new paintings created with this palette.  I can’t help but be reminded of the story The Ugly Duckling.

Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Deep and Ultramarine Blue

Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Deep and Ultramarine Blue

I’m coming up for air….. just for a moment….

Hat City Kitchen ... Listening to the Blues

Hat City Kitchen … Listening to the Blues

I’ve been happily lost in the world of live music, art exhibits, travel adventures and learning how to make my own online tutorials.

The Bad Hands - 4th Annual Blues Bash

The Bad Hands – 4th Annual Blues Bash

To top it off, it’s getting warmer and I’ll be back to drawing in my garden within weeks!

Happy Spring!

Paintings: drawn first in ink with dip pen followed by watercolor, painted during live performances.

Video: demonstration of creating a color wheel for the color scheme game using raw sienna, cadmium red deep and ultramarine blue as my primaries.

A delightful day spent painting en plein air at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, California!

Spring Lake Park, Santa Rosa, California

Spring Lake Park, Santa Rosa, California

The day was overcast with occasional bursts of sunlight.  I’m in heaven.

Watercolor sketchbook painting on Rives BFK printmaking paper – limited palette of cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, french ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, and carmine.

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