Musical Instruments

Trumpet Parts No. 77 was painted on the inside cover of my large, leather-bound sketchbook.  Each time I opened the sketchbook, I was forced to see this sketch that gave me a queasy feeling in my stomach.

Original Version of Trumpet Parts No. 77

I either had to glue something over it or change it.  I opted to try a few changes before gluing old, torn dictionary pages to cover it up.  I don’t often such a negative response to my sketches.  I either like them or I don’t like them.  Rarely do they make me physically ill.

Trumpet Parts No. 77 revisited

I made one change, then another and another and another.  It turns out that the blue didn’t work for me at all.  A bit surprising since the blue/violet shapes had been my favorite.  Though I still don’t like the sketch very much, it no longer makes me sick.

Color is quite powerful!  Color combinations are even more powerful!

Sketchbook painting: ink and watercolor

P.S. Sorry Nan!

Almost all of the paintings in the Trumpet Parts Series have been closed-form, closed-value paintings.

Trumpet Parts No. 95

The colors and values are limited by the boundaries of their shapes, creating paintings more decorative than realistic.  I found it easier to experiment with the color schemes by first creating an ink drawing of closed shapes, then painting the shapes with flat washes of full-saturation color based on a twelve hue color wheel.

With only five more paintings to go in this series, I am already turning my attention to the next series for my morning, wake-up paintings, Family Treasures. My goal will be to include open-form, open-value paintings that include a broader expression of the color scheme by including more neutral color mixes and saturation levels.

Sketchbook painting: drawn first with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

Trumpet Parts No. 94.  Cross Complementary Color Scheme.

Trumpet Parts No. 94

The cross complements are Violet, Yellow, Blue / Green and Red / Orange.  Drawn first with fountain pen filled with brown ink (Chocolate) followed by watercolor.  I returned to drawing in one of my unfinished, larger sketchbooks with thin paper.  I’ve been spoiled working in the sketchbooks with watercolor paper that doesn’t wrinkle when paint is applied.  Playing The Color Scheme game has liberated my mind when it comes to shadow colors!

I couldn’t resist including the young hollyhocks outside my window.

To view previous Trumpet Parts Series of 100 paintings and drawings visit my Chris Carter Artist Facebook Page.

I hadn’t given these little keys the opportunity to play a major role in the Trumpet Parts Series.  With less than a dozen left to go, it was about time to let them shine!

Trumpet Parts No. 93

Color Scheme is a Basic Triad of Red/Violet, Blue/Green and Yellow/Orange (with a stronger tendency toward Yellow).  The scan of the painting makes the Yellow/Orange look totally Yellow.

I hope I have as much fun with the series of Family Treasures!

sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen and ink followed by watercolor

Playing with shadow colors again.

Trumpet Parts No. 91, Color Scheme Game

My concentration was on the temperature of the colors, the value of the colors and the contrast of shapes.  Overhead lighting cast a strong shadow beneath the trumpet horn.  I opted to eliminate the minimal shadows cast by the dice and other trumpet parts, feeling they would create busy patterns out of nice, simple shapes.  My color scheme directive was Analogous with One Complement, Red  / Violet as Dominant color.  I opted to include the two cooler hues to the left of Red / Violet rather than work toward the warmer Red / Orange.

Trumpet Series Painting: drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor

The ink bleed is beginning to be a nuisance.

Trumpet Parts No. 90 and Rosemary Plant

I would have like this better if I hadn’t added the red/orange background.  The fine lines of the rosemary plant leaves bled into the watercolor, filling in the small negative shapes between the leaves.  The contrast was lost because the blue/green of the leaves is too close to the background value.  I went back with my fountain pen to redefine the blurred edges of the leaves.  The paper absorbed more ink and the delicate lines became clunky.

My color scheme is analogous with one complement, Red/Orange being the dominant color and blue/green being the complement accent.  I should have abandoned The Color Scheme Game directive and left the background white.  My curiosity got the better of me and I painted the background.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen, followed by watercolor, followed by fountain pen.

The orange shadows in the Trumpet Parts No. 74 daily painting was a surprising success and gave me the courage to play with shadow colors more often.  When I threw the die and ended up with a split complementary triad color scheme using Violet Red as my dominant color I didn’t hesitate to use the green for the shadow.  Playing The Color Scheme Game helps me move past my preconceived notions about colors of objects and shadows.

Trumpet Parts No. 88 in progress

For a change of pace, I drew the bent trumpet part in pencil before inking it.  I wanted the sections to link up properly with one another.  I almost left the drawing as you see it in this first image.  The seed for another series is planted in my brain, one that allows parts of the ink drawing to remain unpainted.  I like seeing the skeleton of the painting.

Knowing that the urge to stop and call it complete was being nurtured by my fear of a green shadow, I forced myself to continue.  At this point I wanted to see what a violet-red trumpet part yellow accents and a green shadow might look like.

Trumpet Parts No. 88

I like it.  How about you?

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with pencil, followed by ink using a fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

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

This is not the direction I thought I would be heading in when I returned to full-time painting.

Trumpet Parts No. 79, pencil and watercolor 7" x 11"

I’m exploring the basic structure of things the same way I explore the skeleton in order to express the movement of a figure with one flowing line.  The basic structure of most things is geometric.  A byproduct of perspective drawing is intersecting planes that are not necessarily attached to the object being drawn.  The shapes that appear to float in the air surrounding the object create the illusion of space and movement that I strive for.  Hours vanish like cotton candy on my tongue when I’m working on these drawings.

By incorporating both neutral, less saturated colors with primary, full saturated colors, the push and pull effect between the shapes is enhanced. The more saturated colors appear to advance and the less saturated colors retreat.

Sketchbook drawing: Trumpet Parts No. 79, drawn first with pencil and ruler (Yikes! I’m using a ruler again…) followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme:  Everything except Blue/Green, Green, Green/Yellow

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