Carol Marine’s humor is finally rubbing off on me. Her titles animate the objects of her still life daily paintings.

Trumpet Parts No. 55, "Betrothed"

Finally, each of the twelve Color Schemes now has a link on the Color Scheme Page to at least one sample painting.  I will continue to add samples as time goes on.

One of the many nice things about working in a sketchbook is that when an out-of-control brush or finger make unwanted marks, it doesn’t really matter.

Sketchbook painting:  Trumpet Parts No. 55 – drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink followed by watercolor and final white added with white gel pen to bring back lights.  Triad with Complements Color Scheme ( Yellow/Orange, Blue/Violet and Red)


I’ve been thinking a lot about reality being only a reference point for paintings.  Yesterday’s early morning landscape sketches challenged that thought.

Omitting the trees and fence

After my first thirty minute sketch (see yesterday’s post on Third Time Around) I moved on to my second with the intent of focusing on the shadows cast by a large walnut tree.  I was enjoying the variations of color I was getting with my limited palette of Scarlet Lake, Cadmium Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Sap Green and Titanium White.  It seemed a pity to interrupt the movement and flow of shapes by painting in the trees and fence.

Having had far too much fun, I promised myself I would behave myself and focus on a more realistic expression of the shadows on the lawn in my next quick sketch.

Shadows a la Dr. Seuss

So much for that plan….. I might try this on a larger canvas.

Oil sketches: 5″ x 5″ on prepared birch wood panels.

I updated yesterday’s post with hand-painted gray scale strips.

Determining Intrinsic Value of Colors

See yesterday’s post to view the gray-scale version of the image.

Subtle transitions of color can result in strong, evocative paintings.

Bill DeHart at the Blues Jam

I was experimenting with using red ink and blue ink in addition to my standard black ink.  The combination of the black and red blending to a sienna color suggested a lighter hand with the watercolor washes I apply after the initial line drawing in ink.  I think the blue and the yellow as similar values in the background next to Bill’s face work well.  The yellow remains high key value along the edge of his back while the blue darkens in value to contrast against his shoulder and create the illusion of space behind him.  Though there isn’t action portrayed, I find the portrait poetic and I like it.

Drawn first with black and red ink followed by washes of watercolor.

Painted during the Tuesday night Blues Jam at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.

'A Dance for Dionysus' - Watercolor and Acrylic on Canvas

Earth tones and strong value changes to emphasis shapes …

My figurative work is usually loose and playful, fluid and experimental.  ‘A Dance for Dionysus’ was one of the first paintings where I began by toning a canvas with poured and splashed watercolor washes and worked into it with acrylic paints that I had mixed myself to a fluid state so that I could also pour and splatter the acrylic.  I had been curious to see if I could manipulate acrylic as I do watercolor.  I had tried with oil paint, but I lost all vibrancy of color when I diluted it to a consistency I could pour or splatter.  Glazing with oil over watercolor washes worked somewhat, but the process was too slow for the energy that drives me when the figures begin to appear within the layers of paint.

For these paintings I don’t use models or photographs.  I look for the suggestion of figures within the patterns.  Sometimes I will work out the twists and turns of the bodies in my sketchbook.  Sometimes I will jump right in and work directly on the painting without a quick study of position.  I find that most models aren’t able to get into the dynamic positions I desire.  As the painting progresses, a story begins to unfold.  When my paintings reach this storytelling stage, I must be alone to be alert to the tale being told.