The orb paintings are piling up nicely in the studio.

Orbs No. 21 - 22" x 30" Watercolor

Orbs No. 21 – 22″ x 30″ Watercolor

The series is taking on a diversity that I didn’t expect and I’m pleased with the way it is shaping up.  Orbs No. 21 has less layers than some of the others, yet the illusion of space is still strong.  I wanted the blues and greens to dominate and the tiny bits of red to create powerful dynamics without being overbearing.

I now have plenty of paintings for the Healing Arts Exhibit at the Bouras Gallery in Overlook Hospital that begins at the end of October.  I hope to have twice as many as I need so that I can pick the strongest to hang in the show.

Color Scheme:  Analogous with one complement.

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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.

Applying what I learn forces me to take giant steps rather than baby steps….. or maybe it’s umbrella steps I’m taking.  “Mother, may I?”.  Yes, I may ….. and it’s about time I did!

Family Treasures No. 19, ink drawing

Mother May I was a game we played in the 1950’s.  Just about every evening throughout the summer, all the kids in the neighborhood gathered in someone’s yard to play games.  Generally it was Hide’N’Seek, Statue, or Mother May IMother May I seemed quite unfair to me, but that’s another matter. The Mother had total control over who could reach her first!

Though I could easily alter the reality of the objects I drew, I want to hold to the reality of the 1959, Lafayette, Indiana postal stamp as well as the reality of the Glass Lady.  (I was born in West Lafayette, Indiana)  That means that the three colors I must use are Red, Blue and Green.  I could bend it a bit to choose a modified triad with two spaces between the hues or I could choose an analogous with one complement (yellow/green to blue with red/orange as the complement).  The results could be and most likely would be very different.  I’m leaning toward the second choice, Analogous with one complement.

Sketchbook Drawing: drawn with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink to prevent excessive bleed.  Noodler’s Black ink is extremely permanent.

Recent inspiration has jolted me into leaping forward.

Landscape - Farm without house, trees or stone wall

I have been painting en plein air for several months, trying to break away from depicting the reality my eyes see before me.  After Wednesday’s trip to New York City, I decided to pull out the stops and see what might happen.  With Vieira da Silva in mind, I managed to finally break through.

This was my third attempt at connecting with the landscape in a more abstract way based on planes and value patterns, incorporating a lively, analogous with one complement color scheme.

sketchbook painting: drawn first in pencil followed by watercolor.  It may not look to be en plein air, but it is.

Back to Trumpet Parts …

Trumpet Parts No. 76, Reverse Color Scheme

I threw the die for The Color Scheme Game and ended up with Analogous With One Complement, Red/Orange as my dominant color.  I thought the middle box that weaves through the right box would get lost if I used a background color too similar to the purple in the other two boxes.  I decided to head more in the direction of double complementary colors (Yellow and Purple, Orange and Blue) keeping the blue high key (light in value).  I resist being restricted by a designated color scheme.  However, the point of this blog is to be able to verbalize whatever it is I’m doing with color.

I tried to fit my final color into one of the standard Color Schemes.  It fits, somewhat, into Analogous With One Complement except that the one complement stretches over into the next color ….. maybe it is Analogous With Two Complements, but not split complements…. Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!  I would rather spend my time painting than trying to talk about painting.

Then I was struck with the idea of approaching the color scheme from what it is not rather than what it is.  This painting doesn’t have any greens or cool reds (except that little strip of dark red in the bottom left).  Hah!  I may not be able to say what it is, but I can certainly say what it is not….. It is not Analogous with one complement using Green as the dominant color.  Maybe tomorrow morning I will throw the die and do the opposite of what they tell me to do.  I wonder if it works well for the reverse of all the color schemes.

Just another way to hijack the brain and challenge creativity.

Sketchbook painting: Drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink, followed by watercolor.

I’ve switched from pen to pencil for the initial sketch, nudged by the delicacy of spring blossoms.  As much as I love my fountain pens and dip pens, I often use them as a crutch.  I’ll just have to limp for a while.

Trumpet Parts No. 63, Watercolor

Playing the Color Scheme Game, I threw a seven for the color scheme ( analogous with one complement ) and another seven for the dominant color (purple or violet).  Perfect!  I used red/violet,  violet, blue/violet and yellow.  I shifted the yellow closer to orange.  As I’ve mentioned before, I use the game as a starting point.  I like to think of the rules as a framework to build from, not a prison.  I could call the rules guidelines instead, but then I probably wouldn’t pay any attention to them at all.

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor.

Why play a silly game?  I do it to avoid procrastination and to conserve my energy for drawing and painting instead of wasting it on early morning decision making that can lead to procrastination.

Six-sided and twelve-sided dice

If I were to think about what it was I wanted to draw rather than grab an item on my way to the morning coffee pot, I would never make it to the coffee pot.  If I were to think about what colors and color scheme I wanted to use after drawing my initial ink contour sketch, especially if I wanted to try something different, I would pour myself a second or third mug of coffee and begin listening to the demon in the corner who is whispering that I could be making a better choice.  Once I did make a decision I would be thinking I should have made a different decision the entire time I was painting.  I remember reading somewhere that Georgia O-Keeffe wore only black so that she didn’t have to waste time and energy deciding what to wear each day. I feel the same way about my morning drawing.  I don’t want to have to think about it too hard, I simply want to begin the day with pen or brush in hand.

I invented the Color Scheme Game for my own use. I share it because I think it might be useful to other artists, too, at all levels. Beginners can easily learn about color schemes and basic elements of art.  Professional artists can easily break old habits and explore new territory.

The most important rule is to have fun, to enjoy the time spent with your sketchbook, your pen, your brush and your colors.

Sketchbook Morning Drawing: drawn first with Waterman Phileas Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink followed by watercolor.

I threw the twelve-sided die twice.  It came up “7” both times.  The color scheme is a #7 – Analogous with one complement.  The Dominant Color is #7 – Purple.

Obviously I did not make the purple the strongest color.  I used the dominant color and its complement (yellow) for the background color and the shadow.  I used the colors adjacent to the dominant color (Red-purple and Blue-purple) for the dice.  In this case I had my bag of dice as my subject and chose red dice and blue die after throwing for my color scheme.