(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.

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

french-tarragon-artist-trading-cards-ATC-ink-watercolor-Chris-Carter-Artist-010213

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

When Tom was wearing orange suits with these outrageous bow ties, I was wearing skirts made from my blue jeans.  No wonder we didn’t get together back then!  I don’t know what the transition was from attending Woodstock to wearing suits and polka dot bow ties.  It will, forever, be a mystery.

Tom’s 1970’s Bow Ties

I was hoping there would be a bit more of a separation between the blue-green bow tie in the upper left and the shadows which I made the exact same color and value.  Control usually produces more accurate results than hope.  I’ll blame it on eating too much turkey and sweet potatoes.  I’m sure it wasn’t the wine.  I love the shapes regardless of whether they make sense in the real world.
Sketchbook Thanksgiving Day Drawing: Tom’s Outrageous Bow Ties, Family Treasures No. 45.  Drawn first with a 1950’s Sheaffer white dot snorkel pen filled with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Ink, followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme: Basic Triad.  Limited palette of Red-Violet, Yellow-Orange and Green Blue.

I love strong reds playing against strong purples.  I do not love strong reds playing against strong greens.

Cross Complements with a bit of adjustment

Playing The Color Scheme Game forces me out of my comfort zone.  I groan every time I throw the die and it indicates any sort of Red and Green combination.  This morning I threw a Cross Complements Color Scheme with red as one of my colors.  That gave me Red, Green, Orange-Yellow and Blue-Violet.  I took the liberty of neutralizing my green, turning it into more of an olive green.  My original attempt was more of a yellow-green.  It was so brilliant and strong that it detracted from the strength of the red against purple relationship.  The olive works much better.  The yellow-green was also too light a value for the shapes and forms.

Sketchbook drawings: Garlic Bulb and Empty Anchovies Tin, drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Whaleman’s Sepia ( I like this ink a lot ), followed by watercolor washes.

Color Scheme: Cross Complements (Limited Palette of Red, Green, Yellow-Orange and Blue-Violet)

Working on top of rejected, unfinished paintings is intimidating.

Altoid Tin Watercolor Travel Kit

Fortunately I packed a few empty half pans in a different bag, not the one I left on the table at home when making my way through the dark with a flashlight.  (Tom got power back yesterday morning!)

Leaves, shadows and telephone poles

Once pen touched the paper and I randomly drew leaves, shadows and the metal hardware that screwed into the pile of telephone poles I was sitting on, intimidation vanished and the game of creating puzzle shapes began.  Working on recycled paintings hijacks my brain and unforeseen possibilities present themselves ….. puzzles to solve ….. solutions to find.

en plein air sketchbook drawing: original recycled painting in pencil and watercolor… Today’s addition was created in two stages.  First I drew leaves and their reflections on cement in ink and watercolor. The second stage was drawn and painted in the woods while sitting on a pile of telephone poles at Moffett Field.  Limited palette of aureolin yellow, carmine and ultramarine blue.

When I’m traveling and painting, it takes about three days for me to adjust my palette to the location and seasonal light upon the landscape.

Baccharis in bloom and pines

Though I’ve painted in Tyaskin, MD before, it’s always been in spring or summer.  The beauty of Baccharis in bloom against the autumn colors of pines, phragmites, meadow grasses and marsh is absolutely stunning.

Late afternoon light filtering through the forest

Every direction I turn, I see the opportunity to explore the autumn light bouncing off of indigenous plants, delighting my eyes with new and unfamiliar patterns and shapes.

K-car as en plein air studio

When time is short and the light is changing quickly, I skip setting up my easel.  The trunk of my K-car works just fine.

Anita’s meadow, Tyaskin, MD

I couldn’t resist one last painting as the late afternoon glow was fading…..

Baccharis in bloom and Phragmites

Just as I’m beginning to mix my colors intuitively, my visit to Maryland draws to a close.  Without doubt, I’ll return next October.  Not only is it exquisitely beautiful …… I can paint outside without covering myself in bug spray!

Color studies:  en plein air oil paintings, 5″ x 5″ on gessoed wood panels.

A waterbrush and fountain pen make sketching and drawing while traveling a breeze.  As Tom drives, I sit in the passenger seat recording the weather.

7 pm on Route 75, October 7, 2012

Whenever we stop to eat, sleep or take a hike, I capture the moment in quick sketches, carrying pen, brush and paints in my pockets.

Popcorn Overlook, Chattahoochee National Forest, Rt. 76, Georgia

Cabins at Carolina Landing, Fair Play, South Carolina

I would have liked to stay a bit longer at Twin Falls.

Twin Falls, Reedy Cove Creek, South Carolina

I’m using a very limited palette.

Twin Falls, Ink and Watercolor Sketch

In my Altoid Tin I have pans of watercolor that I have squeezed from tubes: Aureolin yellow, gamboge yellow, cadmium red light, scarlet, magenta, french ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, phthalo blue and viridian.  I haven’t had the need for anything else … so far.

Sketchbook drawings:  All but the top drawing were sketched first in ink with a fountain pen, followed by watercolor.