I will post my progress on Color Wheel Five, but I will not post the directions until I have completed it.  Already I see the need for tweaking.

Color Wheel 5, Neutrals and Value Range

The original plan was to pick twelve pigments and use them straight out of the tube to keep a measure of control and consistency.  I needed yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-red, red, red-purple, purple, purple-blue, blue, blue-green, green and green-yellow.

The purple-blue has been the first major problem.  I know that Thalo Blue is not purple-blue, yet I thought it still might work in the color wheel.  Clearly it doesn’t.  There is nothing neutral about adding Thalo Blue to Cadmium Yellow.  The result is green, a saturated green rather than a neutral green.

I will be over-painting many segments, as I adjust the hue and the value.

Color Wheel Five: oil on gessoed rag board.

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An extended analogous color scheme is, basically, half the color wheel.  Traditionally it is one primary color plus the three adjacent colors on each side.  A limited analogous color scheme, depending on whose definition you are using, is either three to four adjacent hues or five adjacent hues.

Trumpet Daffodils and Totems

This painting falls into the limited analogous color scheme category using the definition of five adjacent hues: orange, yellow, yellow/green, green and blue.  The neutrals in the trumpet and the totems are within this range.  For those of you who want to be more exact, you might consider this an analogous with one complement color scheme since the neutralized shadow hue beneath the trumpet horn and the totems is in the family of purple, the complement of yellow.

I feel as if this little sketch could benefit from a bit of bright red somewhere.  The addition of a bright red would bring it into the category of an extended analogous color scheme.

What is important to me is not the category of color scheme that the painting can be placed in but the process of finding the strengths and weaknesses in a painting that are, perhaps, a result of the color scheme.  As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely begin a painting with a color scheme in mind.  I don’t like the restriction I feel when I do so.

Drawn first in ink with my Parker 51 fountain pen followed by watercolor washes.  The thin paper of my sketchbook often ripples when I apply watercolor washes.

Before the poppies have vanished for this spring, I wanted to do a more careful value study of one blossom.  The wind has been tossing the blossoms around too much for me to be able to do the study en plein air.  I decided to work from a photograph…. grrrrrr. I find photographs uninspiring yet extremely helpful for specific information, other than color.

Turning both photographs and paintings into grayscale is useful for seeing both the color values and the overall shapes and patterns of the composition.

'Randy's House' 5" x 8" oil sketch

The house peaks out from behind the giant pine trees.

Trying to stay out of the path of the chilling wind, I set up between two of our huge pine trees on the west side of the house.  I’ve been trying to get used to painting with the board and palette in my lap as I sit in my folding red chair.  The problem with this, especially when I am cold, is that I don’t walk back and forth to view my painting from a distance.  As a result of not seeing the painting from a distance, I get caught up in detail too soon instead of laying down a strong pattern made up of strong lights and darks as well as various sizes of significantly different shapes.  The image below shows how I lost track of the original treeline shape I had established in the initial blocking in.  My fussing with detail in the hedgerow resulted in a monotonous band of uninteresting trees.  When I packed up my gear to head into the house I saw the painting from a distance and immediately went back into it to redefine a more interesting shape of the trees against the sky.  Boring shapes don’t move through space and movement through space is what I enjoy capturing in paint, both in abstract painting and representational painting.

The basic elements that make a strong work of art often suffer due to the distraction of the reality I see before me.  My hope is that as I strengthen my ability to paint representationally, I will be able to bring that strength into my abstract work.  Likewise, I hope that I can bring more abstraction into my representational work.

Chilly Day in April, 5" x 8" oil sketch

As the cold wind chilled my bones I slipped into frantic mode, dipping here and there with my brush, losing focus as my body fought against the cold.  In April the mercury should be rising, not falling.  Rarely did the sun break through the clouds to add a bit of contrast to the landscape behind my house.  When I squinted at my painting it faded into nothingness.

With little to lose I  stopped looking at the complicated, evenly lit field and trees.  I dipped into clean color and applied it to my painting as a mosaic of shapes and values, disregarding the neutral reality that lay before me.

The palette is still limited; cadmium yellow pale, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium scarlet, alizarin crimson, french ultramarine blue, viridian and permalba white.  I was tempted to try an ultra-limited palette today (yellow ochre, burnt sienna and prussian blue).  Perhaps it would have been a good time to try it out.  Maybe on the next neutral day.  Tomorrow?  The weather prediction is leaning toward a day similar to today.

Morning Daffodils, Oil 5" x 8"

Morning Daffodils, 5″ x 8″ oil painting on gessoed board.

Palette: Cadmium Yellow pale, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Permalba White

I don’t think I could mix a good color for cool, blue/green leaves of the daffodils without viridian added to the limited palette.  Viridian also helps to keep the darks from being too purple.