Two beautiful, red, anjou pears jumped into my shopping cart and the grocery store.


Two Anjou Pears

I played only the first part of The Color Scheme Game. I wanted the Red-Violet of the pears to be one of my colors in my color scheme.  I threw the die and ended up with a color scheme of Analogous with One Complement.  I chose red/Violet, Violet, Blue/Violet and Yellow/Green.

Sketchbook Drawing – Artist Trading Card: Drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

Limited Palette  – Cadmium Lemon, French Ultramarine Blue and Crimson

When Tom is away, meals don’t happen. While I baked cookies, Deb came to the rescue and prepared dinner.

Lime, Apple and Fork

Lime, Apple and Fork

Sketchbook drawing: Lime, Apple and Fork – Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black ink, followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme: Analogous with one complement (Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green and Red-Violet) The fork is a neutral gray.

Limited Palette: Cadmium Yellow Pale, Aureolin, Cadmium Red, Permanent Aliazrin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue

Noticing and identifying color interactions in your surroundings strengthens the lessons learned when playing The Color Scheme Game.

Double Complementary Color Scheme of Fruit

I am visiting a friend in South Portland, Maine.  The design of brightly colored fruit on the cloth beside the sink brings a smile to my face as I brush my teeth each morning upon rising and each evening before I slip into bed.  The red and green are full intensity, complementary hues.  The yellow and purple are slightly neutralized complementary hues.  The yellow and purple separate the red and green from one another while also supporting them without competing for attention.  This is an excellent example of a design using a double complementary color scheme.




Beets and a Lemon


Yellow and Purple objects present the opportunity to play with pure color at both extremes of the value scale as well as the excitement of a complementary color scheme.  None of the other complementary colors allow such an extended value range without dilution of pigment either with water for watercolors or white for oils and acrylics.


Eggplant and Bananas



Anjou Pears.  Watercolor Study by Chris Carter

Anjou Pears. Watercolor Study by Chris Carter


Exploring the various aspects of Color Theory, though fascinating to some, is simply a mental exercise that will not improve your painting unless it is put into practice.  At first it takes a conscious (and for me, rather painful) effort to break old habits and to go back to a new beginning.  Two years ago I decided to retrain my eyes, my mind and my hand to explore the vast world of color at my fingertips.  I began each day painting a small watercolor or oil.  Each night I overloaded my brain with as much “book” information on light and color that I could read before falling asleep.  If I paint all day, every day, for the next thirty years I know I will not exhaust the possibilities of color nor the pleasure I experience from the journey.


Bosc Pear.  Watercolor Study by Chris Carter

Bosc Pear. Watercolor Study by Chris Carter


I’m not sure that I emphasized the importance of challenging your understanding of “color theory” by putting it to the test through painting.  This sounds rather obvious, but putting into practice what one knows is not always easy and it does not always follow naturally.  I have posted a couple of the watercolor studies I painted when I first returned to the study of color and color schemes.  I began each morning by painting a small, quick study of fruit.  These simple, fun, studies revealed both my understanding and my lack of understanding.  I was free to experiment and compare the results without the pressure of judging the quality of the finished painting.


Green Apple.  Watercolor study by Chris Carter

Green Apple. Watercolor study by Chris Carter


The painting of the Anjou Pears is a study using two complementary colors, yellow and purple.  The study, Bosc Pear, is an Analagous color scheme.  I think it would be more exciting if the shadow were more purple than green.  The study of the Green Apple is a study using what might be referred to as a Semi-Triadic Complementary color scheme.  One might also think of it as an Analagous with one Complement color scheme.  It doesn’t matter what you call it.  What matters is that you paint the study beginning with an intention and that you review that intention as you paint, allowing yourself to be free to change your mind and go in a slightly different direction if you wish.  Every path will provide an experience to add to your book of Color Knowledge.

Following strict rules usually results in paintings devoid of joy, energy and inspiration.  Set your rules and then see how far you can push them.  When you break the rules you will do it with intention, not from lack of knowledge.  The result is often shockingly delightful.