The rain held off just long enough for Tom and me to enjoy our first outdoor dinner of the year.

Pine Tree - 5 x 5 oil on wood panel

I had hoped to paint the view of the open field as it bends down toward the woods, the trees hinting at the leaves that will be bursting out soon.  Instead, I retreated to the protection of the entrance to our Secret Garden that is covered by a small roof.  The sun vanished behind the clouds and the range of values and hues diminished drastically.

The painting ended up a confused mix of reality and what I wanted the reality to be, flat light mixed with a bit of light and shadows.  Occasionally the sun would peak out to see what I was doing.

Oil painting on 5 inch x 5 inch wood panel toned first with a thin wash of terra rosa.

The yoke of the jacket is now painted and ready for the application of needlepoint threads.  To view previous posts of earlier stages of this project click on the following links:

Design of Butterflies and Coneflowers for yoke of Blue Jean Jacket,
Preliminary color comp illuminates flaws in design
Final Color Comp for Needlepoint design

The following images illustrate the stages of transferring the design onto the jacket yoke.

Jacket pinned over full-size reproduction of final color comp

The original color comp is full-size.  Because it is too large for my scanner, I had to photograph it instead.  Though I thought I shot it straight on, there is a bit of parallax distortion.  I lined the bottom of the print with the jacket yoke.  The top will just be more sky color.

Beginning to paint on the mesh

Using textile paints I began painting directly onto the mesh using the reproduction beneath it as a guide.

The original watercolor comp as reference

Painting on the needlepoint canvas is challenging.  I used the original watercolor color comp as a guide.  I had to simplify the variations in value and hue when painting on the canvas.

Finished transfer onto yoke

The image above shows the yoke without the reproduction beneath it.  The final nuances of value and hue will be up to the creativity of the man who will be doing the needlepoint.  I will include a quality reproduction of the watercolor color comp for him to use as a reference guide.

This was a challenging and enjoyable project.  I welcome comments from those of you who needlepoint.  This was a bit of a shot in the dark for me since I do not needlepoint.

After final approval I will paint the design onto the yoke of the jacket.

Butterflies and Cone Flowers, needlepoint design

To view the original sketches and the first color comp of the needlepoint design click here.  I think the design and the colors will translate well for needlepoint.  There should be no problem obtaining the threads of various values for each of the colors.  Some areas are straight forward and others call on the creativity and experience of the man who will be doing the needlepoint on this project.  My hope is that he will find the design both challenging and enjoyable.

After deciding on the final pencil sketch of the design, I traced over the rendered sketch to create a simple outline drawing that I could photograph, transfer to my computer and print out full-scale onto a sheet of 140 pound watercolor paper.  I saved a great deal of time by using the camera and the computer system.  I then painted the final color comp on the arches watercolor paper.  I will use fabric paints to paint onto the needlepoint canvas of the jacket.

Purple and yellow are the extremes of complementary colors.

Two Baby Eggplants, watercolor study

Not only are they opposite on the color wheel, they are also at the furthest extremes of local color value, yellow being on the high end and purple being on the low end.

I couldn’t pass up painting a quick watercolor sketch of the lovely organic shapes of these two little gems.  They were the last of the eggplant from our garden.  I find that a color scheme based on yellows and purples can capture the sense of light beautifully without having to stray too far from pure pigments.  I like to neutralize the yellow to bring out the rich beauty of the purple.

My focus is on correct color/value and paying attention to the effects of playing warm colors against cool colors.  The painting still has a long way to go.


Villeneuve, France - Oil Painting in Progress


There is a bit of curvature happening in the camera when I photograph the painting in the study.

Staring at the greens in the trees all summer long has helped me with this painting.  I am finally achieving better cool greens as seen in the leaves of the climbing rose.  The cool green helps to create a sense of light shining on and through the leaves in the foreground.  The greens in the pots below are also a playful mix of cools and warms.  I am mixing no more than two colors at a time throughout the painting, even for my neutrals.


Villeneuve, France - detail


A color combination suggested by Rick Daddario:


Winsor Red and Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)


I’m not sure if Rick meant the Winsor Green Yellow Shade or the Winsor Green Blue Shade.  Most likely it was the Blue Shade.  When I dug through my paints I found both.  The Blue Shade was hard as a rock so I opted for the Yellow Shade.

Red and Green are not my favorite combination.  I find them too close in value at full strength.  I also find them a bit nauseating when seen next to one another.  However, I am always willing to give them another try.  After making the chart above, I made another chart including ultramarine blue …


Winsor Red, Winsor Green and Ultramarine Blue Watercolor


The above exercises are the result of a recent blog dialogue discussing mixing darks rather than using black from the tube.

The Winsor Red and Winsor Green were still on my palette the next morning when I did a quick watercolor sketch of the Bittersweet bush outside the window in the gray light of a misty morning.  I have to admit that I liked mixing the two for my darker, warm greens behind the cool-colored leaves.


Bittersweet in the Gray Morning Light


I’m experimenting with beginning a painting from reality and allowing it to veer off in another direction while still painting en plein air.

Inspired by the Buddleia Bush

I enjoy playing with the positive and negative shapes when dealing with the complicated overlapping of leaves and branches.  It is a wonderful opportunity to be inventive with color.

Buddleia Bush Number Two is posted on my other blog, Third Time Around.

Color Palette: Cadmium Yellow Pale, Raw Sienna, Vermillion, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Peacock Blue, Thalo Blue, Viridian.

Forty Minute Color Studies in Oil on gessoed panels:

The backyard is becoming a bit too green for playing with color value shapes.  The garden hose presented a nice juxtaposition of linear shapes and curves.