For the past several years a small group of women artists met in homes and coffee shops to share ideas and support one another in our journey along the creative path.  B gifted each one of us with a small, cardboard chair as a symbol of our friendship.  She discovered the chairs in Paris.  Each is made from one piece of flat cardboard folded into the shape of the chair.

Cardboard Chair No.1

After playing the Color Scheme Game for a couple of years now, the world of neutrals sprawls out before me like an unexplored territory.  I feel as if I rounded a corner and now find myself in the Yosemite Valley of possibilities and beauty.

Cardboard Chair No.2

Sketchbook Drawings:

Cardboard Chair No. 1 – drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor and gouache.

Cardboard Chair No. 2 – drawn first with carbon pencil followed by watercolor and gouache.

Back to morning weather sketches from home, Polt Mountain in New Jersey.  Depending on whether I was in the front yard or the backyard, the sky colors were totally different.

7 am, looking northwest, Polt Mountain, NJ

7:15 am looking southeast, Polt Mountain, NJ

The sun had risen a bit, adding more yellow light to the sky.  But still, the sky was more pink, gray and purplish looking north.

Sky lightening to the northwest

Morning weather sketches: A mix of watercolor and gouache on various watercolor papers.

Last day of a road trip vacati0n…. Tom is already asleep …. I was ten stories up reflecting on the last seven days on the road.

Gouache Travel Kit

I love those precious moments when I realize, and accept, that progress has been made.
I brought along gouache, but didn’t squeeze it out into the pans until last night, listening to the sound of the ocean waves breaking against the beach.  I brushed a bit of color onto the ink drawing I did of the kitchen in the motel room in the Outer Banks, NC.

Detail of ink drawing, Outer Banks Motor Lodge kitchen

This morning I awoke early to an amazing predawn light upon the ocean…

6:45 am, Ocean City, Maryland

This is my first weather journal painting in gouache.  My second was of three figures on the beach, out early to watch the sun rise. I wish they knew that their special moment was captured in my sketchbook….. but I don’t know them and they will never know….

One figure snapping a photo of the other two figures against the sunrise in Ocean City, Maryland …. gouache.

Color has taken on a new place in my vision….. I’m not sure where that place is.  In a week I leave on another journey… back to the Chesapeake Bay area to paint for six days…… Hmmmm.  Do I bring watercolors and gouache?  Oil paints? Acrylics?

I am finally mixing my pigments intuitively.  I need to stay healthy for another thirty years, at least….. the joy of color is just beginning!

I posted a sample of dice a la Primary Triad Color Scheme this morning on my other blog.  Check it out if you want to compare the two.  Link at the end of this post.

Dice, Secondary Triad Color Scheme

Secondary Triad Colors: Orange, Green and Purple

Looks like it will be a bit longer before I post rules to the game.  I’ve expanded it to cover the basic elements of art: Line, Shape, Value, Color, Texture and Space!  Staying limited has always been a challenge for me.   In addition to the expanded areas of game playing, all the elements will have flexible and multilevel rules, easy enough for beginners and challenging enough for advanced painters.  I don’t really like rules, but creating them helps me to clarify the choices I make as an artist when drawing or painting whether in my sketchbook or on canvas.  With a common language and foundation it is easier to ask and answer questions concerning why a painting either works or doesn’t work.

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first with pencil, painted with watercolor, followed by dip pen in Rohrer & Klingner Cassia ink (Purple).  White gouache added to regain lights.

Link to this morning’s post on Third Time Around: Primary Triad Color Scheme – Dice

Same Town Branch bourbon bottle, different color scheme.  This time the color scheme is analogous complements.

Town Branch Bourbon Whiskey from Kentucky

The dominant color is yellow/orange.  The analogous complements are blue, blue/purple and purple.  I started with a simple shape/value pencil sketch.

Preliminary pencil sketch

The painting became murky along the way.  The sketchbook paper is extremely thin and doesn’t accept watercolor easily.  I became side-tracked by the paper and lost sight of my basic shapes and values.  To pull it back I strengthened the mix of paint in the dark shapes and added a bit of white gouache to try pulling back some light shapes.  Though muddy, the composition is stronger than it was when I wandered too far from my little pencil sketch.

As promised, I will post the Game Rules soon.  Top priority today is to do my taxes…… grrrrrrrr.

Sketchbook painting: drawn first with Carbon Pencil followed by too many layers of watercolor and gouache.

Trumpet Parts Number 22 began well … but I got carried away, over-layering ink, watercolor and gouache to the point of loosing luminosity.

Trumpet Parts Number 22

The bright colored gouache dried five shades duller than it began.  I continued to believe that one more application would bring back the light value I needed to improve shapes and composition.  It only became muddier.

Close up of Trumpet Parts Number 22

As always, I feel time is not lost when I look hard enough for something to learn from the experience and experimentation.  In this case, I’ve decided I will try again, starting off with freely applied splats of ink as preliminary marks to work from rather than hold off until the painting is past its prime and I am left hoping that splats will re-energize it.

Sketchbook painting: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Purple Heart Ink, followed by watercolor, followed by gouache, followed by splats of watercolor and gouache, followed by splats of Noodler’s black ink, followed my many more layers of all of the above…….

A color either sings or falls silent depending on the colors it keeps company with. Scroll back and forth between the two variations of the images posted below.

Trumpet Parts Number 17, red border

The red border causes the mustard-colored background to look ghastly.

Trumpet Parts Number 17, blue border

Unable to paint fresh color over the red border, I cut and pasted on my computer to see what a bright blue might do.  I felt that the mustard background had potential that just wasn’t being nurtured by its neighbors.  Overall, the colors are a bit strange.  Experiments are worthwhile when taken far enough.  Learning my dislikes are as valuable as learning color combinations I like.  Neutrals can be tricky.  I was out of my comfort zone on this one.  I added gouache to correct the background value.  I had used a W5 Ciao Copic marker rather than a W3 making the value too dark. The shadow shapes were lost.  I ended up with the strange mustard background that I brightened a bit with more yellow.

Sketchbook painting:  Part of the 100 drawing/painting Trumpet Parts Series.  Drawn first with fountain pen filled with mix of red and black Noodler’s ink, followed by watercolor, Ciao Copic Markers and gouache.

My gloom comes through my morning sketch, plagued by distraction and inattentiveness.

Jet Plane Game Markers from my childhood

Primary color scheme is usually quite bright and cheery.

Sometimes being distracted while drawing can lead to a breakthrough, a leap to a new, high plane of understanding and expressiveness.  Other times, such as this, it leads only to a dismal drawing that falls far short of its mark.

The last few lines of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow come to mind:

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”

Today will be better, even if the sun doesn’t shine.  It’s up to me to make it that way.  I’ll try the little game pieces again tomorrow morning.

Drawn first in ink, followed by Marvy Markers and ending with a bit of watercolor and gouache in an attempt to recovery some energy.

Experimenting with a limited palette, analogous color scheme, focusing on using the full range of values.

Shaman's Apprentice

Using only variations of orange, red and purple the illusion of form is created by placing warmer oranges against cooler purples, allowing colors to blend wet-in-wet on the paper for smooth transitions between colors and by bringing forward forms on the face with shapes of high value. When you squint at the painting notice that the values of the shapes work in the abstract sense to move your eye through the painting, helping to create the illusion of the space around the volume of the head.  By using an analogous color scheme (three adjacent colors on the color wheel) the focus is on mood or emotion rather than on the illusion of natural light or reality.

The figure was suggested from layers of watercolor paint poured and thrown onto the paper.  A brush was used to further define the figure.  Gouache was used to bring back light values on the face and to balance the abstract shapes of the overall painting.