It’s that time of year again.  Jane presents me with a beautiful poinsettia.  This one, for me, is a new variety ….. an Eckespoint Winter Rose Dark Red, featuring curly blossom petals.

Eckespoint Winter Rose Dark Red

Eckespoint Winter Rose Dark Red, Color and Grayscale Comparison

The leaves and blossoms are compact and a challenge to draw in a visually dynamic way.  I experimented by inventing space shapes between leaves and blossoms.  I’m sure before the season is over I’ll give it another try.

Sketchbook drawing:  Drawn first with dip pens using Noodler’s Tiananmen for the curly petals and Private Reserve Avocado for the leaves.  I applied clear water to allow the ink to bleed into both the petals and leaves before adding touches of watercolor.

The Complementary Color Scheme of Red and Green, a  difficult color scheme to avoid this time of year.  Converting the scan to grayscale is helpful to see how strong the graphics can be using only one hue (green leaves against green background cell) when the value of the hue is extended from light to dark.

Another example of painting by both Color Value and Color Scheme …

Klutz Juggling CubesComparing Full-Color with Grayscale Mode

Klutz Juggling Cubes
Comparing Full-Color with Grayscale Mode

Color Scheme: Analogous with Split Complements (Yellow-Green, Yellow, Yellow-Orange plus Red-Violet and Blue-Violet)

Limited Palette: Aureolin, Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Alizarin, French Ultramarine Blue and Manganese Blue.

Sketchbook Drawing:  Family Treasures No. 47, Klutz Juggling Cubes – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

If you think you might not have the endurance to complete both Color Wheels 3 and 4, please concentrate only on Color Wheel 4, the Color Wheel based on a nine step value scale.

Nine Step grayscale

Although there are ten (one inch) squares in this scale, I refer to it as a nine step value scale.  I don’t like even numbers.  I hardly ever use pure white in a painting unless it is a bit of the paper or canvas showing through.   Since I don’t use white, I don’t feel it is necessary to consider it a value step.  My lightest value is one with a hint of hue. I would never take the time required to create useful color wheels, charts and scales if they were based on even number gradations.  I’m just a bit weird that way.  If you like even numbers, by all means, include white. That will make your 7 step scale an 8 step scale and it will make your 9 step scale a 10 step scale.  Do whatever works for you to be happy during the multitude of hours it will take to complete these wheels.  These are not wheels to be created and tucked away in a corner.  They are meant to be used.  Following these two wheels, we will be creating some wheels that explore beautiful neutralized colors.

I find the nine step value scale to be the most useful, three steps for lights, three steps for mid-values and three steps for dark values.  The usefulness will become apparent in the next few lessons.  If you plan on making both the Seven Value Color Wheel No 3 and the Nine Value Color Wheel No 4 you will need to make two of the Grayscale strips, one with seven (or eight) steps and one with nine (or ten) steps

I suggest making large value scales blocks and cutting them into narrower strips for multiple uses.

7 step Value Scale grid on canvas

9 step value scale grid on canvas

I am showing these template grids with the additional bar for those of you who don’t mind even numbers.

I suggest painting these on canvas so that the scale is thin and can be placed under a glass palette when painting.  It can also be placed closer to the colors you are mixing so that evaluating the value of the color is easier.

Take you time and mix the values carefully until you are satisfied with the transition from one value step to the next.

You will use these grayscales for all of the lessons that will follow.