Applying what I learn forces me to take giant steps rather than baby steps….. or maybe it’s umbrella steps I’m taking.  “Mother, may I?”.  Yes, I may ….. and it’s about time I did!

Family Treasures No. 19, ink drawing

Mother May I was a game we played in the 1950’s.  Just about every evening throughout the summer, all the kids in the neighborhood gathered in someone’s yard to play games.  Generally it was Hide’N’Seek, Statue, or Mother May IMother May I seemed quite unfair to me, but that’s another matter. The Mother had total control over who could reach her first!

Though I could easily alter the reality of the objects I drew, I want to hold to the reality of the 1959, Lafayette, Indiana postal stamp as well as the reality of the Glass Lady.  (I was born in West Lafayette, Indiana)  That means that the three colors I must use are Red, Blue and Green.  I could bend it a bit to choose a modified triad with two spaces between the hues or I could choose an analogous with one complement (yellow/green to blue with red/orange as the complement).  The results could be and most likely would be very different.  I’m leaning toward the second choice, Analogous with one complement.

Sketchbook Drawing: drawn with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink to prevent excessive bleed.  Noodler’s Black ink is extremely permanent.

Wet into wet gives variety to the background shapes.

Trumpet Parts No. 64, Ink and Watercolor Sketch

Playing the Color Scheme Game, I threw a twelve (Modified Triad) and a six (Blue/Violet). That gave me Blue/Green, Blue/Violet and Red/Violet.  I worked wet into wet for the background using red/violet and blue/violet.  They mix well together without going either gray nor brown.  I wanted a change from the fill in the shapes, coloring book activity I fall into after creating the initial closed form ink drawing.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll  start with a strictly contour drawing that will result in open form rather than closed form, lending itself to looser brush work and mingling of colors.

Sketchbook Morning Drawing: Trumpet Parts No. 64, drawn first with Preppy Fountain Pen fit with a fine tip marker tip filled with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness ink.  Followed by wet in wet application of watercolor.  I left the white of the paper in small areas for value contrast against the naturally dark color value of saturated violet, both red/violet and blue/violet.

Yesterday’s lack of successful problem solving had me drawing trumpet parts again at 4 am this morning.

Trumpet Parts 43, 43B and 44

You can read the details of the struggle on Third Time Around.  When I went to bed last night I thought the problem lay in my careless invention of table edge and background walls.  I discovered that the problem began with the positions of the trumpet valves.  Spaces between them and around them were almost equal, creating lack of dynamics and uninteresting shapes.

Working out problems with the shapes and values

When the most basic element of all, shape within a composition, isn’t working, good choices of values and colors only serve as distractions from the main problem.  Energetic splats, beautiful strokes and lovely color can seduce the viewer’s attention away from the underlying weakness of the work.

One word about color value.  The colors in the Modified Triad of Red, Orange and Yellow are warm colors and all three fall within the top half of the value scale.  The only way to introduce the bottom half of the value scale is by neutralizing the colors.  I used their complements to neutralize them, adding only enough to keep within the range of the color.  For example:  I added ultramarine blue to the orange, but not enough to cause it to look either green or blue.  I kept it to a dark brown.

My palette: Scarlet Lake, Cadmium Lemon, New Gamboge, Cadmium Orange …  plus Phthalo Green, Ultramarine Blue and Dioxazine Purple as complements to neutralize the basic colors of the color scheme.

The effort to save the painting was worthwhile.  It forced me to think differently, to look harder and to break the work down into its structural elements.  Though the work itself remains trash, a future painting will benefit from the struggle.

I hope I don’t throw the combination of Modified Triad and Dominant Color Orange again.  It doesn’t make my heart sing.

Sketchbook struggle:  Drawn first with fountain pen filled with mystery brownish ink, followed by watercolor, followed by dip pen in mystery brownish ink.