This is not the direction I thought I would be heading in when I returned to full-time painting.

Trumpet Parts No. 79, pencil and watercolor 7" x 11"

I’m exploring the basic structure of things the same way I explore the skeleton in order to express the movement of a figure with one flowing line.  The basic structure of most things is geometric.  A byproduct of perspective drawing is intersecting planes that are not necessarily attached to the object being drawn.  The shapes that appear to float in the air surrounding the object create the illusion of space and movement that I strive for.  Hours vanish like cotton candy on my tongue when I’m working on these drawings.

By incorporating both neutral, less saturated colors with primary, full saturated colors, the push and pull effect between the shapes is enhanced. The more saturated colors appear to advance and the less saturated colors retreat.

Sketchbook drawing: Trumpet Parts No. 79, drawn first with pencil and ruler (Yikes! I’m using a ruler again…) followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme:  Everything except Blue/Green, Green, Green/Yellow

Moving forward on bringing it all together …

Trumpet Parts No. 78, Transparent Planes

Once again, reality is only a starting point.  As I began to lay in color, I needed additional shapes to control the movement of the eye through the painting.  Reality is only relative anyway.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first in pencil followed by watercolor.  Erasing pencil line does not work well in my handmade sketchbook with the Rives paper.

Color Scheme: Analagous with one complement – Yellow, Yellow/Orange, Orange with violet.  I used only Cadmium Lemon for my yellow.  Cadmium Yellow is too opaque for transparent layers in this sketch.  The violet is a mix of alizarin crimson and french ultramarine blue, also for transparency.

Sometimes I’m nudged by work I find, or is suggested to me, online.  Sometimes I’m nudged by work I see at an exhibition or I found in a book or magazine.  Within the last thirty-six hours I’ve been hit over the head with input that screams at me to dig deeper, be bolder, take even more chances and to pull together all of my strengths, as well as my weaknesses, in both drawing and painting.

Trumpet Parts No. 77, Watercolor, 11" x 22"

To top it all off, I was given a large, handmade sketchbook, filled with medium weight watercolor paper and a tie, leather cover.  What could be a better way to start a new journey?

The work of Vieira da Silva first inspired me in 2004 when Nicole and I discovered her work in Barcelona.  Three of my strongest oil paintings are the result of her influence.  I have not brought that influence back into my work for many years and I never attempted to bring her influence into still life, landscape or figurative work; I only expressed it through totally abstract compositions.

With a touch of trepidation I take the next step forward, allowing myself to falter and stumble along the way.

The above painting devirginated my new, leather-bound sketchbook. I have to remember that they are all experiments, some succeed, some don’t.  Each page leads to the next and that’s as important as getting out of bed every morning.

Sketchbook painting: sketched first in pencil, followed by watercolor.  Color Scheme is analogous with split complements, Red/Orange, Orange, Orange/Yellow, plus Blue and Violet.

Later ……. the next afternoon ….. I reworked the painting, adding purple ink lines drawn with a dip pen.

Trumpet Parts No. 77, reworked.

I think it holds together a bit better.  There are definitely changes I would make if it were possible.

Trumpet Parts No. 73 is the first entry in the coptic bound, sketchbook I made yesterday in a bookbinding workshop.

Trumpet Parts No. 73 ink and watercolor

The sketchbook is made up of eight signatures, three folios each, resulting in ninety six pages of Rives bfk paper.  It is a pleasure to draw and paint on the Rives paper.  My next handmade sketchbook will be made using various hot press and cold press watercolor papers along with a few odd papers for variety and fun.

Rather than using a fountain pen as I usually do in my sketchbooks, I tried my dip pen with one of the sample inks that just arrived in the mail from Goulet Pen’s Ink Drop.  The ink is Noodler’s Turquoise Eel.  The color scheme is double complements, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Blue.

Here is a link to last night’s blog entry if you would like to see a photo of my new, handmade sketchbook. Coptic Bound Sketchbook.

Sketch: Trumpet Parts No. 73 (only twenty-seven left to go!). Drawn first with dip pen and ink followed by watercolor.

Trumpet Parts No. 72 illustrates the importance of  color value.

Trumpet Parts No. 72 ink drawing

When I had completed the initial ink drawing I felt that the area of the large circle, the bell of the horn, had become too busy. and the my eye was stuck within that circle in an attempt to find a path, or a rhythm. One solution was to simplify the area by painting the tiny screw parts the same value as the bell, uniting them into one shape. I could use different hues while keeping the value of the hue as close as possible. The plan was to paint the caps and key in colors with values that would contrast with the values of the bell and screws, setting them free to move toward the viewer as if floating in space.

Trumpet Parts No. 72 ink and watercolor

In executing my plan, my initial watercolor mix of the red/violet dried much lighter than I expected.  I applied another wash on top of the first.  The result was a darker, more opaque layer than I wanted.  In order to balance the extremely dark value of the bell I had to paint many of the other shapes darker values than I would have liked. I lost the lovely translucent effect that can be achieved with watercolors.  Though the final effect is not what I had hoped for, it was a fun exercise in problem solving using the colors dictated by the Color Scheme Game.

Trumpet Parts No. 71 …. Twenty Nine more drawings to go …. This was the last page of one more sketchbook …. The pile of incomplete sketchbooks continues to diminish!

Trumpet Parts No. 71, ink and watercolor

Playing the Color Scheme Game, I threw a ten (Triad – Complementary) and a #7 (Purple).  As my color equidistant between the purple and yellow I chose red/orange rather than Green/Blue this time around.

Sketchbook drawing:  Drawn first with Waterman Phileas fountain pen filled with Sailor Jentle Epinard (dark green) ink, followed by watercolor.

I continue to forget my intention to draw the trumpet parts as I do dancers and musicians using full arm movements with a gentle hold on my pen.  The stillness of a Still Life automatically shuts off the dancer in me.  When the dancer shuts down, so does the musician and the poet.

Trumpet Parts No. 68, Ink and Watercolor

Landscape, unless the weather conditions are causing the trees to bend and the grasses to sway, causes the same paralysis.  I search for shapes that suggest movement such as freshly disced rolling hills or undulating hedgerows.  I don’t always find those shapes or conditions.  Therefore, I must inject the scene with movement.  Trumpet Parts No. 68 is an attempt to inject a Still Life with a sense of movement and rhythmic pattern.  I find it challenging to draw unmoving objects loosely without drawing them carelessly.  In this sketch I stopped and started many times, being careful as to the placement of each section of trumpet part as well as the shapes and placement of the shadows. The drawing was done in many three-second intervals with about fifteen seconds between each. the watercolor strokes were added in the same manner.  I plan to try the same technique this afternoon painting landscape en plein air.

Sketchbook drawing: Drawn first with fountain pen filled with mystery brown ink, followed by strokes of watercolor.

The color directive for the color scheme: Analogous with split complements (Yellow/Green, Green, Blue/Green, plus Red/Orange and Red Violet).  Obviously, I took liberties with my color scheme.

Trumpet Parts No. 65 …

Variations of Trumpet Parts No. 65 Double Complementary Color Scheme

The die gave me a double complementary color scheme of violet, yellow, red and green.  The composition is cruciform. I find violet and yellow delightful to work with.  I don’t have the same inclination when it comes to red and green.  I neutralized the green.  After stage one (far left) it appeared that I needed a spot of red somewhere within the border to balance the saturated red in the border.  I added the two little half-pans of watercolor pigment.  After that, I felt the contrast in value was not strong enough and I added another wash of a darker neutral green.  Looking at the sketch on my monitor, I decided that it was better without the half-pans of watercolor.  The darker green balanced the red and the composition is better without the pans.

Eliminating the watercolor half-pans.

Sketchbooks and computers work well together to solve problems!

Sketchbook painting: Drawn first with ink followed by watercolor, followed by the magic of digital erasing.

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.

I’ve switched from pen to pencil for the initial sketch, nudged by the delicacy of spring blossoms.  As much as I love my fountain pens and dip pens, I often use them as a crutch.  I’ll just have to limp for a while.

Trumpet Parts No. 63, Watercolor

Playing the Color Scheme Game, I threw a seven for the color scheme ( analogous with one complement ) and another seven for the dominant color (purple or violet).  Perfect!  I used red/violet,  violet, blue/violet and yellow.  I shifted the yellow closer to orange.  As I’ve mentioned before, I use the game as a starting point.  I like to think of the rules as a framework to build from, not a prison.  I could call the rules guidelines instead, but then I probably wouldn’t pay any attention to them at all.

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor.