The fog refused to lift….. I just kept painting.  The first oil sketch leans toward a complementary color scheme, the second toward an analogous color scheme. The last two are more monochromatic.

Complementary Color Scheme

I used the same limited palette for all four paintings:  Scarlet Lake, Cadmium Lemon, Cobalt Blue and Titanium White.

Analogous Color Scheme

Monochromatic Color Scheme

I suppose one might call this analogous, too.  I need to stretch the definition of monochromatic or I would never use that color scheme.  It can be extremely moody and evocative, so I bend the rules.

Monochromatic Color Scheme

There’s a lot to be gained by doing several thirty minute oil sketches.  I begin to truly simplify, dropping details that get in the way of strong shapes and compositions.  This is my favorite of the four.

Oil sketches, 5″ x 5″, on prepared birch panels.  Painted yesterday morning, January 23, 2012

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The choice was to either tumble into bed or to force myself to stay awake long enough to do a quick drawing in the sketchbook that is next in line to be completed.  I opted to stay awake.

Art Supplies in Three Modules

I wish I had scanned the original version of this sketch.  I made two changes to it after it’s first layers of washes.  Last night I applied a wash of yellow over the original wash of the red/orange background of the center module.  The result is the yellow/orange glow of the wall behind the can of paint brushes.  The other change I made this morning after having a fresh look at the sketch.  The border around the center module was a dull red.  The entire sketch looked a bit lifeless.  I added another wash of bright red on the border and the entire sketch popped into life.

I thought of this as a sketch in primary colors.  As I reconsider, I see that the secondary colors of green, orange and purple are significant as transitions of hues, bridging the primary colors with an illusion of depth that would not have been possible if I stayed with only the primary colors of red, blue and yellow.  Also note that the blue border of the top module remains less intense than the red border, setting it back as the module at the greatest distance from the viewer

By adding the second wash of red I lost the translucency of the watercolor, but gained a great deal in the sketch as a whole.

First drawn in black ink with my purple glitter, fine nib, waterman fountain pen followed by washes of watercolor.

Now that gallery deadlines have been met I can catch up on my Daily Paintworks Challenge submissions.

Challenge Number Nine 'Chicken'

I stayed with a simple palette of primary colors, predominantly blue and red.  I used yellow to tone down the red in the border so that the red on the head of the chicken would stand out as the strongest, purest color.  I also used yellow for variation in the chicken feathers.

Triads offer a simple way to explore color.  Using two of the three colors to dominant, while the third is used to tone and alter the other two, creates an illusion of full spectrum while maintaining my intended mood or illusion of atmosphere.

Notice how mixing yellow into the red in the border brings the yellow closer to orange (the complement of blue) and creates a greater sense of interaction and excitement between the blue and the border than on the other side of the chicken where the border is closer to red.

I drew the lines of the chicken in black ink using my Parker 51 fountain pen and followed with watercolor washes using a palette of peacock blue, cadmium yellow, cadmium red and alizarin crimson.

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.

The challenge of neutralizing yellow:

Retaining the local color of a sphere as it turns from the light. Watercolor study.

Yellow at full strength is still a light value.  It is therefore a challenge to turn it from the light into shadow without it being overpowered by other pigments.  I grayed the yellow with a mixture of ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson after having made a page of color swatches using both a cool yellow (lemon) and a warmer yellow (cadmium yellow pale).  The best neutrals were created when the violet I mixed to gray the cool yellow leaned more toward the alizarin (warm) and the violet I mixed to gray the warm yellow leaned more toward the ultramarine (cool).  All of the swatches are useful.  Sometimes you might want the yellow to lean toward green or toward orange, but not so far that it loses its yellow identity.

Color swatches

My scanner read the cadmium yellow pale more as an orange. I adjusted the color, trying to make it a bit truer to the swatches.

Note that a new section of color exercises has been added to this blog.  You can view the exercises by clicking on the link in the top bar of this blog or on any of the links on the side bar.  A new color exercise will be added each week.

As I find time I will post comments and reviews about the books I have listed on the “Book Pages”.  I welcome all comments and additional suggestions and reviews of books you have found useful, inspiring and informative.

I also welcome suggestions and reviews of equipment, tools, paints, brushes, etc.  Soon there will be pages added for easy reference for both studio and en plein air painting.