Tom’s bow ties are too hysterical for me to stop at only one painting.  This second study is an example of painting by color value.  I’ll be teaching a Color Value Workshop in Santa Rosa, CA at the end of January and another at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ in the spring.  One may also be scheduled in Salisbury, MD in the next few months.

Comparing the grayscale values

The image on the right shows the painting before adding another wash of violet to darken the shadows.

Grayscale mode of photograph

For variety, I lightened the value of the tie on the right.  Notice that the shadows are much darker than the bow ties.  When I mixed the violet for the shadows, I used too much water and the result was a wash that dried much too light.  I painted the rest of the painting before adjusting thew shadow value.  Had I painted using oil paints, the value of the mixed violet would not have lightened unless I added white.  The Color Value Workshop may be presented in either watercolor or oil.

Comparison in full color

Getting the values right is more important than getting the colors (hues) right!

Sketchbook drawings, color value studies: Family Treasures No. 46, Tom’s Bow Ties.  Drawn first with Sheaffer, snorkel, white dot fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Ink, followed by watercolor washes.

Working on top of rejected, unfinished paintings is intimidating.

Altoid Tin Watercolor Travel Kit

Fortunately I packed a few empty half pans in a different bag, not the one I left on the table at home when making my way through the dark with a flashlight.  (Tom got power back yesterday morning!)

Leaves, shadows and telephone poles

Once pen touched the paper and I randomly drew leaves, shadows and the metal hardware that screwed into the pile of telephone poles I was sitting on, intimidation vanished and the game of creating puzzle shapes began.  Working on recycled paintings hijacks my brain and unforeseen possibilities present themselves ….. puzzles to solve ….. solutions to find.

en plein air sketchbook drawing: original recycled painting in pencil and watercolor… Today’s addition was created in two stages.  First I drew leaves and their reflections on cement in ink and watercolor. The second stage was drawn and painted in the woods while sitting on a pile of telephone poles at Moffett Field.  Limited palette of aureolin yellow, carmine and ultramarine blue.

We were fortunate to spend two nights in a small motel on the beach of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Shadows on the sand dunes. Watercolors in pans in Altoid Tin

The red splotches are from the backside of unresolved paintings that I’ve recycled into pages of a coptic-bound sketchbook.  I’m getting used to painting over splotched paper.  It was a bit unsettling at first.  Keeping in mind my ultimate goal of learning rather than producing, the splotches don’t matter.

Sketchbook drawing: painted en plein air, directly with watercolors.  I used normal watercolor ‘travel’ brushes rather than my waterbrush.

Color can be deceiving.  I thought the shadow was working until I converted the painting to black and white.

Left to right: Too light, too dark, still too dark, just right.

I was concentrating more on playing with the Alice in Wonderland size changes of the safety pin, the key and the earring as they extended beyond the boundary of the cell.  I was counting on the change from red/violet to blue/violet to work for the shadows.  It didn’t.  Another wash of a darker blue/violet proved to be too dark as well as too opaque, spoiling the overall effect of the glass lady.  I washed out a bit of the shadow, but not enough. The staining power of the blue/violet (phthalo blue, french ultramarine blue and alizarin) crimson) is strong.  I soaked the shadow areas and scrubbed them with a stiffer brush to pick up whatever pigment I could, blotting as I scrubbed.  Finally, I got the shadow to where I’m happy with it.  I don’t mind opaque areas in a painting, but not when the only opaque area is a shadow.  Shadows are the absence of light; they’re not objects.

Family Treasures No. 17, The Glass Lady

The glass lady opens to reveal hidden treasures within her skirt.  She sat on my mother’s dresser throughout my childhood.  I don’t remember what was in her skirt at that time.  Most likely, bobby pins.  Now there are buttons, two tiny china fawns without ears, keys, safety pins and a few other odd objects.

Family Treasures No. 17: drawn first with Vintage Sheaffer Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme: Semi Triad –  Yellow/Green, Red/Violet and Blue Violet.