My eyes are transforming into hue, tone and value meters!  It’s great.  It does, however, make driving a car more challenging.

Morning Watercolor Sketch, 8 am on a gray, rainy day

It’s no wonder plein air painting is such a challenge.  The colors vary, in every way possible, from day to day, from moment to moment.  Yesterday morning was also gray, but a cool gray rather than the warm gray that illuminates my backyard today.

When I get bold enough, I will try this same exercise on a large piece of watercolor paper, just to see what the impact might be.

Morning watercolor sketch of the light and weather conditions at that moment of the day.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know by now that I get distracted easily.  Every time I clear space in my head, a new idea for a series of paintings fills the gap.

Early morning light… 6:30 am and 7:30 am

In addition to experimenting with the new, Seasonal Variation of The Color Scheme Game, I am exploring the colors of the landscape through the day.  I attempt to match the colors as closely as I can with little, if any, concern for describing the landscape itself.  I make note of the date, time, weather conditions and the colors I mix.  the BFK Rives printmaking paper that I have been using in my handmade sketchbooks may not be the best paper for this purpose.  I find I am using more water, diluting the pigment more than I usually do when playing the game.

Journal of Landscape Light: painted with watercolors on BFK paper, early morning on September 26, 2012

When I painted at the Blues Jam last Tuesday evenings I was not intentionally using a color scheme of double complementary colors.

Todd Wolfe and Rob Fraser at the Blues Jam

It was the next morning when I lay out the little paintings that I analyzed their strengths and weaknesses.  I am often surprised when paintings fall into particular color schemes.  In the case of these two paintings, the color scheme is one of double complementary colors that are adjacent to one another: Blue/Orange and Purple/Yellow.  In the painting above, Todd Wolfe (left) is predominantly purple /yellow with the blue pants acting as an accent.  Rob Fraser’s (right) orange guitar brings out the subtle blue of his shirt while his purple paints link him, visually, to Todd.  The yellow strap also links to Todd’s yellow guitar.  Of course, these are not the actual colors of the clothing they wore.

Imagine how separate the figures would be from one another if the colors didn’t, in some way, link the two musicians together.

Blues Guitarist, Todd Wolfe

In the painting above, the double complementary colors appear in a single figure leading your eye around the figure to create a sense of depth, motion and rhythm.

Both paintings were drawn first in black ink using a dip pen, followed by watercolor washes.


My 1988 K-car getting a new oxygen sensor


I am fortunate to have always had friends who are able and willing to work on the out-of-date cars that have been my good fortune, maybe, to claim as my transportation in addition to my bicycle.  This little beauty, a Reliant more commonly known as a K-car, with its peeling paint and saber-toothed fenders has been testing my loyalty lately.  After multiple surgeries of sorts it went from a wonderful 26 miles per gallon to a miserable 15 miles per gallon.  This morning it received, what we hope will be, the final replacement part (for the time) to return it to its more acceptable mileage per gallon.

When I asked Luke how long it might be on the lift, he told me between 15 and 20 minutes.  How wonderful to have absolutely no time to fuss and get picky with a painting.  I pulled my chair out of the trunk and grabbed my cigar box easel/paint box before the car went up on the lift.  Twenty minutes later, the car came down and the painting went into the box and back into the car.  The painting is 5″ x 8″.  Below is a photo of my little plaid box.

I used a very limited palette: Titanium white, cadmium yellow pale, alizaring crimson and ultramarine blue.


Paint box / easel