It is predicted that it will reach 80 degrees today.  That breaks all records for the month of March.  Right now, fog surrounds my house.

The morning fog as it drenched the hedgerow, trees covered in early spring buds, gave me one more opportunity to attempt painting the lace-like patterns of the pin oak branches just outside my back door.  Winter is over and I’ve not figured out how to depict those slender, leafless branches at the outer edges of the tree.  Using my dip pen to add ink to the branches that I originally painted over the foggy hedgerow in a darker value watercolor gave me the look I wanted.  I wanted a strong contrast between the branches close to the house and the hedgerow in the distance.  I hadn’t painted the edges dark enough or hard enough with my rigger brush.  The dip pen was a perfect solution, allowing the watercolor to show through the thicker branches.

Sketchbook painting: Sketched lightly in pencil, painted in watercolor, followed by dip pen using Noodler’s Nightshade Ink.

'Chrysalis', Texture, Movement, Edges, Dominant Elements

The suggested rules for the last of the throwing dice games has been posted, Extended Game, Game Four: Elements of Art.

In an attempt to find samples to post, it has become clear to me that I do not view myself as the director of my own paintings.  I allow the paintings to direct me.  That is not always a bad thing, in fact, I rather like it that way.

In order to push my work to the next level, I need to be able to play both parts, to act as a director and to act as a channel for the expression of my subconscious experiences of life.

My life as an artist becomes more exciting and fulfilling each day.

Game Three of the Extended Game focuses on compositional arrangements. Jane R. Hofstetter’s book 7 Keys to Great Paintings is the inspiration for this variation of the game. I strongly recommend obtaining a copy of this book.

Six Compositional Arrangements of Spruce Tree

The six basic compositional arrangements are: Horizontal, Vertical, Cruciform, Axial, Radial and Cantilever.  Link to suggested rules for Game Three.

Link to other variations of the Extended Game.

Link to The Color Scheme Game.

The Game is about making choices and becoming aware that choices must be made whether you like it or not. Embracing and accepting the truth behind that statement is far easier if it is presented in the form of play. Taking responsibility for making choices is far more fun when playing than when working. Learning becomes a joyful experience.

Samples of Various Grayscale Value Range Options, "Seed Packets"

Every shape is specific. It has a size and it has a value. It may or may not have a hue. That hue may be warm or cool, saturated or neutralized. Every time you make a mark, you make a decision either consciously or not.

The challenge of working in color will be more pleasurable when you understand the importance of choosing values for your shapes whether you are painting still life, landscape, portrait or abstract.  Honing your grayscale skills, combined with knowing the local value of specific colors will serve you well when standing before your canvas.  You will have strong tools to help you create the paintings you envision.

Link to The Game – Throwing to Determine Grayscale Value Range

The above samples began with a Five-Shape line drawing:

"Seed Packets", Five Shape Line Drawing used for the grayscale value range examples.

Over the next few months I will post directions and samples for ways that the dice may be used to hone other skills for drawing and painting.  This game may be used as a home study challenge for both beginning and advanced artists.  A link to the rules and samples is at the top of the blog page listed as The Game.  Enjoy!  All feedback is appreciated.

throwing the dice for shapes

Link to Game One – Throwing the Dice for Shapes