In general, a split complementary color scheme consists of one main hue plus the two hues on either side of its complement.

TJ playing at the Blues Jam

In the portrait of TJ, his right hand is the focus, the main hue (yellow) even though it is a smaller shape than the guitar strap and background (red / purple).  His shirt, (leaning toward blue /purple) is the other near complement of yellow.  The three small areas of yellow, his face and his two hands, balance the strong, larger shape of the background.  This is one of my favorite combinations when using a limited palette.  Painting in the dim light of a bar requires limiting my colors so that I am sure I’m not mixing mud.

Painting:  Drawn first with dip pen using Noodlers #41 brown ink (2012) followed by watercolor.  Painted during the Monday Night Blues Jam at The Grisly Pear on MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, NYC.

A full week of paintings and drawing all day, every day made a significant difference when painting at the Blues Jam last night.

Jim Barden, Blues Harp Player

The primary triad color scheme happened on its own.  I felt like I had crossed paths with an old friend.  Slightly neutralized yellow, red and blue make for a lovely, yet strong image.

Painting: drawn first with dip pen using Noodler’s #41 Brown (2012), followed by watercolor

My brush dipped into only four colors on Monday night at The Grisly Pear.

Josh, Marge and Spiros, The Grisly Pear

Using only Winsor Orange, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Alizaring Crimson and French Ultramarine Blue I ended up with a pile of paintings, most of which fell into the color scheme Analogous with One Complement.   The transitions from alizarin to Ultramarine are a delightful passage of purple variations.  The brilliant yellow-orange is toned with a bit of crimson by the bleed of the ink I used.  I find myself using Noodler’s Black Swan in English Rose for the initial drawing done with a dip pen.  The bleed of the ink works well with my palette.

A couple more examples of the January 2, 2012 ink and watercolor sketches of the musicians can be seen on my other blog, Third Time Around or on my Grisly Pear album on Facebook.

Sketch:  drawn first with dip pen using Black Swan in English Rose Noodler’s Ink followed by watercolor washes.