color exercises

In spite of the fact that I rarely if ever post on this blog, or the CreativeColor Blog anymore, I continue to have new subscribers on both.

Flowering Purple Oxalis Mandala

Flowering Purple Oxalis Mandala

For those new subscribers, as well as the rest of you, I want to remind you that I post more regularly on my website blog.  Link:  You may subscribe by following the link.  You may also subscribe for the monthly newsletter.  The “Subscribe To Newsletter” box is below the “Subscribe To Blog” box. Two separate subscriptions.

I’ve posted quite a few new videos on ….. check those out, too!

Since my return to traveling, teaching workshops, painting en plein air and intuitive studio painting, the creative juices are flowing like Niagara Falls.  The focused color study by playing the color Scheme Game is paying off.  This year’s focus is on design through geometry.  I’ll be teaching in Maryland in March and back in California in May, November, and possibly July or August.  The workshops are better than ever thanks to the feedback from my students!  Workshops and Events are posted on my website as well as updated in the monthly Newsletter.

I hope you tune in to the new blog.

I’m staying with Joanie Springer in Santa Rosa.  We stay up late sharing ideas about simplifying our lives online and offline.

Joanie Springer's Corner Bookshelf

Joanie Springer’s Corner Bookshelf

Spending less time on my computer is the bottom line for me.  At the moment, I’m posting on five blogs.  Now that my new website is up and running fairly smoothly, I will cut back significantly on the number of  Creative Color Blog posts.  I thought I might eliminate it completely, but I can’t, I enjoy it too much.  What I worry about is sending out far too many emails to my subscribers. As with the Creative Color blog, I’ll post less frequently on Third Time Around.

My intention is to post no more than two times a week on the new blog and once every other week on Third Time Around and Creative Color.  A weekly exercise and current paintings will be posted on the new blog. If you wish to receive these new posts, please visit and subscribe.

Another change … I am sending out a monthly newsletter, Chris Carter’s Notes with an art tip and a summary of the previous month’s exercises as well as the workshop and events schedule.  There is a separate mailing list for the newsletter.  You will find the subscribe to box on the sidebar of my website beneath the Blog Subscribe box.

Link to the new website blog:

Thanks for your patience and your support!

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

One of the many rewards of motherhood is receiving wonderful, handmade treasures from my children.

Fimo Creature with Bottle Cap Umbrella

Playing the Seasonal Version of The Color Scheme Game is more difficult than I had imagined.  The task was to paint the sketchbook drawing of the Fimo Creature in Winter Evening colors.  I feel the different parts of my brain working as I roll the clock back to a remembered winter evening and attempt to fix it in my brain. The subject of my drawing is not a factor. I strive to express the mood of the evening by choosing colors that suggest the atmosphere of that past moment.   There are as many color combinations of winter evenings as there are minutes in a day.  At times it feels more like a process of elimination, removing color and saturation options one at a time until I have distilled the choices.  This is exactly what I wanted from this exercise.

Sketchbook drawing:   Family Treasures No. 38, Fimo Creature with Bottle Cap Umbrella. Drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  Seasonal color Palette …. Winter Evening.

Number Fifty in the Series of One Hundred Drawings and Paintings of Trumpet Parts!

A touch of orange

Playing The Color Scheme Game I rolled an Analogous Color Scheme using Blue/Green, Blue and Blue/Violet.  I couldn’t resist adding the yellow/orange at the end to see what happened.  For me, it adds energy and movement to the sketch.

Only fifty more sketches to go!  A few more painting with oil paints might be nice.

Sketchbook Drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filed with black ink, followed by watercolor.  Numbers on dice added after the watercolor dried completely to avoid ink bleed.  I was not using permanent black ink.

I wanted to move on…. but no ….. an email from Frank sent me back to the Modified Triad of Orange, Red and Yellow.

Another try at red, yellow and orange

It worked nicely when Oxalis was the subject.  The difference is that the Oxalis leaves are somewhat flat.  The trumpet valves are cylindrical.  I don’t get hooked on the easy issues, I get fixated on the bigger challenges.  Finally, I feel like I’m learning something!  Sometimes I feel as if I should focus my energy on the issue of world hunger instead of indulging myself solving the challenge of painting trumpet parts using a modified triad color scheme.  Passions are what they are….

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink, followed by watercolor.

If it had been an oil painting I would have wiped it off the canvas after the first hour of struggle.  Instead, I continued, searching for the problems and experimenting with solution options.

Trumpet Parts No. 43 - Grasping for resolution

Leaving white paper worked well for the Oxalis Ink and Watercolor sketches.  Leaving the table white did not work well at all for Trumpet Parts No. 43.  I started off with a loose, dip pen sketch of the trumpet parts rather than the more careful contour-like sketch I usually begin with.  The choice of throwing in a window, two walls and a painting on the wall as a background turned out to be another decision that didn’t work.  To top it off, the throw of the second die sealed the fate of the misdirected sketch.  The first throw was a Two (Modified Triad) The second throw gave me a dominant color of Orange.  That left me with Orange plus Red and Yellow ….. all warm colors that fall along the top half of the value scale.

I’ve been using saturated colors when playing the Color Scheme Game, not venturing toward neutrals.  Trumpet Parts No.43 is a great example of the importance of neutrals!  Without them, in this case, there would be no darks at all except for the black ink.  I didn’t mix neutrals until my last attempt to “save” the painting, which obviously, I didn’t do.  What I learned during the four hour struggle was well worth it.  Tomorrow I will reconstruct a variation of this sketch based on what I learned from today’s efforts.  I will hold to the same color scheme and attempt to extend the value scale to include white and the darkest darks while maintaining the scheme of red, orange and yellow.

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first with dip pen and black ink, followed by watercolor and gouache …….. the images shown are the last two variations after many layers of washes, splatters and glazes.

Triad color scheme with split complements, dominant color is Blue/Purple.  That gives me Blue/Purple, Yellow and Orange.

Trumpet Valve, Caps and Rooting Oxalis

The entire day was spent drawing the trumpet valve parts.  I have more than sixty drawings left to do.  I want to finish them before spring arrives so that I can begin my next series of 100 drawings and paintings as soon as the earth begins to awaken from winter.  I’m thinking of focusing on hedgerows.

Each drawing is unique, even if the subject matter is the same.  Each drawing requires my total focus.  Though I say I want to be done, I am not rushing.  I learn nothing when I rush.  For me, drawing and painting is about learning new ways of seeing and new ways of expressing what I see, it is not about making pictures.

Sketchbook drawing:  drawn first with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

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