Color and Value

I’ve been taking an Illustration 101 course recently offered by Tara Larsen Chang at Cloud 9 Art School. It’s been fascinating and it’s been fun to geek out with the latest topic of color.

One of the recent exercises was to make a color wheel with primaries (Red, Yellow, and Blue), Secondaries (Orange, Green, and Purple) and Tertiaries (the colors between the Primaries and Secondaries). But part of making a strong picture is choosing the right values. As long as the values work, it doesn’t matter what the colors are.

Above, the right picture is just making a black and white version of my color chart on the left. What’s fascinating is seeing how similar in value some colors are (the yellow green and the yellow-orange as well as the blue, red (rose), and red purple). It is very hard to look at colored things and assess their comparative value. With enough practice it can be learned though and getting a start on that is part of my next six-month plan!

One of my cat portraits is going on a book promotion in Japan

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My friend,  Naoko Eric Kita, in Japan is a translator from English to Japanese. One of her latest books is coming out, 名画のなかの猫, translated from "The Book of the Cat." She is sending out promo cards to booksellers in Japan and my watercolor of her cat Sakura is on them. It’s kind of fun to be indirectly part of this project.
I’m available for pet portraits, but no promises that yours will end up on book promotions!

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More color and color charts!

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Recently I took an online course with Australian sketchbook artist and former architect, Liz Steel with her SketchingNow Watercolours course. She is an amazing artist and a very good instructor. I highly recommend her! I've taken several of her online courses and first came across her as an instructor in Sketchbook Skool, another source of great sketchbook courses online.

Liz led us through a variety of exercises with our watercolors to become more familiar with what our particular paints would do and things to consider when painting on location. One of the lessons was about mixing colors and the benefits of knowing certain combinations of color mixes before going on location so that when that kind of combination was needed it would be easy to mix rather than guessing. She suggested that we make a color mix chart of the paints in our palettes but it wasn't a requirement for the course since it does take a long time to do. However, I find making color charts a lot of fun and rather meditative, so here is my color mix chart of my current travel palette. 

My paints are a combination of Daniel Smith (DS), Winsor & Newton (WN), Holbein, Schmincke and Sennelier.

My Current Travel Palette

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No matter where you are in your learning path, it's always good to take classes to learn something new, refresh skills and be challenged to do things you wouldn't normally do. I am taking a class from Liz Steel called SketchingNow Watercolours that begins 10 Jan 2018. She does  mostly sketchbook work and is a trained architect. She has a much looser and wetter style of painting than I do and I'd like to learn more of how she approaches watercolors.

Many artists like to take stock of their current materials and Liz is no different. She suggested that the students draw and paint out their current watercolor palettes and make notes of what paints are included. Here is my current set of mostly Daniel Smith, a few Winsor & Newton and solo Holbein, Schmincke and Sennelier watercolors. Palettes are so much more interesting painted out because the color can be seen. It's surprising how different a dry pan of paint can be from a painted swatch on paper.

A new color chart

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This chart is a comparison of the same pigment of PY175 as prepared by two manufacturers, Daniel Smith in their Lemon Yellow, and Winsor & Newton with their Winsor Lemon, mixed with Daniel Smith's Transparent Pyrrol Orange. In this case there's not much of a difference. The only difference I notice is for Lemon Yellow in the center where the mix is lighter in value than the chart below's corresponding box. I didn't start with as much Transparent Pyrrol Orange pigment to make my mixes and was running out in my Lemon Yellow - TPO chart.

Color Charts - Just because they make me happy!

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I've started a new large sized Moleskine watercolor sketchbook and I plan to just have watercolor charts and various mixes in it. It is a huge book, 16 1/2" x 11 3/4"/42cm x 29.7cm, especially when open. It's a bit awkward to work in, but each page is so satisfying when complete. Prints will be available for purchase.

This page has Hansa Yellow Light, a cool yellow, and New Gamboge, a warm yellow, mixed with Transparent Pyrrol Orange. The original color is in one of the most right or most left tall rectangles. The mixes between the two colors move gradually towards the center of the page. The smaller boxes below each tall rectangle are with that particular color with some water added and then more water. 

A Drawing for Inktober

Here's the horse that graciously allowed me to ride her on an excursion to see a waterfall near Trinidad, Cuba. This is a drawing for Inktober, a challenge to draw an ink picture everyday in October and then post online to share. Adding other media is okay. There are daily prompts to follow or not. I chose to work from travel pictures. Right now I'm working from my Cuba photos.

Here's the horse that graciously allowed me to ride her on an excursion to see a waterfall near Trinidad, Cuba. This is a drawing for Inktober, a challenge to draw an ink picture everyday in October and then post online to share. Adding other media is okay. There are daily prompts to follow or not. I chose to work from travel pictures. Right now I'm working from my Cuba photos.

Una Bolsa de las Piñas - A Bag of Pineapples

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A pineapple is good and a bag of pineapples is better, especially if there is fresh juice being made with them. The only problem is the needing to carry them up four or five flights of stairs daily. This is part of daily life in Havana, Cuba.