Saturday, September 29, 2012

Long ago music in the old dancehall had died away. The building sat quietly beside the road that brought people into the center of town for business in the new courthouse.
With pencil and sketch book in hand I walked up and down that road a couple of times looking for a scene to capture in watercolor. The watercolor class field trip time was coming to a close. Many class members had already retreated to the local coffee shop to while away the rest of the time before our shuttle would take us back to Ghost Ranch.

Then I noticed the remains of an old motel just to the right of the dancehall. (Out of picture.) I settled in under scarce shade to sketch the what was left of the old building.
As I planned and noted the values--the deep darks that peeked beyond the greys of old aged boards as well as the medium tones of forefront shade that I shared with the scene--I could almost hear the din of a long ago time but I could hardly begin to imagine the clamor of life these old buildings had witnessed. A scattering of wildflowers threw various colors across the front but I noted that essentially it was the faded pink adobe and green weedy field that defined the color scheme.

Back in the studio I chose the two colors as a beginning wash: Alizarin red and viridian green. Complementary colors--meaning opposite colors on the color wheel that can intensify one another when placed next to one another. When mixed together they create various shades of grey.

 To my delight I discovered the painting shaping up nicely by using only those two colors. Finally I made a decision not to use any other colors. I left out the yellow flowers next to the building and the purple flowers near at hand. I concluded that the two colors alone said just enough to let the viewers' imaginations fill out the picture of what once was but is no more.

Sometimes it takes the least in order to say the most.

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