Painting on Location
Don Jusko American Artist

colour cat
Dioxine Purple Ultramarine Blue Cobalt Blue Thalo Cyan Blue Turquoise transparent Green Opaque Thalo Green
Burnt Umber Real Color Wheel in Pigments CenterW Permanent Green Light
Burnt Sienna Top Space
Venetian Red Yellow Green Opaque
Yellow Oxide bottom SPACE
Naples Yellow Light Green Gold Transparent Bottom
Magenta Rembrandt Rose Cadmium Red Medium Cadmium Orange Indian Yellow Gold transparent Cadmium Yellow Medium Cadmium Yellow Pale

Jacaranda Trees, Makawao, Maui, 2010
#961, #962, #963

RCW Painting with 3 Primary Colors

Real Color Wheel Link for Artists on Location, these paintings used
this color wheel to make shadows, not black pigment.

RCW Ceramic 3 color palette

This is my 3 color transparent primary ceramic palette
Order here. RCW Transparent Primary Palette with Tartrazine yellow Clear.


Wet the paper down and dry it flat before the session.
Light pencil lines for the patterns, add friskit, go over the pencil lines and let it dry.
Soap clean the friskit brush. (that didn't work) (I cleaned it with turp and soap water when I was finished.)
Light pencil outline the clouds if there are any.
Premix the 3 sky colors, cyan with magenta, cyan with indian yellow, cyan by itself.
Wet both sides so it lays flat.
When the sheen is gone start painting.
I want a smooth blended sky around a lot of little white hard edged color pattern areas. Fresco would be the easiest media to do this in, you could paint white over black in one stroke, transparent water color is the hardest because you have to leave the whites out. I'm thinking this may be a good time for a maskoid frisket.

#961, 3 of 3 paintings done on this location.

I bought a bottle of friskit this morning, Graphigum by Lafranc & Bourgeois and I'm ready to try it out. I drew in the big patterns and the connecting branches.

The maskoid is white and goes down clear to start with and dries shiny and slightly yellow. It was after five when I left, I could work longer because I wasn't painting colors just the drawing and friskit.

Day 1 on this 5x7 w/c. Day 5 on this location, 5-14-10, 2:00 pm. I worked on the 1st, 2nd and smaller 3rd 5.5x7.5 painting. The second is on the back of the first, dumb, really dumb if your going to put it into a frame. I should know better. It's been a long time since I did that. They are all on Waterford paper from my stock 10 years ago. Nice stuff.

5/15/10. It is now 12:00 PM, It's cloudy and raining a little today. The third w/c, Jacaranda Detail 5.5x7.5, dried last night and I rubbed off the friskit, it worked clean as a whistle.

Now I will have an evenly blended sky and it's dark enough to show the flowers brighter and lighter than the sky. The pink flowers and yellow leaves can't have any or a very limited amount of cyan in them.

Here's the first wash. Cyan and magenta on top, cyan and yellow in the middle, pure cyan on the bottom.


First wash coat then while it's still wet a second wash, let it dry. The friskit is working just fine. I didn't wait until it was completely dry so I didn't have to wet both sides. The second wash darkened it quite a lot. I want it darker still.

Day 2jaca PO 5x7backgd 2wash
The third wash did it. I'll let it dry overnight. Here's the third wash, the brushes that I used, a butchers tray and the new RCW Transparent Primary Palette with Tartrazine yellow Clear.


The paper is laid on an absorbent cardboard so I can go and paint over the edges and not pick up more water. I'll wet both sides of the paper so it stays flat and paint in yesterday's sky colors in one fast wash, that's the plan.

Tip: Paint it in at least twice as dark wet as you want it to dry.

RCW Transparent Primary Palette with
Tartrazine yellow Clear.

Ceramic w/c palette
These colors were made with this palette.
Primary & secondary colors

It just doesn't get any better than this. The ceramic palette sits in my butchers tray or in my hand while I'm painting on location. Mixing my colors big and and matching light to pigments is about as much fun that I can have. It's so easy, four out of four, nine year olds can do it.

The transparent pigments in these watercolors are the SAME PIGMENTS I USE IN MY PLOTTER TO PRINT THE REAL COLOR WHEEL. My plotter prints with transparent clear yellow also.

Day 3, 5-16-10, Three hours with a #6 Isabey 6700 squirrels hair, it hold lots of water and has a fine point which I need here. It's a pleasure working on this painting and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I've had to clean up the branch lines because the white frisket was hard to see clearly while I was applying it. I guess I could add some color to it, something non staining like burnt sienna.

Day 4, It was a great day today, I finally got it 100% covered, that means I'm at least half way finished!

That's great, but it's so small. I have to make the pinks and light blues so pale, just a little too intense and it stands out like a mistake. But that is exactly what I was going for.

Day 4 Jacaranda water color

Day 5, 5-18-10. I'm finished, The painting's number is #961. Finishing this painting gave me the confidence to finish the other two jacaranda paintings. I don't know what I'll do about having two paintings on the same sheet of paper, if nothing else it will be hard to frame. I should have signed it in pencil, it would have been neater, you just can't go backward in watercolors.

Finished 3 color Jacaranda Makawao P.O. 2010


Day 1, 5-10-10, This jacaranda is in full bloom right next door. I started 12:00 by drawing with a mechanical thin lead pencil with a kneaded erasure attached to the end. The pencil drawing and the outlines are after the first wash to remove the top layer of size so the paint will flow better. This is nice, I'm in the shade and out of the wind. Stop at 4:00.

Today I got the drawing more then half way done in four hours. The light on the colors will stay the same for about 3 hours. Tomorrow i'll be able to start earlier on the drawing and be ready by noon to add color. Drawing is so important, it's the basis of all your work.

2 day Jacaranda w/c
Day 2, 5-11-10, The sun wasn't cooperating, I was just able to put main primary colors in areas. When I started this painting the wind was blowing and I didn't get the patterns for the flowers right, they moved, up, down, back and forth. I wasn't prepared for the wind and didn't even recognize the drawing problem.

2 day Jacaranda w/c

Day 6, 2.5 hours. This is day 6 at this location, day 4 on this painting.

Two brushes came in very handy today, a Kalish Kolinski Series 8B 5/8th inch long flat end (lettering brush) I had made for me in Ireland by Kalish himself. It was very handy for the new branches I put in today, and the 36 Goliath White Sable. The Goliath is a large 1/2 inch diameter pointed round that is one of my main brushes for water colors. I used it to add more flowers and leaves.

Because I already had the cyan down for the sky I only had to add the magenta in different amounts for the purple flowers and my own transparent clear Indian yellow for the green leaves. Painting with the primaries is indeed fun.

Look at what can be done with my clear transparent yellow, on the bottom of the page is a darker band of only dense transparent yellow. This is the same yellow that is thin and bright just behind the tree. There is no reason to buy opaque yellow light, yellow pale, yellow medium and yellow dark if you are frugal. Even though they are opaque it's still called transparent watercolor. Go figure.. I also intensified the red dirt and shadows at the base of the jacaranda tree.

I didn't try to clean up the sky, instead I started adding branches and flowers. Tomorrow will be more branches in the jacaranda, shadows on the grass and the background trees

Day 4

Day 5, 3 hours on location. I added to the background trees, the sky, the red dirt, shadows and added some branches. A lot more branches to go that's for sure. I think tomorrow it will be finished. If it doesn't rain like it did yesterday.

I used a very handy tool today, an erasing shield. Because Waterford is a softer paper than Arches it is easy to erase with my "used and rounded flat bristle brushes. I have two, one 1/8" inch across for fine work and one 1/4" across, actually I used both. I cleaned the edges of some branches and changed the big shadow on the dirt.

Maybe tomorrow I work on the back of this page, there is a lot to be done in the flowers and branches to catch that painting up to this one.

5-24-10, yesterday it had real strong wind and rain. A lot of the flowers are gone, but today was about branches not the flowers. Perhaps I'm finished with this front painting. I added the back most green leaves, more small branches and touched up all over. Then I moved on to the back painting.

5-25-10, finished the front side painting in 1/2 hour and worked on the back side painting for 1.5 hours. Another hour should finish it. (5-25-10 was before I thought of the rotary hand file for grinding into the paper creating white spaces that can be re-colored.

I should have practiced on scrap, a hiccup could just ruin everything. Believe me, I was "this-close" to going through the paper. I tell'ya, my paintings are a collections of my mistakes, it's all a learning process. This one takes the cake, so far. A two sided 15x22 water color painted with the three transparent primaries, yellow, magenta and cyan.

Day 6

Today,5-25-10 is a "Lahaina Noon" day. That's the one day of the year the sun is directly over head and there is no shadow on a telephone pole. The phenonamon travels from Wailuku Maui to Lanai City Lanai in two minuets according to our Bishop Museum.

On this day a few years ago I proved to myself my "Water Diamond" theory".. I was standing on the end of Maui's Lahaina pier at 12 noon looking at the water diamonds surrounding me. This glaring reflection would be at the same angle of incidence that I was looking directly into each waves face. That angle that would normally be the darkest and appear in an upside down cut diamond shape because the 45 REFRACTION ANGLE of my line-of-sight into the wave angled down into the depth of the ocean.

On this day and hour and moment the sun reflected back to me the brightest sun reflection, so instead of seeing into the darkest view of the oceans depth. The dark water diamond was now a bright white diamond. It lasted less then a minute but that image will stay with me forever. It seems to me it was red before and after the bright white-yellow.

Day 6

When I painted a jacaranda with the sun JUST coming over the mountain in the morning I had to be in the same spot 5 minutes earlier each day to catch the same effect.

Because of the "Lahaina Noon" effect I wouldn't see those exact shadow colors again until next year, clouds willing. Here is the spiral path around the earth the "Lahaina Noon" sun takes 3 days in a row as it passes over Maui.

Day 6


22x15, The same sitting location with a different center point of view, 45 above the horizon line. "Jacaranda 2010 Makawao Post Office 45 above the Horizon Line" painting, #963, 5-24-10.
Painted on the backside of painting 22x15 Jacaranda 2010 Makawao Post Office. Two 22x15 painting on one sheet of 22x15 Waterford paper.PREVIOUS PAINTING, Orion did that with an up and down view of a front and back painting.

I wet it and waited until the sheen was gone to start painting the flowers, this time with out drawing them. Then I could add the trunk and limbs later. Big brush strokes. I noticed the flowers were brighter than the sky and the sky changed from blue to cyan-green to cyan. The cyan-green sky is perceived because of the surrounding purple flowers. I had to catch this and I was geared up and ready to go, 4:30 I left, the sun was gone but I got a start. This sky is also uneven, I have a problem.

Opera by ShinHan Water Color from Korea is the superior pigment for making the tinted pinks and blues of the flowers, and the deep ultramarine blue in the sky. It's the finest grain on the market and doesn't settle in like courser grinds do.
Tomorrow I will start another painting with a friskit, just a pattern for the flowers and branches. I never use friskit but this might be a good time for it. I'll get a smooth blend in the sky of all three colors. Than I'll be using Opera magenta to push the sunlit flowers from pink to purple with blue shadows. That sounds like fun.

Day 3, I didn't start until 2:00. I had flipped the paper over and started again and started painting the back side with my normal palette because it was taking too much time to mix the colors without a butchers tray and I had them all right here. I started adding big color with my #36 Jumbo Goliath. Then I switched to my 3/4" flat and really started hammering it. I feel a better but the sky is an uneven mess.

Day1 Jacaranda Sky
Day 4, 3:00 pm, I did a little on each painting but I'm afraid it's hopeless, the sky is a mess.

Last night I washed and made a 5.5x7.5 paper to start drawing on today. It's going to take time smoothing out the sky washes in these first two paintings.

Day2 jaca Makawao PO back

Day 3 on this painting, I finished the 5x7 and am back on this backside painting #263, 4 hours on the background which is still a mess and a few branches finished the day.

I worked most of today on the front side painting, an hour on this on. The wind is picking up and it's starting to rain. I need another day or two on this painting.

The next days work will be here

I finished this painting today. I never expected this ending. I was fattening up the branches and was facing all the hard edges around the flowers. I had to scratch them less sharp or work the edges by adding sky color or.... It came to me.. Scratching or sanding and erasing guides are all classic techniques, how about using a dremal? It's just working down the paper to white a little faster.. I have a Sears Rotary Tool and I can make the job quick and easy.

That makes as least 6 ways to reduce or remove color. An erasing shield to scrub out color with a stiff brush, Latex Maskoid to keep the area dry and mask the area out, sandpaper is crude, razor blades, point scratching, nail scratching (keep one nail able to make a 3/8" wide wet scrape) and small rotary drill bits.

I went a little over-board with the drill but it is so cool to be able to get back to white again and control the shape so precisely, like the highlight on a branch.

Jacaranda Detail Painting 22x15

Zinc and titanium white have a translucency problem in thin layers. Fresco ph-neutral lime pigment is very opaque, I mixed it with titanium, gum arabic and honey.

I changed colors by painting over them with two coats of white technically changing this to a gouache medium painting. Scraping or sanding the paper would still be in the classic watercolor tradition and a cordless Dremel tool works nicely {|:^)>

Real Color Wheel for Artists on Location, this painting used this color wheel.

Show Yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta, red, orange, brown pigments Day 6
There was no red in this painting except for this one little painted-in dot, just a dot to show that these three transparent pigments will make the whole spectrum.

Here is a photo of the tree with white outlines for the pink flowers and light yellow for the sunlit leaves in the foreground. It's these color patterns that I had to treat as solid forms and leave white spaces while laying out the drawing. This photo was made in the morning when the light is cooler than in the afternoon. I found a nice shortcut while painting with just the primary colors. I can basically paint the whole sky with cyan and just add magenta for the purple and yellow for the green. That would have made this painting a lot simpler and less time consuming.

Jacaranda photo

It's getting toward the end of this jacaranda season so I went driving around to see what was out there. Always looking for contrast, historical and a comfortable location out of the sun and wind. Here's a jacaranda with a bright orange, pink and dark magenta bougainvillea that is going to get noticed.

I was fun doing a 5x7 3-color painting fast and loose. I did the drawing with a brush, maybe 2 hours on location, the sun came around to my window so I packed it up.

NEXT PAINTING, Jacaranda Bougainvillea Kula, 2010, 3 Primary watercolors, 6-11-10, 30x22, #964, Jacaranda2010bogi.htm
PREVIOUS PAINTING, Opera w/c painting, operamagentasilk-greencarnations-wc11x15.htm

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