Want to play a "game" with me?

Really it's more like an inspiration tool. I find I can sometimes get more creative when I'm working within limitations. I thought you might want to play it with me! There is no winner or loser, just something for inspiration and fun.

So what I did was take some blank dice and write different painting elements on them. The idea is simple, roll the dice, and make a painting using all those elements! Not exclusively, you can add other things, but those all need to be represented.

So you have to figure out your composition, focal point, and all that to make an interesting painting. It can be any style, any size. Feel free to be as wacky or as serious as you want. The idea is to push yourself beyond your usual choices in paintings. Sound fun?

Here are the elements on each die:
#1 Colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
#2 Lighting: sunrise/sunset, long shadows, overcast, sunny, night, back lit
#3 Elements: mountains, hills, bushes, flowers, trees, rocks
#4 Elements 2: ocean, river/creek, fence, path/road, meadow, lake
#5 Horizon: distance+Mid+foreground, mid+foreground, foreground, 1/3 sky, 2/3 sky, no sky
#6 Elements 3: figure, animal, building, furniture, garden, vehicle
#7 Color Schemes: complimentary, analogous, saturated, split complimentary, neutrals, any 3 tubes + white
#8 Seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter, rain, snow

So the picture below shows "our" first roll of the dice. Shall we give it a try?

If you have any questions, or are confused, or just have a comment, please do!

Whenever you'd like, just post your questions, your painting, your idea, or sketch, or work in progress. Or just let me know if you think it is a fun idea

I found myself thinking about this last night as I was falling asleep, and felt those old familiar creative juices starting to flow. I kind of hate when that happens when I'm trying to go to sleep because it keeps me awake! But it just reminded me that the benefit we get from thinking creatively, when we paint or in any other part of our lives, is an end in itself! So even if you aren't wanting to paint, take a moment to close your eyes and move those elements around in your mind to look for a "solution" and see how that effects your motivation, thought processes and mood!

So the dice read: Purple (predominant color), Saturated (general color scheme), Fall (season), Midground+Foreground (ie no far distance), garden, meadow, sunny, bushes.

For more explanation of die #7 - Color Schemes - click here

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So Joani asked me - does that mean no background?

That's the idea. So your view stops, probably blocked by trees or BUSHES so that you can't see beyond what would be the mid ground. Not an exact science, just generally how you would interpret that. Sky can still be visible though

I'm not understanding dice #7, can you explain what that means?

Saturated would indicate "full-strength", bright, intense colours as opposed to muted and subdued.  Not garish per se, but well lighted with fair amount of colour.  Being a  fall sunny setting, one might expect bright fall foliage as compared with muted greens, for example.  Or maybe a close-up with pumpkins and/or bright gourds.  Saturated typically would be offset by good contrasts, but that also depends upon your choice of subject and composition.


Hi Cindy,

Great explanation by Charles above for the meaning of saturated. Thanks Charles!

I was looking through my videos to see if I have one on basic color terms and concepts and realized I don't have one! I'll have to get on that!

The #7 dice represents different color schemes you might choose for a painting.

A Complimentary Color scheme means choosing 2 main colors that are Complimentary, meaning directly across the color wheel: Examples are: orange & Blue, Green & Red, Yellow & Purple. So if this dice were to come up you would want to see that complimentary scheme. here is an example:

This has a red/green complimentary color scheme.

Another one on the die is Split Complimentary:

That would be choosing a color, and then the two colors on either side of its complimentary color. You can do this with a color wheel of primary and secondary (add purple, green and orange) or you can expand the color wheel to include the tertiary colors( yellow-green, red-orange, etc) which is more interesting. So in this scheme you might choose Purple - It's compliment is Yellow, either side of that is orange and green. So your scheme would be Purple, Orange, and Green.

This painting is pretty close to that:

Charles described Saturated well. A focus on bright, rich color.

With all of these schemes, it doesn't mean you can only use those colors, just that it should be your overall experience of viewing the painting.

Analagous: Those would be colors next to each other on the color wheel, either 2 or 3: green & blue, or green, blue and purple. yellow and orange, or red yellow and orange.

Here is a yellow/green/blue analagous painting

Neutrals: This would just be a painting that has primarily neutralized color. Nothing too bright or vivid.

Here is one like that:

Or at least as neutral as I usually get, :) I like color!

The last one would be any 3 tubes + white. So you would just choose any 3 tubes of paint, probably some type of yellow, red and blue so you could mix other colors. But it might be more fun to challenge yourself by choosing something more difficult ! The painting I used above - The Fall Color was actually done with just Hansa Yellow Medium, Napthal Red Light, Ultramarine Blue and White.

Anyway, hope that helps. Also, here is a link to a video that talks more specifically about the color wheel and using it to mix colors and neutrals.

Color Wheel video

Hope that answers your question Cindy!

This is really great Karen. I do not have any dice so I made eight 1/2 sheets in table format for each one. So instead of rolling a dice I just look away, while turning and turning a sheet then just point down and go with whatever my finger lands on. Works great! Hope we were allowed to do our own instead of going with your throw.

My first try yielded me: Blue, Snow, Animal, Meadow, Overcast, Neutrals, 2/3 sky and Hills....wow that really works for me.  I can already envision a composition for this. Definitely an Inspirational Game! Thanks Karen.

You are so welcome Wanda! That would work too!

Your throw looks like a good one! Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Here's my start! Haha, I don't want to post any more until you guys get your ideas flowing :)

Well, I think I've let this one simmer long enough... any one else still working on one?

This is what I came up with:

Hmmm.  Good center of focus, nice lead in, true to the criteria, and quite abstract in design; enough detail to define the setting but very loose overall.  I think you have a winner!!  Moody Blues?

The studio is in NC and I am in frigid NY, so unable to offer any "competition".  Quite intrigued with the basic concept though, so may try this approach later. 

It was interesting to do. Not sure I stepped out of my comfort zone to do something really different as was my intent. Oh well.

Moody Purples maybe :) My purples always seem to go more blue in my photos. The rustish colors on the overhanging leaves are also more maroon in real life. Ah well.

No fun to be separated from your studio Charles! And in Coooold NY too. Yikes. My son lived in upstate New York for a while near a lake. I forgot which one, he was on a military base. He was not a fan of the winters!

I'm still working on mine, but I have a lot more different colors in mine, some purple but not as much as you. I haven't painted in a while and almost fell like I'm starting all over again. I agree with Charles statement totally. Good job

Hi Cindy,

There are no write or wrong answers to this one :) Just a way to be inspired!

Yes, please do upload your painting in a comment when you are done, I'd love to see it!


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