Color update on “Bamboo”

I actually was able to get some work done today — by that I mean artwork.  I’m a bit hesitant to throw it on the Web at the moment (I still don’t have the software to watermark it), but I’ve been having some rather…interesting problems with color.

This is the piece I titled Bamboo — I’ve got the background colored, and am coloring in the major vascular elements now.  I think maybe I should have put in light tones all around instead of near-finishing the background first.  The background began as an aqua blue tint near the focus, which fades into a more violet-blue towards the edges.  The color transition is my problem, because it means that either the foreground must also transition, or I have to pick colors that will work both with aqua and with Delft Blue.

I majorly am using Faber-Castell, Prismacolor, and a store brand of colored pencil.  The background art was pre-inked, dating from my last portfolio presentation.  I think I used a black Tombow and Microns, for that.

What’s happening is that I used chartreuse for the vacuole-looking parts of the plant veins (I wanted something vibrant and alive-looking, but maybe I should have used True Green instead — it’s much bluer), and the yellow in the chartreuse’s overtone is interacting with the violet overtone in the background edges (a mixture including Delft Blue, which is cool-violet leaning).  It’s totally fine in the center, though I want to add a clear cool yellow (Lemon?) to it to make the background pop forward more — especially in the light areas, if not deepening the Delft Blue with a bluer glaze — or with burgundy, which will result, likely, in a chromatic grey from the red and green mixing together.

I’m just at this point wondering what to do with the violets.  I have what appear to be fibrous cross-sections, just to the inside of the vacuoles, which I want to color with something that contains violet.  Burgundy…?  Or is that too bold?  I do have a variety of violets, and I know violet and green can work together.

In any case, like my teacher said: if I made it once, I can make it again, and better.  🙂  If I redo this, though, I’m using better paper — and I’d consider the possibility of markers, if not watercolors, for underpainting, at least.  It would also be good to work out the palette first, before beginning to color.  For me, that’s not totally easy, because I layer so many different colors on top of each other that I don’t know if pure color swatches will be effective, where it comes to finding out what colors will harmonize.  There’s also the point that I know things can be done to unify a color composition — like, perhaps, adding True Green to the chartreuse, to mute the yellow overtone.

I’ll do some experiments.


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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