Color finagling…


I did make it out to the art store, today.  Even though I had wanted to do something like get up at 9 AM and be out there by 10 and back by 11, I ended up waking after 11 and then waiting around for a while.  Actually, hours.  This is what happens when I don’t drive.  I just wish I had been told not to bet on leaving for two or three hours, so that I could have done some work.

I’m kind of learning how to distinguish the dominant base colors of earth tones…but who knew that I’d associate Sepia with a desaturated violet, right?  It just wasn’t until I started to organize the earth tones by dominant hue that I realized that Sepia was redder than Indigo and bluer than Caput Mortuum.

So, I picked up some Pitt pens in colors that I’d avoided before.  All I’d gotten were greens, blues, and earth tones, before; thinking I wouldn’t need the rest of the spectrum immediately.  But recently I remembered something that my Painting teacher had said, which was that painting with only a few colors is like trying to compose a symphony with only a few notes.

There are a lot of ways in which these colors can be combined.  I find myself wanting to work all of them out…by hue, saturation, value, overtones, etc., and see how they deal with layering.

Particularly…there are a few colors I didn’t get because they didn’t immediately appeal to me, but then I saw how a cool-toned pink could react with a yellow-green (in sunlight, not in-store light), and wanted to go back for the pink so I could have that complementary pairing going on.  Right now I have a bluish violet and a red-violet, but not an intense warm violet, and no pinks.  (The latter is probably the gender thing acting up again — part of me saying “no pinks, never,” and overpowering the more objective part of me that goes, “hmm.”)

I still haven’t tried blending the Tombows (I want to and will likely need to, if I do use these for finished work), but I have enough colors in those markers to make a pretty good spectrum.  I can try blending them tonight or tomorrow — more likely, tomorrow.  I went to the pharmacy today and came back with the beginning of a sore throat, though it doesn’t hurt anymore.

But at least I can be satisfied that I have enough colors to do a lot with.  And I can layer water-soluble marker over waterproof marker, then wash over the water-soluble marker with water.  (If you weren’t around for the experimentation, Staedtler Triplus and Stabilo 88 fineliners, Stabilo 68 markers [I have only tested the Minis], and Tombow markers are all water-soluble.  They can almost be treated like aquarelles [I’m referring to watercolor pencil, ink pencil, Neocolor II], including the remnant of a slight mark where they were first applied; but they feel more fluid and less “creamy” [the latter, especially as contrasted with the Neocolor IIs].)

I’m working on the lineart for my third composition, and am still unsure if I will actually have a solid need to use watercolors instead of (or in addition to) markers.  I know that it will make distinguishing planes and surfaces a lot easier, because I’ll be able to work with subtle color modulation that I can alter and see before laying it on the paper.  (This, as versus mixing the ink on the paper itself.)

In the absence of watercolor, I’ll have to work with tints and glazing with water-soluble marker…which is not the most attractive option, especially when I’m considering the fact that markers tend to be more fugitive (prone to fading) than other media.  The other option is working directly with brush, water, and colored inks — which I should check out when I look for those two pens, tomorrow (125 Middle Purple Pink and 134 Crimson).  I’m thinking about the Winsor & Newton Introductory Drawing Ink Set #1.  I’ve avoided it because I know that stuff is fugitive, but if I’m going to be working with water-soluble markers anyway, it may make my job easier.

The nice thing about the Pitt pens is that the colored ones, at least, tend not to bleed under a wash.  The black in the Pitt series always bleeds a little, though, unfortunately.  I’ve heard from another student that they still bleed even after drying overnight, so I’m planning on using Microns for linework.

Right now, I can’t even really consider altering the color of the linework!  It’s easy to do, but I’ve never done it before — so I don’t know how it will turn out, and I don’t know if now is the time to try it.

I also don’t know if rainbow, saturated hues are what I need for this project…though it’s best to start out bright, because they only get duller from there (with mixing).  I kind of don’t feel ready to take on this level of work at this time in my development — but maybe, everyone says that.

I do need more experience.

And this is just a class…maybe I should look at it like I looked at the public-speaking assignment:  everyone’s kind of backed into a corner, don’t worry about impressing anyone.  Just include them in your process, and you’ll be OK.  It’s only school.


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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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