The large leaves of the Nespera Tree and the small leaves of the Rosemary Plant are painted using the same palette.

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya-japonica) Nespera

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya-japonica) Nespera

Rosemary Plant

Rosemary Plant

The palette for the leaves is cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, cerulean blue and french ultramarine blue.

The background colors are drastically different.  The color scheme for the Nespera illustration is Analogous with Near Complement.  The color scheme for the Rosemary illustration is Extended Analogous.

Sketchbook drawings: drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  3.5″ x 2.5″ standard size for Artist Trading Cards.

As a teen I flavored shortbread cookies with Rose Extract. I saw it in a store and couldn’t resist buying it.  I can’t imagine what inspired me to add it to the shortbread cookie dough.  The delicious taste of the cookies comes back in a flash when I rub the leaves of my rose geranium plant.

Rose Geranium - Artist Trading Card

Rose Geranium – Artist Trading Card

When I purchased the plant last spring I expected it to grow no more than 24″ high and be somewhat bushy like the ones in the fragrant herb garden at Lord Stirling Park.  Mine is now almost five fee high! The plant has never bloomed.  The fragrance comes from the leaves.

Color Scheme: Analogous with one complement – Yellow/Green, Green, Blue/Green and Rose (of course)

ACEO Sketchbook drawing: Rose Geranium –  illustration drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

By altering the green with each dip of the brush an illusion of space is created around each fragrant leaf of the French Tarragon.


French Tarragon – Artist Trading Card

The color palette is cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, cerulean blue and a touch of french ultramarine blue.  Some of the leaves are painted with one stroke of the brush, others are painted wet in wet, adding variations of green within a single leaf.

Sketchbook drawing: French Tarragon – illustration drawn first in ink with a fountain pen, followed by watercolor

Color Scheme: Analogous – Blue/Green, Green and Yellow/Green.  Dominant Color: Green

Last stage of needlepoint jacket.  Maria’s father purchased three blues for the sky giving him the range of light, medium and medium/dark values to work with.  I had not broken the sky down into specific shapes for him as I did the butterflies and coneflowers.

All but the sky

One of the consideration in designing this pattern is the fact that Maria’s dad is color blind.  I am curious to know if that also limits his ability to discern values.  Does anyone know?

I agreed to redesign the sky, breaking it down into specific shapes for each of his three blues. Fortunately, he sent me a photo of his threads.

Medium dark, medium and light value blue thread

I created a color comp for him with the new sky design, then realized that it might not be that helpful to him if he can’t discern the differences in the colors and/or values.  To make it a bit easier, I redrew the design using vertical and horizontal lines to differentiate between the value shapes.

Value shape design for blue sky with clouds

I hope it works out.

The yoke of the jacket is now painted and ready for the application of needlepoint threads.  To view previous posts of earlier stages of this project click on the following links:

Design of Butterflies and Coneflowers for yoke of Blue Jean Jacket,
Preliminary color comp illuminates flaws in design
Final Color Comp for Needlepoint design

The following images illustrate the stages of transferring the design onto the jacket yoke.

Jacket pinned over full-size reproduction of final color comp

The original color comp is full-size.  Because it is too large for my scanner, I had to photograph it instead.  Though I thought I shot it straight on, there is a bit of parallax distortion.  I lined the bottom of the print with the jacket yoke.  The top will just be more sky color.

Beginning to paint on the mesh

Using textile paints I began painting directly onto the mesh using the reproduction beneath it as a guide.

The original watercolor comp as reference

Painting on the needlepoint canvas is challenging.  I used the original watercolor color comp as a guide.  I had to simplify the variations in value and hue when painting on the canvas.

Finished transfer onto yoke

The image above shows the yoke without the reproduction beneath it.  The final nuances of value and hue will be up to the creativity of the man who will be doing the needlepoint.  I will include a quality reproduction of the watercolor color comp for him to use as a reference guide.

This was a challenging and enjoyable project.  I welcome comments from those of you who needlepoint.  This was a bit of a shot in the dark for me since I do not needlepoint.

After final approval I will paint the design onto the yoke of the jacket.

Butterflies and Cone Flowers, needlepoint design

To view the original sketches and the first color comp of the needlepoint design click here.  I think the design and the colors will translate well for needlepoint.  There should be no problem obtaining the threads of various values for each of the colors.  Some areas are straight forward and others call on the creativity and experience of the man who will be doing the needlepoint on this project.  My hope is that he will find the design both challenging and enjoyable.

After deciding on the final pencil sketch of the design, I traced over the rendered sketch to create a simple outline drawing that I could photograph, transfer to my computer and print out full-scale onto a sheet of 140 pound watercolor paper.  I saved a great deal of time by using the camera and the computer system.  I then painted the final color comp on the arches watercolor paper.  I will use fabric paints to paint onto the needlepoint canvas of the jacket.

Fortunately, formulas do not always fit the needs of a painting.

Detail of Illustration for cover of magazine, watercolor and pastel

I am having a hard time labeling the color scheme of this illustration I did in the early 90’s as a mock-up cover for Cricket Magazine.

Alexis, Mike and Nicole dressed for Sandy's wedding

The illustration was inspired by a “Fairy” themed birthday party for Alexis and Nicole.  Two of their friends dressed in the Flower Girl dresses I made for them.

I recall changing the color of the ruffles and trim from blue to pink for contrast against the large green mass of grass and trees.  Sarah’s hair bow became yellow to contrast against the purple of the distant mountain.   Both the yellow and the pink accents help to keep the flesh tones from popping out against the green.  In my attempt to analyze and label previous paintings with a color scheme I am forced to call this  a double complementary (green / pink) and (purple/yellow).

Any other opinions?

Below is the entire illustration.  The color is a bit off … I gifted the painting to Sarah’s mother before I had the ability to scan.

"Faeries" watercolor and pastel illustration

After submitting the illustration for publication, I decided to add a bit of color.

Dragons, Colored Pencil over Pen and Ink Illustration

In its black and white original state, the dragon illustration was published in 1997 on the cover of Once Upon A Time, a publication for writers and illustrators of children’s literature.

Pen and Ink illustration

Though I rarely use colored pencils, they seemed like the best option for coloring the completed pen and ink drawing.  I decided to use a double complementary color scheme, red/green and yellow/purple.  I wanted the fiery red and yellow to dominate.  I am not fond of red and green next to each other because they are too close in local color value.  I was able to keep the green of the dragon in the foreground light and bright while still maintaining a strong contrast in value with the high key yellow ledge.  The green dragons in the background create an easy transition from the ledge to the space beyond because the value of the green scales is so close to the value of the red sky.  I used the purple to add a bit of fantasy sparkle to the dragon wings and reflected light into the shadow sides of the rock cliffs.  A touch of red mixed into the yellow on the ledge, and the red blossoms in the bottom right keep the eye moving from the background space through the mid ground and up to the foreground where it is directed back to the sky by the direction of the blossoms.

When using such saturated colors, the effect is less chaotic when the palette is extremely limited as it is here.