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.

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.