Color Schemes

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April 13,2002: I apologize for the long absence from this page. I upgraded my computer and it crashed and had to go to Dallas for a long period of intensive care.  I have also been traversing the maze of doctors' offices, CAT scans, MRIs and X-rays and other tests.  Although I had my old computer,  between numerous trips to Austin where our specialist physicians are located, confronting some unexpected and sudden medical problems and the coming of spring and its outside activities, I have not had the time or the heart to concentrate on keeping the web site going. However, I feel wonderful now and am glad to be back.

First, a report on the wildlife. We have had some beautiful goldfinches at the perches, passing through on their way back up north. Several were males in breeding plumage, something we don't see here often since they usually leave before getting their yellow plumage. The humming birds are back, and while not in the large numbers we had prior to last year, they already have me putting out two 32 ounce feeders that I have to refill every other day. We have had a pair of Western Grebes at the wildlife pond for a few days, but not many ducks at all this  year. Phoebe bird is using the nest under the eaves of the house for the fifth consecutive year. Farris and some friends walked on the land not long ago and saw a gray fox high in one of the trees. They also saw a bluebird at the edge of a meadow in the back. 

I replanted my herb garden today. The grasshoppers last year destroyed all but my oregano that came back up this spring, my bay leaf tree, and the centerpiece Comfrey plant that, although eaten to the ground by the plague, also is coming up again. I lost some forty pots of herbs to those voracious critters. It is good to look out my studio window and see healthy green plants instead of the forlorn, empty pots I looked at all winter. I hope the grasshoppers don't return this year. I have planted mostly culinary herbs this  year, and several plants of each type. I want to harvest and preserve more of my own herbs. I have two varieties of basil, several varieties of thyme, Italian (flat) parsley, spearmint, peppermint, chives, lemon verbena (makes a lovely soothing tea), rosemary (my eight year old plant just plain died, the grasshoppers did not touch it; I think it was too large for the pot I had it in.), lemon grass, dill, and sage. In addition to regular sage, I planted purple sage this year. Can you guess why? How many of you were avid Zane Gray fans as I was? Do  you remember Riders of the Purple Sage? In honor of how much I loved those books I bought and planted purple sage; it is pretty and it is also edible. 

One of my neighbors has learned a lot of native lore and she plants by the almanac. When I have followed her advice in planting, I have had  success. I found a calendar called "Planting by the Moon" on the Net and got a copy of it for my neighbor Beverly  and myself. It tells when to plant what and what days are good for harvesting certain plants. Today's herbs were planted according to the advice of that calendar. I will be interested to see how following the advice of the calendar works in relation to my plantings. The local professional nursery man says planting by the moon is valid, that it works. Well, we will see. Regardless, it is fun, I like to hark back to old ways of doing some things. 

Because the past two or three months have been stressful, I have turned often to my beloved computer art. It puts me into another world, one without time or consciousness of what is going on around me. Although I have no idea where it came from, I found in my painting software (Corel Painter) folder a folder containing color sets of several brand name artist grade pigments such as Grumbacher's Finest, Max oil colors, and Prisma colors, the beautiful hues of Prismacolor colored pencils. Since I am familiar with these colors from the days I painted with natural media, I began wondering if I could mix those colors on the computer like I mixed them on my palette when I did studio painting. I can! I have had a wonderful time mixing my own colors and making color sets so that I can paint with my own unique mixes. Let me explain that a color set functions like a palette. It contains squares of colors that I put in the set and then all I have to do is touch my digital brush to the set and I can then paint with that color. That exercise progressed to preparing color sets of color schemes and painting a given design with each color scheme I have mixed. Here are some examples. The first one is a Monochrome scheme, consisting of painting with only one color and its tints (lighter values), tones (grayed colors) and shades (darker values). I added the color's complement, the color opposite it on the color wheel, to enliven the painting . I include a picture of the color set I made for this scheme so you can see what I am talking about. This is a screen shot of the image and the color set I made is below it. Those are the only colors I used, plus the white of the "paper" and a touch of a complement of the violet, yellow green: 

image and color set

The next one is painted in a scheme of related colors made up of orange, yellow, green and a complement of blue violet. This is known as an Analogous Complement scheme. 

Same picture, different color scheme. An even more dramatic illustration of color affecting design is the following, a scheme made up of simply two colors opposite each other on the color wheel, or Complements, and I chose the simple complements of red and green:

Another exciting thing I have been doing is beginning to translate abstract techniques from my studio painting into my digital paintings. I still have a lot of work to do in that area but I have posted a couple of examples in my digital art gallery. 

To see some newly posted paintings, click here and look at line one. To see other newly posted paintings click here

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Last revised: November 26, 2010

Copyright 2001-2010 Rheba Kramer Mitchell. All rights reserved.