If it’s yellow…let it mellow…*

I have been up against a self-imposed deadline. During February, I am the featured artist at the Bloomington Bagel Company. Besides the fabulous bagels, the venue has a large white, well-lit wall, and my people (folks who like or buy my art) eat there. So I wanted to get several leaf prints finished.

Everyseed bagels are my sustenance of choice.
But be safe — don’t eat in your studio.

One of the prints in question is a circular print (see the paper behind me in the picture.) I started this image by printing a flat (no carving yet) of a rather intense yellow. Often a bright first layer will look positively pale by the time other layers are applied.

My intent was to have the upper leaf a rich orange-yellow. When I applied layer after layer of ink over the yellow, I found it hard to keep the intense yet bright orangey-yellow color while getting the right darker details.
Here is what happened with the red… Yikes!
A layer of red makes the orange-yellow too intense!
Several other colors were no better. Why was I having such trouble?
I think the problem has to do with saturation and value. A very saturated yellow (lots of pigment) has the value (darkness on a white to black scale) of a much less intense say blue or green. The only way to make a saturated orange-yellow darker is to add black. It was going to be hard to keep the brightness but get any darker…
A very faint green keeps the brightness better, but now more layers are needed.
I finally applied a pale yellow green which seemed to keep a similar value, but further define the leaf segments. Certainly it is going to take several more very gradual layers to get the dimensionality I wanted. There is no rushing this print, and after the very detailed carving I’ve been doing, the print deserves to be allowed to mellow.
Complex carving makes for slow-going finishing a print.
*Thanks to my friend Mary Peckham for this title. Mary writes more serious things at The Poplar Grove Muse.
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One Reply to “If it’s yellow…let it mellow…*”

  1. I learn something new of your mystical art medium with each post. Although I don't always understand the process, I LOVE the finished works! And the yellows in my beloved "Ambrosia" make me happy every single day. MKP

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