Hibiscus – Experiments in Tropical Color Schemes!

Posted June 2, 2021 by Kerry McFall

“Quilt”Montage of 4 hibiscus multi-media images

Since moving to San Diego, I find myself not only stopping to smell the proverbial roses but also stopping to admire the tropical wonders that thrive here, like hibiscus.  I’ve posted a few hibiscus sketches and paintings here before on this site (you can use the Search box up at top right of this page to see them).

My quilting background shows up regularly as I find myself turning many of my floral sketches into digital quilt blocks.  And once that happens, each hibiscus blossom seems to insist on flicking their pleated petals outside of the border, like flamenco dancers flirting with their skirts.

Here is the original pencil sketch and watercolor base of my most recent hibiscus, which I discovered last week growing at the San Diego Zoo.  I added leaves in each corner, and one ladybug to cover up a boo-boo.First Pass at Multi-color Hibiscus

Next, I added more watercolor, ink highlights (both white & black), some marker lines, and some colored pencil rubbings for texture.  Oh, and digitally, I added a pink “binding”.Somehow, I felt like I hadn’t captured the burst of flame that first attracted me.  So, another layer of dark blue-green watercolor was applied to make it “pop”… but lesson learned.  Don’t overdo!  I also used the Photoshop “poster edge” filter on some of it.hibiscus paintingMulticolor Hibiscus with darkened background,

And once I was that deep into Photoshop, I got wild and crazy!  I tried an inverted color scheme, and it all went  sort of ultraviolet… then started messing with the color balance and it burst into flame…  The only remaining task was to put the “quilt blocks” together in one image.  I’m not sure what my grandmothers the quilters would say, but it was fun!

Montage of 4 hibiscus multi-media images

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