Saffron Sky, Downtown Des Moines
This is a design from my archives that I decided to rework and improve with various color changes and textures. The inspiration for this vertical design was the architecture of the buildings in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. I love the different shapes of the buildings.
It began with a picture-taking adventure throughout the city, from various vantage points. I take a lot of reference photos to begin with. I usually choose one photo to work from at the beginning and do a few basic sketches depicting the value patterns. The support I used was a 300 pound watercolor paper, smooth press; the heavy paper does not buckle, unless I use lots of water with the acrylic gel gloss medium.
The initial collage was mostly reds, oranges and yellows. I decided that a few cool colors would be an improvement, for the eye to rest between the warm hues. The building leading into the design was changed to blue and a teal off to the left. As I edited the composition, more shapes were added and changed. The cool color changes improved the values also. More windows were added, or a shape was changed or eliminated. When I am working with a collage many changes can be made by gluing a piece over the offending color. In fact, it can be done a number of times before I decide this is the best color to use.
Sometimes colors I thought would be good alongside each other do not really complement each other. I do not plan the color patterns beforehand, or use the local colors from my photograph. It is a much better idea to play around with the shapes and colors and go with the flow and allow changes to occur during the creative process. After adding the cerulean and cobalt blues, teal and purple, I felt the design definitely benefited with the changes made to the composition.
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