Now that Amelia’s face is complete, I could start on her hair — another color family. Her pilot’s license said that she was a blond — but there are several sources that say she was a red-head. Of course, the black & white photographs taken of her give no hint of her hair color, so I decided to go with a blond on top darkening into an auburn underneath. I pulled a color card on the net that shows the hair strands once they’ve been colored this way — and started pulling fabrics. It always surprises me what I can find in my stash — usually in different color bins. The top 2 color values were in my yellow bin.

The next value was a wonderful transitional fabric. I’m not certain that I could have moved from the blond into the rust tones without it — although I have previously considered that piece of fabric hideous & unusable. For this, it was perfect.

The next value is a rust red — an orange-y red. This is actually a Kona cotton because it is such a hard color to find in fabric. I think it’s called cinnamon, and although it is one of those colors that alone may not be appealing, with other colors it can be quite attractive. It is also a color that is all around you in everyday things although you may not realize it.

Years ago, I took a watercolor workshop with Wayne Spradley, and he showed us how, if you really look, there is Burnt Umber in everything. It was maddening — I was almost blinded driving home with all of the understanding of Burnt Umber flashing in front of me. If you paint, you need this color in your stash — in the same way that you really need this rusty cinnamon.

The next value is the bottom note of dark red.

And the final value is almost a black.

And with that — this color family is complete — and her hair is complete.

I did, by the way, rip off the eyes at about this point. They just didn’t look right to me. Even though her eyes were described as gray, the value is too weak for the piece. Never be afraid to take artistic license. You want to do what is best for the overall piece regardless of reality.