Ahh, the perfect photo subject reference– an orange Phalaenopsis orchid. Until this, I have not drawn an orchid using a photo reference in detail on paper. This is my first real paper study of a phalaenopsis orchid. I did draw a really detailed one when I arrived at the airport, but I didn’t actually use a photo reference. I was just going from memory, and the vein pattern is much different. When I was drawing this in acute detail, I realized something. Not just because I was drawing red lines, but because I was thinking about trees and life force– but the veins in the orchid look like blood vessels. When I color with colored pencils, I think in layers– not solid blocks of orange. I didn’t use a single orange colored pencil for this drawing, but the end result appears to be an orange orchid when you step back. That’s what I love about colored pencils– the transparency allows for possibilities. A few simple basic colors can construct any color you are looking for– if you know how to blend them and which color to put down on paper first. The vessels become the coloring light force– drawing the foundation of the vessel network as the underlying structure to make the orchid appear orange– that’s the trick. I just used red, pink, scarlet, golden yellow, and a hint of green for shadows. Oh, and a blue feathered edge. But colored pencils are amazing tools– it has been way too long since I’ve used mine.