Part the first: I have problems with color. I'm bad at picking colors for painting, and often end up with serious mismatchedness. This only gets worse when it comes to digital stuff, because that little palette with millions of colors makes it hard to even see what I'm getting. I always err too far toward the saturated.
Part the second: I've been painting a bit more, and doing some illustration work this week. The illustration is in my nice, safe friends black and white, so there's no worry there. The painting is an egg tempera piece I pick up from time to time (tomorrow I'm going to get some walnut or other drying oil at the market and it'll be tempera grassa, mwahaha) and since I make my own tempera, I'm limited to a small range of colors. This is particularly so given that there are pigments I consider too toxic to use (orpiment, vermilion, realgar) and I'm limiting myself to pigments used before 1600 (no chromes (not great for you), cadmiums (still pretty toxic anyhow), Prussian blue, modern organics, etc). The end result is a much better painting. I'm discovering that I can put together a decent pale European skin tone with green earth, burnt umber, red ochre and a little lead white (toxic but not actually that bad for grownups, and I never eat or touch my face while I'm using it.)
The inevitable conclusion: I should start limiting my palette elsewhere, including on the comp. Since the historical pigments have been working so well, and my head's currently in the 16th century, clearly I should limit myself to these colors. That makes perfect sense, right? So tonight I spent far too much time putting together a palette file. ( witness my lunacy - uncompressed JPG for your enjoyment )
I have no idea if this'll actually make my art better, but anything's worth trying. I'd feel bad about wasting time, but I did the base lineart for three full illustrations, had a nice sitdown with one of the boythings, sewed one vertical seam on my skirt, went shopping and walked almost two miles today. So it's ok to do something braindead and useless. Tomorrow, it's back to the wordmines!