Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Inspiration and Power of Color



Sunset on Salt Spring Island

Have you ever seen an image (painting, photograph...) where the  selection of colors was so beautiful that you just wanted to eat in it, bathe in it, surround yourselves with it???


 Imagine getting INTO this sky....a magical place....






















So many people, when you ask them what inspires them, say "oh color, colour, colour is what I love!" (no matter how you spell it!)...... the right colors really work to attract, nay, seduce!, people...

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On the other hand, I've noticed that when I'm teaching, and ask people to bring images from which they'd like to work to design their quilt, the photos or prints etc they show me often have gorgeous colors and it's really hard  to get beyond that to see the "bones" of  the design.  Very reluctantly, some can be persuaded to photocopy the image into black and white ..so we can really see what's what.  And some look great in grey...others just disappear into a moosh of flat nothing!!
It is hard to get beyond  color, its siren song is so powerful.....

Some artists are strong on color,  some on the basic design... a few can manage both. 
I advocate one step at a time...it works for mountain climbing!  First, decide on the shape of the mountain!   Then go into color...and a lovely way to choose colors for a project is to work from those gorgeous photos you've collected over the years.


Color Immersion

But, one of the problems for our medium, when it comes to color, is actually finding cloth in the right hue/saturation/value/temperature - even knowing what to call the colors  is difficult sometimes!
If you look at the picture above, the turquoise on the left is in several different values...and it also shifts from a cool to a warmer blue.  The pink on the right goes from a warm orangey pink, through a slightly greyed pink to a blue-pink and then into mauve.  And then what color is that shadow?  What kind of a grey is that?  Is it important to the image?



I really enjoy analyzing the colors in an image - it's like tasting a lot of different wines!  There are so many subtle shifts in hue and value etc.    And so it was natural for me to try to learn how to dye all these different colors.   Now I don't believe in the blanket approach of taking every ingredient you have, working out all the mathematical permutations you can create, then dyeing them all and making a giant book of samples.  You know they tried that method when they were figuring out AI - artificial intelligence, and it actually doesn't work well.  It's much better to work from solving one problem at a time as you encounter it, and then adding that information to your body of knowledge, your working process.  

So in my Basic Dyeing for Quiltmakers class,
which just happens to start this Friday with www.academyofquilting.com   (!)
 I show you just how I do that.  Also I discuss the value of neutrals - those elusive greys and browns, and how to create them.  Learn how to create those seductive colors for yourself......it's really magic!

Please ask any questions in Comments!  or email me - there's a link on the sidebar at the top....

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!  Elizabeth








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