Saturday, July 13, 2019






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???

And here's another one...these are just in our garden by the way....



The first one is a complementary color scheme...colors opposite on the wheel...all those lovely pinks contrasted with the greens....the second one is largely monochromatic...with a neutral added which not only makes the yellows glow but gives you the needed dark value.



Above is an image from winter...no color?  Look again, my friend!!!  see all those pinks and purples and silverly sage grey...oh so delicious...

So from nature we can extract the most gorgeous schemes...but we can also analyze them and see how they are working...and how we might enhance them...deepening saturation, increasing the spread of values etc...

And each wonderful combination has a different "feel" or mood or ambiance to it...


Above a cold wintry morning over the neighborhood pond...analogous plus black...color used as the focal point ...high contrast....and oh so gorgeous!!!

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.  

Want to know more about color and how to use it?   Check out my classes at  www.academyofquilting.com   

Please ask any questions in Comments!  or email me - there's a link on the sidebar at the top....
or:  elizabethyork100 AT yahoo.com will work too!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!  Elizabeth

4 comments:

Elsie Montgomery said...

I really want to take this class but am too busy right now. I hope you offer it again. Please keep us color fanatics posted!

And speaking of posts, I love this one. It makes me want to jump into my stash and stir!!

Ellen Lindner said...

Hmm, I like that idea of "learning as you need it" rather than being overly academic early on. That's been my approach - largely out of impatience to get to it - so maybe I've accidentally done it correctly.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Karen said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for the thoughts and pix.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thank you all for writing....just noticed that my previous responses had disappeared!
So, Elsie, yes the color course will be offered again in October...be fun to have you in class!
and very glad you like the post...such color!!!
ANd Ellen - it took me some years to realize that it was better to learn something I really wanted to know! That I didn't need to learn EVERYTHING!! So now I'm learning Spanish....I've decided...only the present tense!!! The past and future I don't want to talk about...at least not in Spanish!
and, Karen, thank for for your compliments!! Always grateful and appreciated....
Elizabeth