Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Choosing Colours

One of the most fun parts about making an art quilt is picking out the colours!  It’s like a wonderful feast with all your favorite food, drink, music and companions!   I like to keep an eye open for colour arrangements that really sing – whether it’s in a painting, in landscape, or just in piles of fabric lying around the studio.  Paintings are one of the best places, though, to find great colour schemes because the colour varies so much more in a painting and it’s all those subtle variations of colour that really make the scheme rich, fascinating, memorable.

here’s a little watercolour:

pond late

this isn’t the most exciting composition – that’s for sure! but the colours in this little piece look so fresh they constantly draw my eye.

so I reduced the resolution down to about 5 pppi:   IMG_1911 

I find doing that helps me to focus more on the colours…

I then step down again and again until I feel I have “lost” the impact of the range of colours.   So going down to about 3 ppi, I still have a glorious summer range of colours:





but notice how important that one bright red square is…if, I reduce the pixels even more – down to 1 ppi you can see that the piece becomes much duller without that contrast:



In fact, it’s positively dull!!

so when I go to pull out fabrics that match the colours, I’ll be sure to work from the 3 ppi or even the 5 ppi…

As well as helping you choose a really beautiful colour scheme, one of the things that doing an exercise like this does is to show you the importance of simultaneous contrast.  Colours look richer when there is an adjacent colour that is highly contrasted in one of the four variables along which colour changes.   If you want a colour to stand out, to look richer and more noticeable, put next to it another colour that is very different in hue, value, intensity or temperature.  The red spot stands out because the colours next to it are much softer (lower saturation or intensity), they are also paler, and if you notice there is a blue one that is much cooler.

Now to dive into my stash!!!  If you have been, thanks for reading!  Go forth and Look At Colour!   Elizabeth


Diana Parkes said...

Great exercise. Good luck with your outcomes.

Anonymous said...

wow that is kool how you prepare your colors and decide what is the art and what a great quilt it will make

Brenda said...

It is so interesting to distil colours and their proportionate use from an image. I went through a similar exercise, without computer assistance, when I first started out making quilts a few years ago now. You can see my inspiration image and the results HERE

Clare Wassermann said...

very interesting and thank you

Linda M said...

Wow, that is great. Do you do it in photoshop?