Posts Tagged ‘color theory’

A Summer School Gift for You

Sunday, August 18th, 2013
color outside the wheel.indd_Page_01

Color Outside the Wheel An Ebook for you!

We’ve had a great week. I hope you’ve learned some great new ways to approach color, past picking the colors off the wheel. I need to thank Caryl Bryer Fallert, Kathy Weaver, and Susan Shie for letting me explore colors in their magificent work.

french toast

French Toast, Susan Shie

Robo Sapien Agent 4

Robo Sapien Agent 4 Kathy Weaver

Feather Study 1 by Caryl Bryer Fallert

Feather Study 1 by Caryl Bryer Faller

 I need to thank Monique, Kleinhans, Rebecca Dorian Brown, Lauren Strach, Joan Davis, and Roberta Hoover Ranney for letting me put them in places of honor on the refrigerator gallery.

 

I have the answers to your tests here. Not that that matters. The real test is, does this change how you think? What you choose? And that’s as much a test for me as for you. But here’s your answers.

Color cast is
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.

2. The color wheel is
C. a map of color relationships.

3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually 

4. We all recognize the same color names
B. False

5. Color temperature is about
 C. Both

6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
B. False
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7. All blues are the same.
 B. False

8. Everyone sees color the same way
 B. False

9. Differences in hues are
 B. differences in light and dark

10. Contrast
C. Pops out the figure from the ground

11. You should never use a color your hate.
 B. False

12. Color theory is
 B. A theory that works up to a point. C. 

color outside the wheel.indd_Page_01As a gift to my students. I’ve packaged up this class in an ebook you can enjoy and work with at home. Thanks for being such good students. And go color off the wheel. You can download it at issuu.com or click the picture for a link.

Next week I’m exploring the new box of Inn Fuse that Innovative Craft sent me so I can do a demo for them. And, of course, for you

Thread Magic Summer School: Color Outside the Wheel Pop Quiz

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

893 for the bees pleaselFor the last week I’ve talked about color, not just in terms of color wheel but what we do with our color choice past the wheel. My hope for you is that you’ve come away with new thoughts about how you might choose color, play with color and color way outside the lines and outside the wheel. I hope it makes you try colors you love, colors you hate and colors you just don’t know yet. I hope it makes you braver and bolder. And I hope you show us all.

Here is your test. You don’t need to pass it on to me. I’ll put the key in to tomorow’s post, with my Summer School gift to you. I’ve put together a free ebook from what we’ve studied here. I hope to have it posted up tomorrow.

Name: Class: Saturday, August 17, Total Possible Marks: 12 Test  

1. Color cast is
A. Made of plaster
B. Dark or light
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.

2. The color wheel is
A. a pretty chart.
B. everything we know about color.
C. a map of color relationships.
3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually
B. are scary
C. make things look muddy

4. We all recognize the same color names
A. True
B. False

5. Color temperature is about
A. Warm and cool colors
B. Color cast
C. Both

6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
A. True
B. False

7. All blues are the same.
A. True
B. False

8. Everyone sees color the same way
A. True
B. False

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9. Differences in hues are
A. differences in intensity
B. differences in light and dark
C. differences in colors

10. Contrast
A. Should be kept to a minimum
B. Is only for hues
C. Pops out the figure from the ground

11. You should never use a color your hate.
A. True
B. False

12. Color theory is
A. A scientific fact.
B. A theory that works up to a point.
C. A Victorian concei

Your real test isn’t here. The real test is when you pick your next colors. Choose something marvelous.

Thread MagicSummer School: Color Mixing vs. Color Picking

Friday, August 16th, 2013


672 Willow lEven though we’ve been looking at dyers and painters, we’ve been exploring color combinations. We’ve learned that the most exciting combinations offer us contrasts either in hue, tone, temperature or cast. Those contrasts help define our figure and separate it from the background. That separation gives the mind and the eye a way into a composition, a way to make immediate visual sense of what is going on.

All that falls to the ground when we start mixing colors.

 dye cupswI’ve always let the dye houses mix my colors for me. They do a much better job, and I’m constitutionally the right person to do it. It would assume I could measure something. That hasn’t happened since 1969.

But once you put one dye color on top of another color, you’ve mixed them, planned or not. And that same excitement that happens with contrasts in color combinations is instantly blended into a brown of some sort.

I know a lot of unhappy dyers. Unless you really like brown, this is a downer.

 

color picking

Picking primaries

 

Mixing from Primaries

Mixing from Primaries

 

 

 

Willow is an example of a great deal of purposeful mud. I love the browns in her, and dyed them largely from complements.

 

 

759 Blossoms in Moonlight detailThread Color is about picking rather than mixing. So the color choice rules apply. Brown is enriched in this bunny with greens,burgundies, teals, oranges, purples and olive greens, all complements but separate because each is a separate thread. The eye blends them in your mind, but their separation holds the colors true and bright.

Ellen Anne Eddy's Dye Day Workbook cover front for web tnIf you want more information about color mixing you’ll find it in my book

 

 

 

Dye Day Workbook, available in print on Amazon.com or on my web site.

It’s available as an PDF on my Etsy store Raid My Fabric Stash

 

 joans refrigerator

On our Refrigerator today, we have Joan Davis, an amazing Hawaiian quilter who’s work reflects the beauty of the island. You’ll find more of her amazing work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joan.davis

 

 

 

 

 

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This is our last day of Thread Magic Summer School. Tomorrow there will be a test. It is only a test.

I do think it’s fun at least to measure what you’ve gotten out of it all.

Sunday I hope to have a little gift for you for coming to summer school and making it fun.

 

 

Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Temperature

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

860 fall koiChanges in color temperature make very dramatic contrasts.  We talk about warm colors and cool colors on the color wheel. Traditionally the color wheel is divided into cool colors

Cool Colors

Cool Colors

warm colors

warm colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those colors used in an unbroken arc are analogous colors. They’re smooth, lovely and very pretty. The warm colors speak of sun and fire, and sunsets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cool colors speak of water and greenery and soft filtered light.

There’s not a lot of tension in analogous color. It’s gentle soft color.

But if we take cool colors against warm colors, we find ourself in a visual thermal shock. Cool color against warm pops images off the background every time.

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Use intense temperature differences to separate out figure/ground images. Bright or dark, they define the difference.

On the Refrigerator

We have the awesome work of Monique Kleinhans, from Kailispell, Montana. You’ll find her wide prairie visions at her web site Ladybug’s Cabin at Paint, Metal And Mud Gallery, and teaching at Glacier Quilts, in Kalispell, MT.

monique refrigerator 2r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Tone

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

 

Cyborg Female 3- Amusing Disorder

Cyborg Female 3- Amusing Disorder

Our color master today is Kathy Weaver.

Tone is the dark side of colors. In dye and paint a color can be darkened either by browns, blacks or by the complement of the color. Tint is the lightening of colors either with white or water. 

We somehow fear the dark. We sometimes forget the  colors that dark or muddy. But diamonds show up best against a black cloth. Darks are our shadows, our depths, the underside, the forest glade and our art is sorely limited without them. 

Pastels offer us a pale world, a shadow delicate mist.  I find it hard to go there. I want all my colors bright. But bright colors gleem against a pastel background. In both cases it  is a contrast in tone that focuses us exactly onto the art and lights our excitement.

Kathy Weaver has created a quilted world of robots that have always astonished me. She’s color master, part for her choices but largely for her painted imagery that jumpstarts her work. And she knows how to work contrast to make her images shine.

I’m also going to introduce you to one of my favorite online tools. Big Huge Labs is a site that has all kinds of free and fabulous photo tools. This is their swatch generator. It’s an easier way to look at the colors in a piece.

Here is one of Kathy’s works and a swatch list of the colors she used.

Robo Sapiens, Agent 5 has a glowing yellow robot against a deeply toned set of bars.

In Robo Sapiens Agent Four, we have the contrast of this wild pink robot against a beige netral.

Robo Sapien Agent 2 glows against the darkly toned background.

When we look at the swatches we can see the contrast in tone, the light and the dark. In all cases, she chooses the difference in tone to accentuate the figure from the  ground.

The figure is our focus. But if it do the same as our background, our ground, the eye has to somehow figure out where it is. Making a visual obvious distinction between the figure and the ground pops it all into view. And making it with differences in  contrast is a clean and clear way to that.

Cyborg Female 1- Complacent Nature

Cyborg Female 1- Complacent Nature

It doesn’t matter whether we choose a lighter or darker backg round. The difference itself, either way sets the figure fore and center in our perception. Cyyborg Femail has yellow arms that echo her background. But the difference in the tone pops her out against it. She glows against the background because there’s a contrast.

Fire Slinger glows against the dark because of the differences as well, although this time she’s gone to the darker contrasts.

Fire Slinger

Fire Slinger

And Invader has both soft background and foreground, but she lets the edges darken enough to pop the contrast.

Invader

Invader

Explore more of Kathy Weaver’s fabulous world on her web site at http://www.kweaverarts.com.

Or you can learn from her at her classes coming up at Arrowmont, September 29th through october 5th. Here is the website info.  http://www.arrowmont.org/ workshops/venueevents/196-kathy-weaver

 

Make your images pop by choosing differences in tone when you pick backrounds. Go light. Go dark. Go different!

Laurens refrigerator

On our refrigerator today we have Lauren Strach from St. Joseph, MI. Lauren’s nature quilts have attracted attention (and prizes) both locally and nationally. Her work sings with color and contrast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ll find more of Lauren’s fabulous work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lauren.strach

Thread Magic Summer School: The Magic of Contrasts

Monday, August 12th, 2013

bradford fantasy 1Our color masterist today is Caryl Bryer Fallert.

What all art creates is a series of contrasts, in some form or another. Color theory is one way of describing those colors. We joke about plain white canvases being art because we know  that even as an art joke there’s no drama there. The ability of art to change how we think, how we feel, how we live is the point of it all. Good art changes the world. But to do that it has to demand our attention. It does that by emphasising contrasts.

We can build contrasts in a number of ways. Color is only one. We also have contrast in value, in saturation, in size, in color cast and temperature. All of those scales give us a way to separate the elements of our work. The most important separation is between field and ground.

color wheel  pattern 3When we look at the color wheel we have the map of how colors (Hues) relate to each other. The closer they are to each other the less tension there is between them. The further they are, the more tension and the more potential excitement a combination has.The colors farthest away from each other are called complements. They’re the electric voltage to most art, and they’re what we’ll look at today.

Perhaps the finest quilt color master of our time, Caryl Bryer Fallert is a master dyer and quilter. She has a gift for astonishing color, that usually encompasses the whole color wheel. All those complements at once are electric. The tones and the saturation on these colors are relatively even. All of the drama is in the change of the hues, the colors themselves. And she’s always dyed her own fabric.

These pieces romp through the whole color wheel. Doing that they place all the complements against each other. This is a winning combination, visually and at shows because it always grabs  attention.

Once we start picking and choosing colors off the wheel, the complements still s are the king combinations of these. If we are a little more aware, we can catch a bit of the feeling we get off them. We like them because they offer on.us strong visual stimulation.

Here’s some of Caryl’s work that encompasses complementary combinations

We can also take an arc of the color wheel and focus on that. Those are analogous colors. Here are some amazing pieces of Caryl’s focused in the blue/green arc.

Caryl’s astonishing work can be seen on her web site at http://www.bryerpatch.com, at her studio in Paducah, KY and in art collections and museums across the country. Make sure you see the amazing body of work she’s continued to graced us with.

We’re used to thinking about color strictly as hue. But tomorrow will look at differences in saturation and how they make it easier to separate field and ground, background and forground.

rebecca refrigerator 4On the refrigerator today we have Rebecca Dorian Brown, the creator of Dreaming Girl Highway. Rebecca is also a master colorist and she let me put up these lovely images. Dreaming girl is a series of 78 images out of her life and time set in a deck of Inner Vision Cards. Her media is computer driven and she is a master at generating depth and drama out of pixels and vectors.

Rebecca’s amazing cards are available on her web site at http://www.dreaminggirlhighway.com. Make them your visual snack on your way past the refrigerator.

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Would you like to be on the refrigerator too? Send me several quilts and your contact/web  information at ellenanneeddy@gmail.com

Spinning the Color Wheel: A Photoshop Journey

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m obsessed with color studies. Of course, my favorite present, even as a child was a color chart. I still feel that way. But what I’ve found over the years is that it’s the relationships between the colors that set my heart pitter pattering.

Once you get past the physicality of how you do your art or craft, you find yourself needing to expand somehow. Usually that takes a question. What if? How? Why do we always? Most great or even mildy interesting art asks a question and works through the answers. You can see artists of all kinds ask questions. What if it were really bigger? Upside down? My dream view? My nightmare? Blue instead of yellow? All of that changes our perspective on what we’re doing. And I think, personally, that the change of perspective may be the basic reason for it all. If we see our world as different, then it is. If we can get someone else to see the world differently, then we’ve really changed them at least.

The hard and exhausting thing about this is that often it takes years of work to ask and answer those questions within your work. Sometimes that’s worth it. Sometimes it’s a way to avoid doing anything important while you play in a corner.

 

Enter the computer age. Instant spelling, communication and in some ways, instant art. One of the coolest tools on the computer is  the computer program Photoshop. Even in it’s lighter versions, it’s the go to program for digital Phototography. It’s a golden oldy. I don’t know anyone who knows Photoshop. But I’ve been learning what I call tricks with Photoshop. Within it is an endless set of tools to manipulate color and shape. Sound like anything we know? As I’ve worked on books for myself and others I’ve needed to know more than just how to size my pictures.

So I’ve been taking classes on Lynda.com, which is a tutorial service on the internet that offers a mind boggling range of videos on anything you might want to learn. This is what happened when they showed me the slider bar on the hue menu. I’m not going to show you how to do this, because it’s simply sliding the  bar around. I want you to see what happens to colors when we change the hue, but the relationships stay the same. And it does an instant abstract just by being colors you don’t expect.

Remember that peoni?

 

I could have spent the last 6 months making this peonie in these colors. It might have been worth it to me. I still may. But I got to see the changes without that time spent. I picked the  colors directly from the photographs rather than matching them to the wheel. The orange and lime ones are the ones that send me moonward. But then again, I’m always ready for orange and lime. But it’s the relationships that stay pretty constant. What would happen if I did that to the same bug? 

I’m not sure if I learn as much this way, but it seems that I do. I don’t think we know exactly how it works to learn something intellectually and visually, but not through the manipulation of materials.  But it’s six months of experimenting in 20 minutes. That was worth it.

Botanica

Howard Schatz wrote an amazing book called Botanica, which I believe are a number of photoshop like images slid through different color waves. It’s mind blowing and very good for getting you out of the notion that roses are red and violets are blue.

Lynda.com is also mind blowing. I invite you to check it out and see what neat thing you can learn today.

And I hope to see you on the journey.

Ellen

Ellen Anne Eddy

 

 

Lessons from My Garden:Color Musings

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

804 Allium and ButterflyMy garden has gone bersonkers. Perhaps it’s all that rain. Or my friends who morris dance in it from time to time. One of the things I enjoy most is the cycle of change measured by my flowers. The garden starts as yellow daffs, goes through a multicolor, but mostly red tulip phase, and then lands in the purple part of May/June

 

peonie 2This is the time of peonies and alliums.

I have regular peonies.  But they take a back seat to the Chinese peonie trees I put in years ago. They stand as a tree and have spectacular 6-8 inch blooms in pinks, purples and reds.


alliumAlliums are a huge purple  garlic bloom. How could you go wrong? Add another  color peonies and the garden starts to sing in purple.

purples chart wWhy is it so exciting? A look at the color wheel makes it plain. We”re playing with complements again. But on top of that we have colors on either side. So we have an analogous color combination  as well. The colors make a split analogous grouping which really is my favorite way to play. You get all the smooth colors from an analogous color arc and the excitement of a complement group.

Remember that  the color wheel is not just about mixing color. It’s not just red and blue make purple. Instead, it’s a mapping of color relationships.  We respond to the relationships of color, who they are next to each other, much more than we respond to one color or another separately. And we can spin the dial to create to reproduce that relationship with another set of colors entirely.

Next time I’ll take you for a spin on the color wheel using Photoshop as our guide.

Wanting to build your own pattern free quilt garden? Check out my book

Thread Magic Garden Until then, make sure you bathe in the colors.

 

 

Falling into Fall: In Search of Fall Color

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Last night’s  hard wind and rain brought the cool that’s been promised by the leaves’ turning.  There’s patches of color up and down the highway.  Mostly maples at this point.  The browns will come in later with the oaks, and the elms are in  between wth a fanfare of yellow. All time is spiral in nature. And it’s always announced by the colors. You know what time of year it is without a calendar. Just look up at the trees and the sky.

What makes those fall colors so fabulous? When we get them on the wheel, it’s  pretty clear. If we look at them from a distance we have a split analogous wheel We’ve got the reds and the greens complementing each other. But here nature’s blended them into different browns as well.

Whenever I teach dyeing,  I get someone who says to me “I hate brown. I don’t want to dye any browned out colors.” That’s an aesthetic and it’s a choice. It’s not even a bad choice. Most of us can easily be seduced into clear colors.  But as you dye fabrics and threads, you come to realize that different complementary pairs make different browns an that the shades between them are amazingly rich and moody. The owl was done with around 3o different hand dyed threads shaded with complementary pairs in different combinations to celebrate brown. It’s much sexier that you thought, isn’t it?

In the micro view it’s a little simpler. Were you wondering why there’s pink in that wheel? It’s there in those leaves. But the green and red sizzle against it and it slides in with that soft orange.

Fall into the colors of fall! All those colors against the browns are warmth against the coming cool.

 

 

 

Dyeing without the Red Menace

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Piney Dragonfly

 

Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.

It used to be that I never dyed anything without certain dyes in the house. Clear yellow, turquoise, plum, blue violet, lemon yellow and fuchsia.If I was out of any of those, I ordered dye. Even if I was out of only one.

Did I ever order one color of dye? Don’t be silly. That would be horrific in shipping costs. So the need for one $4 jar of dye would really quickly turn into a $75  exploration of new colors. It was fun. The economy was stronger and I was teaching much more often.

Now that I’m home more in the studio, my dyeing has changed. I dye more just for myself and much less often. And when I found myself out of fuchsia dye last week I rolled my eyes, shook my head and dyed without it.

It’s fascinating how one color changes the whole pallet.

Piney Dragonfly is dyed using fuchsia, along with hot pink, cotton candy, yellow green, forest and dark green.

 

three point landing

Three Point Landing was dyed without fuchsia.The reds here were done with basic red, mixing red, strong orange, raspberry, amethyst and scarlet.

 

  They call fuchsia the red menace for a reason. It bleeds. Not a little. Not sometimes. Stuck pig style. In the most peculiar pink if you have a white spot in your fabric for it to land on. Some people like it. For me, it’s an almost automatic cause for an  overdye.

Leaving out the fuchsia meant that I didn’t have any bleedover. Who knew? Nothing is good or bad less thinking makes it so.

If you want more information about dyeing fabric The Dye Day Workbook will walk you through my sponge painting methods  to wild wonderful fabric, with or without fuchsia.

Big Huge Labs, New Toy!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Some while back, Dale Ann Potter just showed off this very cool online toy from Big Labs called a Color Generator.

How many times have I looked at a project I was trying to explain to someone and said,  “Well, here’s the colors.”  I went into Photoshop and guessed as best I could. 

This is so much better. Big Huge Labs has this color generator that can be plugged right into Photoshop. How cool is that?

They also have a mosaic tool, a puzzle tool, a badge tool, and a way to make magazine covers, calendars and endless other publications. Wow said backwards.

Dale has her excellent work on her site, but she also is superb at finding neat and cool things the rest of us should know about and maybe don’t. Her site is at http://daleannepotter.com where you’ll also find her blog.

 

Painless Color Swatches!

Primarily Speaking: In Search of Primaries

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Three Point Landing

When I go in search of primaries, it’s not about elections.  I don’t mind being covered in paint, dye, or garden dirt, but some messes are just too much for me to deal with.

 

Primaries are the building blocks of color. They’re separate entities that really hold their own. Like distant foreign countries, they exist within their own boarders, owning and sharing nothing with each other.

Source: 123rf.com via Ellen Anne on Pinterest

How does that work out visually? They really stand out in a crowd.

All of these quilts have that crisp red, blue yellow primary edge that signals the eye and the brain to separate images and to hold them bright and bold. Have you noticed  that green acts as a neutral here?

The next time you want your colors to shout out loud, pick primaries!

The primaries we worked with here are pigment primaries. For more information about other kind of primaries, see my blog post called Primarily Confused.

Three Point Landing is part of the art collection of Jan Stewart, who is a fabulous sculptor and mixed media artist herself. You’ll find her work on her blog and at her face book page .

As an addendum, Alison Schwabe suggested a number of articles you might find helpful about color. You’ll find them on her blog on her web page at http://www.alisonschwabe.com/index.php

Primarily Confused

Friday, January 27th, 2012

People often tell me they’re confused by color.

It’s no wonder! Color can be daunting. One of the biggest confusions is  that when we go outside the art/world color wheel we get told some very confusing information.

If you’re coloring the universe, Paint, Web, and Print are three different destinations. They also have three different coloring wheels. 

The color wheel we know and love doesn’t really change. But the primaries do.  So when you get asked, what are the primary colors you need to know what world your in.

Paint, crayons and art supplies:

These are pigments. The primaries for pigments are red, blue and yellow.

Pigment primaries

Computer Screens:

These colors are mixed light. The primaries for  mixed light are red, blue and green. You’ll see those on every picture setting. That’s what RBG means.

computer/tv screen primaries

Print is different:

Print primaries

Printers ink have a separate place for black. Which  is why you see them listed as YMCK . The K stands for black

Dye

Dye has two sets of color primaries. They have a different color cast. One leans a bit to the sun, and the other leans a bit towards the shade. They don’t seem vastly different, but if you wish to have colors with a cool cast you use one set of primaries, warm cast the other.

Warm Color Primaries

Cool Color Primaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be confused. There are all kinds of different ways to look at primaries, but it all depends what universe you’re in. Look around. See where you are. Then you’ll know what you’re primarily looking at.

We’ll talk more about primaries at another time. But it seemed worth  clearing that up first.

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