Friday, February 21, 2014
The Color of the Blues
I've about had enough of this winter weather! Being stuck inside day after dreary day, I have to admit, I have a full blown case of the winter blues. The lack of bright sun and the constant, dreary landscape has me dreaming about color lately (especially how I'm missing it during these gray days).
I love color, and it is one of my favorite things about working with fabric and quilting; creating patterns and pictures with bits and pieces of colored fabrics. I only learned the basics of color theory in college, and mainly learned color mixing. Each time I was presented with a new media, I was given a limited color palette with which to create all the other colors. It was a good way to learn to mix colors well with paints, inks and dyes, but there is a lot more to using color in art than just mixing colors.
Also on my mind is how universal the use of color is in modern quilting and how we (as modern quilters) talk about color. It is amazing to see so many wonderful solid colors made available in fabric in so many different tints, shades, and hues. Also, it's pretty awesome to see so many people interested in exploring the use of color, and how colors play together with fabrics!
Not so awesome, on the other hand, are a few instances I have seen where color theory (like relationships between colors in a wheel) are being presented as the best way, or only correct way to use colors together. While color wheels and the relationships of colors within them have been studied by artists for hundreds of years (and continue to be used to this day), these tools were always meant as a way to explore and learn, and never meant as a hard-and-fast rule.
Since I am so recent to quilting, I'm suddenly very interested in revisiting Color Theory to learn more. And let me just say that I don't claim to be an expert in Color Theory, and it would be very difficult for anyone to make that claim. Color Theory is an umbrella term covering all aspects of the human experience of color perception. It includes the studies of physics, biology, optics, psychology, neurology, and more!
So, I am endeavoring to start this new project, a kind of head-first dive into studying color. I'm starting with a few books on the subject, some of which include the most basic, classic, time tested color exercises. Students usually use colored papers (or paints) to complete the different assignments, but I intend to work all of them with fabrics! Yes!
The first and most basic assignment is creating a basic color wheel from colored fabrics. That sounds simple enough, right? I mean, haven't we all seen those beautiful quilts made from wheels of colored fabric? Yes, but the point of this exercise is to find the true hues of the basic colors in the wheel, and finding those exact hues in fabrics should make for a pretty challenging scavenger hunt. A good, colorful challenge is exactly what I need. I'll definitely keep you posted, but plan on starting to hunt down the true hues for my color wheel next week - and hopefully my color study will help me shake the winter blues!