A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Colour Workshop - 1.Introduction

Claude Monet: Rouen Cathedral
I know that this is a technique-oriented blog but in my eyes, any technique is as good as usable it is. And theory can give a foundation to technique – to use it more consciously. So In September I would like to make a series of theoretical inputs and connect them with exercises. I taught workshops on design principles where we also explored the principle elements of design.
There is not even a complete consensus on the principle elements of design but I consider 5 of them to be the basics: the line, the mark, the form and the space, the texture and the colour.
Colour is the most complex of them. Most of us handle it intuitively but I found that people appreciated to KNOW why and how colour works – so I choosed it as the topic of this month.
As I said I will make short theoretical introductions and give some exercises to try out. They will be rather short ones concentrating on the learning effect. So if any of you would like to do them and would send me the results, I would love to show them on the blog afterwards.
Joseph Albers: Hommage to the Square
OK, let’s get started!
We perceive the lights reflected from the surface of the object as colour. Colours that seem to be similar have nearly the same wavelengths. The perception takes places in the mind, so there is an immense “individual” aspect in it.
Each colour can be manipulated either by colour mixing or, more subtly, by altering the context in which they appear. And this latter one, the context, is which I would like to examine carefully.

There are three fundamental factors to specify colours: hue, value and saturation.
The hue is defined by the wavelength and generally referred as “colours” like green, red, blue, etc. The conventional 12-colored wheel shows the three primary hues: red, blue, yellow, the secondaries (always a mixture of two primaries): orange, green, purple and the tertiaries (mixture of adjoining primaries and secondaries). Different hues can be reached by colour mixing.  This is the part, which I’m NOT going to discuss this month.
But these hues, I’ll refer them as colours from now on, can elicit different sensations in different contexts:
  • Sometimes I perceive a certain colour in a context as dark, in another one as medium or even light.  Why?
  • Blue is considered as a “cold” colour. Isn’t there any “warm blue”?
  • And how can a colour sometimes be “bright” an in connection with other ones rather “dull”?

These are the questions I’ll try to answer during the next few days.


  1. I love theory and excersises so I definetely join you this month!

  2. Beata, I look forward to your discussions! Color has always been fascinating to me, and I play a lot with contrasts, light and dark, etc. So I'm always interested in learning more about how to use it to achieve whatever results I am aiming for.

  3. I have anticipated this month's blog posts. I am anxious to learn along with the posts and I so appreciate your sharing your knowledge with us!! Thanks Beata!!!!!!

  4. Nienke, Judy, Beth,thanks for your support. I just hope to be able to come up to the expectations!

  5. Hei Beate, I like the idea and will try to follow you. I'm always very interested in how people think about and react on color. I have an education as creative color therapist and love to play with colors. So I'm very curious what this month will bring. Good luck with it.

  6. Oh, I'm going to enjoy this! Everyone, don't you think, should have their own original self-composed quotable phrase and mine is "Color is my art oxygen." So, my favorite subject! LOL Thanks so much for caring and sharing your knowledge with us. xoxo

  7. Color theory is something I know I could improve on -- looking forward to this month's posts.

  8. Oh, thank you. I need to clear some space and make some time for your exercises!

  9. I've never really delved into this subject much. I'm one of those intuitive people with color. However, since you stated so well that it would still be great to learn about it...I find myself actually excited to join you this month. Just reading this post I came up with an idea for a piece! Thanks for the inspiration!


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