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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A blast from the past - Two workshops from our treasure chest

This is a series of posts by Beata who shared on the FIRE blog in 2013. These are the best post about color and composition I have ever seen. As a matter of fact I copied them into a word document and took my time going through the exercises.

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 am thrilled that there are posts planned for April. I was worried that there would be dearth of 'Fire'

  2. I loved these when they were first published and am thrilled to get to review them! Oh, a side note, don't you just love the Joseph Albers: Hommage to the Square. NO wonder he is in my favorite artists list along with Rothko!


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.