Collage studies (3.4) Part one

Simple Collage:

I have translated my digitally drawn sketch book image into a collage. The rules I have set for the simple collage is that the colour is flat and saturated and I have simplified the image down to seven colours. No colours overlap except for being placed on the background so they are all largely seen as interacting with the brown background only. I have tried to use flat colour paper but I was a little limited by what colour papers I had and a couple of the papers were shiny which I would have liked to avoid. The colours are all primary or secondary colours and I have tried to make them as “simple” colours as I could, meaning they pretty much correspond with colour made up of only one or two elements, i.e. I have chosen from red, blue, purple, yellow, green, orange. I have used brown for the background because it was the best match for the photo but I guess in order to follow this rule I could have simplified that to orange. I’m also not happy with the purple because it is really a bit more “complex” in that it is not pure saturated colour but a tone or tint and possibly also includes some complementary.

Research Point 2

Adobe Capture:

This was a really exciting find. Link 10 led me to this app which I can use with my adobe account. It is an app for creating colour palettes (as well as lots of other things) and I started by using the internet version of it to try and capture the colours of the outback from my memory.

I was really happy to find that I could change the colours in to a CMYK format, as I wonder if this could help me mix the colours myself in dye or paint. I have been trying to mix colours based on a six colour system of warm and cool primaries with moderate success, but don’t really understand why the four colour system of cyan, magenta, yellow and black is not used for mixing paint. It is the printmaking standard and obviously can make a big range of colours for use in printmaking. I’d like to try doing that and I could use printing primaries in screen printing ink to try. I’d also like to try it with dye.

I then discovered that I could take a photo on my camera and use the app to try and analyse the colours in it. I have been trying to edit photos in the field to match the colour on the camera whilst I have the landscape in front of me, but I’m not sure whether the limitations of the screen match the data input. I understand from speaking to a man in a camera shop, that you can get a tool, like a calibrator I guess, that can match your screen on the computer to the printer profile that the camera shop uses and then should be able to print accurately.

But at least this adobe capture app can get you in the right ball park for the breakdown of colours in your photo, and I’m excited to try and mix the colours using CMYK suggestions. I’m not sure if this tool allows you to vary the number of colours or create a weighted palette with different amounts of each colour and that does limit things a bit but for my purposes I can create a number of palettes to combine in my work if necessary.

Here is my first go at outback palette which I am trying to develop for my quilt show quilt. I was surprised to find that there is not the strength of green in the photo that my eyes are seeing. I often find that my palettes are much too primary and maybe I impose my own perceptions on the actual colours I am seeing. For example I see green in this photo because in my mind trees are shades of light and dark green close up. But in this landscape view the app tells me that this is not the case and that the trees are much more brown and gold. It makes a more harmonious palate than the one I created from memory above.

And here is the breakdown into CMYK

This is taken from my photo of the greenish lake at Mount Gambier, which I was using to contrast with the famous Blue Lake there. I spent a lot of time trying to match the colour in my lake photo with a puddle of watercolour and it was very difficult. I hope to use the CMYK breakdown to try again and see if it makes it easier. One thing I don’t fully understand is the role of white. The colour wheel seems to suggest there is “white” with the dots placed towards the centre of the wheel, but I guess this really just represents the density of paint/ink in relation to the white substrate. So in watercolour it would equal water and in screenprinting ink it would have to be clear or white print paste without pigment. For dye it means a higher water to dye ratio, or really just less dye related to substrate. In painting it could be achieved by actually adding white. This is what I did with my watercolour which did also provide a white pigment. It gave an opacity to the watercolour which suited the lake colour.

I’ve done a number of colour matching studies with the green and blue lake photos and I will write them up and include them in the blog soon.

Finally Adobe Capture allows you to play with patterns based on your own photos. This is a manipulation of a photo of one of my glass watercolour studies.

Has great potential for designing my own quilts with unique patterns and colour palettes

Collage studies (3.4) Part One, sketchbook planning

I have created this sketch in Adobe draw, by inserting the image underneath and working directly over the image to translate the image into basic geometric shapes and a small palette of representative colours.

This is planning for my simple collage.

Next I’m thinking about what might be an unusual colour combination. I already find the above a slightly clashing combination because it uses natural browns and greens with man made vivid blue and red. Perhaps I could highlight this by muting the natural colours and highlighting the man made. So I would be combining an earth palette with a brights palette. Not something I would usually do or like but that might make it unusual. As far as layout goes I think I could use a variegated natural background with a flat tone brights slashing across the middle.

Here I have tried to create a muted natural colour background predominantly brown and green, and tried to introduce a harsh red and blue overlay. The tonal difference is probably not striking enough. I want the vivid colours to be a pure tone, no complementary and no black or white, and the background colours to be mixtures with complementary and black and white. I didn’t realise this until I had started the image and then tried to push back the background. I have some papers that I created with natural variegated tones and hues that I have painted to try and match with the photo, and I could create further colour contrast by using commercial flat colour papers for the vivid items. Not sure how successful this is and I don’t like it, but I am trying for unusual.

The traditional unusual combinations of blue and green ” blue and green should never been seen without a colour in between” I actually love and use a lot. One thing I note though doing this exercise, is that the combinations become more unusual and perhaps unpleasant when you vary the tone as well as the hue. So pastel blue and vivid emerald green would look more unusual.

Another “unusual” combination that I love is pink and orange. Pastel pink and vivid orange would make this more unusual.

Finally a complex colour combination. I’m not really sure what this means. Perhaps it could be including as many as possible of the colours in the photo. Or building up the colours by using fragments of multiple colours to create the final overall appearance. I think my idea of complexity in colour does mean breaking things down into lots of subtle colours with unexpected juxtapositions.


Here I have included lots of colors in each different area and tried to break the image down into its composite colors with a touch of complementary. Thinking of fragmenting this collage into lots of small pieces of different colors that work together to make a good representation of the whole.

Watercolour studies (3.3)

For this exercise I set up glass objects that I could find in the apartment we were staying in. The Pyrex dish had a beautiful blue hue, whereas the glasses were green and the lamp stem had a hint of a dull pink. I set it up with a white background and sitting on a daylight light box. The lamp was on and had an incandescent globe and a brown shade which no doubt influenced the colours I saw.

The inclusion of the crystal seen above was as a special treat for me, but it was disappointing. The crystal itself was very clear and although it did gather and fracture the light from around it like a prism, it didn’t have the interesting shades of subtle colour in the body of the crystal itself, the way the glass did.

I struggled with this exercise. I could see colours but had more difficulty in mixing them in watercolour. The colour on the palette was difficult to see without constantly testing it on a piece of paper, and then I seemed to run out or overshoot quickly. When I made the lines touch, as asked to do, they rewet the adjacent colour and created a third colour which was not what I was seeing. ( I like that look though).

No matter how gentle I tried to be I also found that the colours came out stronger and less subtle that what I was seeing. This was a valuable learning exercise in creating subtle colour but not my favourite one.

I’ll probably present my samples as squares around the photos of the glass objects, as the layout from which I drew the colours was a square layout.

Translation through yarn (3.2)

This was my first attempt at representing the colour in my Vermeer postcard with thread and yarn. For this attempt I did not blend anything but used what I had with me. At this stage I could not purchase anything but I had planned ahead and brought thread and yarn with me. This is a unsubtle representation of the colour and it was much too messy as I had difficult keeping the thread taut as my card was too soft and caved in.

For my second attempt I took on board the suggestions from the facebook page of double sided tape and stiffer card and used toilet roll inserts to provide a curved surface that was easy to wrap, and then flattened these. Still not sure how I will mount these in a book but I am thinking about sliding a card through the middle and then using slits in my page to secure it from the back. In the top one I have used purchased ribbons and trims that I have tried to match in store now that we were in a city again. And for the bottom one I have used threads that I have blended using a hand spindle. I think the blended threads give quite a goo representation of the colour and more subtle that the ribbons which were all still not quite right. I have not kept strictly to the proportions in the photo but rather given emphasis to the red blue and yellow which seem key to the painting to me.

And finally I just wanted to try a little weaving using a combination of the trims and blended threads. I have organised this from top to bottom trying to keep proportions roughly correct. I think it makes a more interesting colour study to use a range of textures but I would have preferred a cleaner edge like I could achieve with the wraps. Still I spent a lot of time on proportion and examination of the colour in the postcard and the threads and I think I will include it.

I had a lot of fun trying to blend threads to match the colours and I was surprised to find that I could include complementaries as I would in painting to change the overall colour. I had to be careful they were similar in tone but if this was the case then even quite disparate colours would blend to create a new colour.

I can really see how this unit is giving us the groundwork for textile art and a variety of tools to use to create different effects.

Colour matching Gouache studies (3.1) Part Three

The neutral square was probably a bit too even for this exercise, but I did include a couple of washes of different colours to try and add subtle depth and variation. I was pleased that my partner thought I had just painted straight over the fabric square 🙂

Only a small number of testers this time. Really was only shades of one colour used and most of the decision was made on the palette. It was quite difficult to get the subtle colour right but I was happy. This is a piece of raw silk that I had brought with me for dyeing. Who knew it had so much colour in it?

Colour matching Gouache studies (3.1) Part Two

It’s been about two weeks since I’ve had reliable internet as we had the internet out for a week in the outback and now this last week we are travelling home. I’ve been working through the practical work but need to catch up a bit on writing up.

I was pretty please with how this turned out. The biggest challenge and point of difference here was the black. I tried to make black out of colours rather than using the black from the tube and although the colour produced is black, it has quite a different character to the rich black printed on the fabric. This fabric is actually a charity bandana, chosen at the local roadhouse for its graphic blocks of colour. The Liberty fabric would have just been impossible for me to extend.

Once again I’ve just saved all my testers with the right one in there somewhere. If I’d been sensible I would have marked which one I thought was right but now I’ll have to go back and rematch when I’m assembling my book. Sigh.

I found this an enjoyable activity. I noticed that I sometimes had to go back and change my paint after I started to paint on the paper as close proximity to the fabric really highlighted differences that I couldn’t see prior to that. I felt that I could see what colour was needed to correct but I would often then overshoot and go back and forth a few times before I could get it right. This exercise has taught me a lot about mixing colour and the use of complementary to move colours away from just pure vibrant colour, (which I do love), to a range of more subtle colours. I’ve discovered that even colours I would consider bright, are often nonetheless tempered with the complementary.

I’ve been looking a colour a lot and spent a lot of time in the outback analysing the colours of the landscape and the sky, with a view to using that palette in future work.