If you asked each quilter and artist “what is the most challenging aspect of designing and making quilts?” I think the answer would be colour– don’t you?
Understanding and using colour is a lifelong journey through our senses. I’m not going to try to teach you in this little column but I am suggesting that you can learn a lot by creating a little self study course of your own. Buying a book about colour and working through it is one good way to learn. But here are some little exercises that you can do as well.
I’ve chosen blue as my focus, but you can begin with any colour. Get a small sketch book; 8” x 10” is a good size and use it for the full colour spectrum.
· Make a list of every thought and feeling that uses blue: blue moon, feeling blue, royalty (blue blood), sky blue, are some possibilities. Ask friends and family to add to the list.
· Take snips of all the blue fabrics in your stash. Glue them in your sketchbook, arranging them in order of value (light to dark). Or arrange them in two groups; ones with a yellow (blue-green) cast and the other with a red (blue-violet) cast.
· Cut blue paper strips from magazines and glue them in your book. Arrange them in value or cast . Play with different orders, name the groupings, create other arrangements, put them into nine-patch blocks.
The idea is to play with blue and get to know it well. Understand your feelings about the colour and how you use it in your work.
· If you use paints, then make little colour studies of blue by adding white and then black to sweeps of colour. Then try adding yellow and red and finally other colours to see how they act with blue. If you don’t have paints, then use crayons or pencil crayons.