Friday, April 02, 2010

Color Theory

Thank you all for your encouragement. I took the towels to the guild meeting last night to ask for advice. They liked them and took the towels, opened them up fully stepping away from me. I was surprised how pretty they suddenly became.

Laura Viada, a fiber artist from Houston, is teaching our color theory class and was also our speaker last night. She gave a very visceral and heartfelt talk about finding ourselves in our art and making a place for it in our lives, knowing when to say no to other demands by deciding if the no matters and if it should matter. If we decide it should matter, then take another look. It's not good to say no if we're going to feel guilty about it. If we do decide it's okay say no to a demand, then we need to accept without guilt and with no self- recriminations. One of the reasons her talk was so heartfelt was that because of her change in marital and employment status, she has discontinued workshops. They are now a no for her. We are the last one. Wow - just wow.
This morning Laura lectured for about an hour on color theory. We've all had color theory lectures in the past but it was good be refreshed. She used a color wheel with the primary, secondary and tertiary colors, so 12 colors in all. Since there are 15 of us in the class, she put one of the each of the hues plus three duplicates in a bag and we drew our color for the day. I was yellow-green. Next we went to the table with these color cards and selected what we thought was a tint (white added), shade (black added) and tone (gray added). Almost everyone got tint right but not one of us got all three right.

Two people drew yellow and these are their choices. Fifteen people today were stunned to realize that khaki is not green but a shade of yellow. The light flipped on for me when I realized why I have such a hard time making the greens I'm after. I need to add black or gray - not blue or yellow!
It was a difficult exercise but this is a group very comfort-
able with one another and there was no competition and much laughter. These are the 12 hues with correct tint, shade and tone. We were surprised to learn that violet has only a tint, no shade or tone. But then we were surprised a lot in this exercise.
Then Laura did a quiz of sorts by sticking up a color card on the white board and asking us what hue it was. The only one I ever got right was red. Once a hue has been mixed with black or gray, it becomes surprisingly difficult to identify.

It's the yellows that took us all by surprise. Before the exercise, we were helping Laura lay out the color cards on the table, and I picked up one of my favorite colors saying that it was my favorite shade of green. Laura laughed and said - that's not green. I knew I was in trouble right then.
So then we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. We got tubes of acrylic in our assigned color and it's complimentary color. The exercise was to make a gray-scale but using our assigned color and its complimentary color instead of the traditional black and white - what the heck?! I didn't realize how effective a few drops of a complimentary color could be in toning down a color that was is over the top - if you've done any dying, you know what I mean. That's when I'd add black and would get something I didn't want.
So these were the two orange and violets. In each one of these exercises it became clear that there was a middle muddy color that we just couldn't say where it belonged. Can you see orange? Can you see blue??
These are my color mixes. The left card is my assigned color - yellow/
green blended in gradations with red/violet (I got tired of the squares) and my right card is yellow/green blended with gray. I came home with a head full of buzzing bees. The weather sucks. As we ran out of the building in the rain and wind for our cars, I heard Laura call - I thought ya'll lived in the desert. I am headed to bed so I can crawl out and go back for another eight hours. I had no idea there were so many steps to color theory.


Theresa said...

What a wonderful class! Looks like she took the standard theory and went way beyond it. And you say she's not doing them anymore...bummer!

LA said...

Did you dream color all night??? There's so much to learn...but we just keep doing it!

Life Looms Large said...

Sounds like a great a great lesson on saying No. (I need to practice a bit of that in my life too!)

Glad that visiting your guild and blogging helped you to like your towels better!!! Good stuff!


beadlizard said...

What a wonderful class in color theory! Yay! It will be fun to see what you do with the concepts.

Can you now *see* what it is about the towels that is right?

Beryl Moody said...

What a bummer that she won't be doing workshops any more. She is really a fabulous teacher and I can see that the color theory class will be great!

Mim said...

I'll be right over to learn a few things!!

Michelle said...

I learned a lot just by reading your blog on the workshop!

Benita said...

Wow! I am jealous! I would LOVE to take an extensive color theory class like this. I'm going to look at my art center catalog and see if they offer one. I agree that we all know the basics, but it was dyeing with silk dyes that taught me olive is yellow with gray added. I repeat I AM JEALOUS!!!