Sunday, May 24, 2020

Color Wheel Exploration

This month I have continued with the online workshop led by Rachel Hauser with her book The Quilter's Field Guide to Color. We've been working with the color wheel, not going into all the scientific theory, but using it to broaden our palettes. First up was making some of the basic arrangements of color: analogous, complementary and triadic. I based my color combinations on a 12-color scheme. You know: red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, and the colors in between. For each arrangement, we were to choose an anchor color. I chose teal. I forgot to photograph my swatch wheel, but you can see the swatches in the block photos below. Here are my analogous swatches with my interpretation in fabric of the colors next to each other on the wheel: blue-green, green and yellow green (or teal, emerald, lime)

For a complementary scheme, here's my pairing of blue-green with red-orange (or teal and papaya/coral):

And then, triadic, with blue-green, red-violet and yellow orange (or teal, boysenberry, goldfish):

What these photos don't show is the exploded fabric bomb that was left in my living room and family room and maybe even on the bed in the guest bedroom by the time I was done with this exercise. I was most comfortable with my choices for the analogous color scheme, and I can see myself making a quilt in this scheme. I've always had a little difficulty with complementary because I feel like it can be really strong, but I suppose that's where value and proportion of colors comes in, which is likely an exercise for another day. I'm not at all sure about the triadic scheme. These are not colors I would ordinarily put together, but that's the point of the process, right? To explore some ideas that are new for me. Here they are all together without their labels:

After that initial dip into the color wheel, we moved on to a full wheel for the next exercise.
Here is my attempt to arrange the basic color swatches with all the ones in between:
At some point either all those swatches on the right ran off to plan a mutiny or my mind just got really tired. But if you look closely, you can see there is a fairly complete circle in there somewhere. You can see that I was all hung up on values and not quite sure what to do with some of those swatches. After that task, we were asked to make a 12-color wheel using some specified colors and then make a block of four Bear Paw blocks in a rainbow arrangement of fabrics matching those colors. Here's my wheel, not very wheel looking, I know, but you get the idea. I started out with a couple of different colors for the pink and minty green, but I had to change them based on my fabric availability.

And then the blocks:

Isn't that a fun way to make a color wheel? I didn't sew my blocks together, as I have other plans for these eventually. How about a closer look with the labels?
And some close-ups. (I love color names!)
Autumn, Peony, Boysenberry
Tiger, Pineapple, Lime
Clover, Aloe, Teal
Cornflower, Bahama, Blackberry
I enjoyed that! Moving right along, we dove into the variations of hues for the next exercise: hue, tint, tone and shade. Here were my picks for swatches of each of the six basic colors of the wheel:
Then we expanded them into 12-color wheels. I skipped the first column, with the basic hues since I had already worked with that in the previous exercise. I found that it was pretty easy for me to choose the basic six colors, but expanding them to 12 was more challenging. Here is my pastel wheel:
I was surprised to find that I had enough fabric to represent the wheel, because I'm not particularly fond of pastels.
 Here's the dusty tints wheel:
I knew it would be fairly easy for me to make up a fabric wheel. I must have a bazillion dusty fabrics from the 80's and 90's. Those were about the only fabrics we could get at that time, it seemed. Everything had a grayish look to it. I still have so many bits, and find myself rejecting them a lot in projects because they can really look dull to me now, especially with more modern fabrics. But I do use them in rainbow scrap projects.
And then the jewel shades:
It blows my mind that there is no yellow in this wheel. But every one I picked did not look right to me. So of course, I had to look up why. Well, it seems that when you mix black with a color to make a shade, you get green when you add it to yellow. Who knew? I didn't. I'm sure that a jewel colored quilt would look fine with a spark of gold, though. Here are my fabrics:
And finally, the blocks I made to go with these. I only made one pastel, because I just wasn't feeling it. And then, a couple more in dusty tones.
For the pastels, I used Pigeon, Lemon, Ballet, Buff and Pistachio. The dusty blocks have Pewter, Cayenne, and Asparagus and Malachite, Coral, Gold and Mauve.
I ended up making four jewel blocks.
Top left: Moss and Raisin
Top right: Iris and Sunrise
Bottom  left: Ruby and Hunter
Bottom right: Ruby, Olive and Denim

I did try to follow some of what I learned about pairings from the first color wheel exercise, but mostly I just had fun with it. I think my biggest challenge (problem? opportunity?) was the limitations of fabric designs/color I have available. It turned out that my favorite of these blocks is the bottom right one above. I paired a modern print with a tiny, very old sprig print that I would never have thought to do before I made this block. It somehow works!

Okay, if you're still with me here, one more exercise: a simple one focusing on variations in value with a monochromatic color scheme. I really enjoyed this one, and am tempted to cut up all my bits of fabric into a zillion Bear Paw blocks just following value. First I took a photo of all my swatches and turned it into grayscale because I have a really had time detecting differences in value without doing that. 

Then I made four sets of monochromatic color schemes. (We only had to do one, but I'm an overachiever. Ha! Or maybe just having fun.) 
In grays:
Maybe not quite enough difference in the darker blues, but it worked out okay.
I chose three fabrics for most of the blocks even though I show four colors for each. Some of the background fabrics seem to be a cross of the two lighter swatches. 
Top left: Pistachio, Seafoam, Apple Green, Moss (I tried to mix warm and cool greens.)
Top right: Ice, Surf, Sea Turtle, Teal
Bottom left: Cloud, Sky, Peacock, Mineral
Bottom right: Buff, Orange, Flame, Cloves (I do like that orange one. I have lots and lots of rust from back in the olden days. Maybe I can resurrect them with some lighter oranges in a quilt someday.)

And here they are in gray:

So, whew! Those are my workshop exercises for the month. I was going to add a couple of photos of other things I'm working on because I actually have two(!!) RSC19 quilt tops finished. But this is plenty long enough. I'll share those soon. 

I hope you have had a good weekend, and if you are in the US, I hope you are having a wonderful extended Memorial Day weekend. Please, please, please be careful and safe. And, as our country tries opening up, remember, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "With freedom comes responsibility." We are not out of the woods with this whole virus thing, and we must do all we can to keep each other safe. Wear a mask, stay far apart, wash your hands. (My advice? Stay in and quilt.)

I'm linking up with Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap, as there are a lot of old scraps in this post.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 


KaHolly said...

This appears to be a pretty intense study and it looks as though you are having fun with it! What a gorgeous quilt you’ll have upon completion! “With freedom comes responsibility”, no truer words have been spoken, but in watching the news, I fear not enough people are taking their responsibility to heart during this holiday weekend and I cringe to think what the fallout might be two weeks from now. It impacts us all.

Bernie Kringel said...

Janine, This has been such an interesting study - I have always thought you have a wonderful sense of color which is apparent in your quilts. I am sure this will make it even more so. Lots of time spent and I am sure you had a huge fabric explosion in your home!! But since we are stuck at home and company isn't going to be knocking at the door, might as well go for it! Have a wonderful day and I agree with you - I truly hope people remember to be careful. :-)

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

This is so fascinating, JanineMarie! It looks like you've not only stretched your thinking, but also your fabric stash! Will all these bearpaws become one quilt?

Louise said...

Wow! You did a huge amount of work on this class! And every one of the little bear paws looks good to me. It's so interesting to me how quilting expands our comfort level with different color combos. I'm glad you're learning and having fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with all these paw blocks :)

QuiltGranma said...

You could put those all together in one quilt and call it The Colors of our Lives

Preeti said...

Janine, although it is you are doing the study all you readers are benefiting from your detailed documentation of the process. Our weekend was quiet. Yes we are staying safe. And since I cannot hug my girlfriends, Paul gets squished three times as much :-D
You too stay safe. Big Hugs from a safe distance away.

Mari said...

Oh, I love all your color wheels, especially the one made with blocks! I really like the triadic Bear's Paw near the top and the pastel one. Both a real surprise since these aren't usually my colors, but they do look wonderful. I also have stash troubles--tending towards some colors with almost none of some others. Can't wait to see the quilt these will become! (and your RSC quilts, too!)

Sandra Walker said...

I’ve been enjoying watching your posts (and Pat’s in Maryland) on Instagram for this course. I’d have loved to take it. It’s very much like (except for no bear paw blocks which I LOVE) the one I took centuries ago in Edmonton. And the one bottom right block you like? That’s a Paula Nadelstern print for the paw. I’m working with it in my kaleidoscope!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Wow!! What a journey you have had with your color swatches and fabrics!