summer colour palettes

Colour inspires me. I love to work with colours; creating pairings and partnerships of colour to build reactions between them, evoking moods and setting a spirit through colour choices. I notice colour relationships every day, and enjoy considering why certain colours thrive alongside others. I love to wear colours too, and like to contrast materials as well as colour to create interesting relationships. I do worry if I find myself in brown trousers and a green top – I don’t want to look like a tree!

Over the last eighteen months I’ve spent time mixing colour using gouache paints, matching colours perfectly with items collected from walks. Little collections of seaweed, shells, catkins, feathers and leaves have sat patiently in the studio while I mix and match. I’m good at matching colours and would be perfectly happy spending hours a week doing just that.

I also enjoy creating colour palettes, sometimes for projects, or my teaching sessions, and sometimes just because what I see around me suggests a perfect palette to explore and create. Our garden has been a bit of a project over the last two years and this summer the new borders are filled with colour that bring such joy to me. My mood is lifted when I see colours working together well. Here are two results from a photograph taken in the garden earlier this month, just because the splashes of colour were pleasing enough to capture.

I like the dominant green that provides the backdrop for the brighter colour accents, and the shapes of the flowers are like splashes of colour dropped in to the soothing green. The pink, red and orange provide the warmth, while the blues are calming and restful. The depths of the border at the bottom of the flower stems are dark, no doubt cool away from the summer sun.

I decided to explore the role proportions of colour play in a palette in the second image. The width of each colour stripe is representative of the area it covers in the image. Back in 1994 this was one of the summer projects I was tasked with as I started my degree in textile design – and all these years on I still enjoy doing it! You can see how the colours perform when dominant, or work as accent colours in thin slithers. There are always main characters and supporting roles in a palette, but it takes all sorts to put on a performance!

When selecting the colours in the image for the palette I worked with the larger areas of colour first, then looked to see how the colours had natural partners to sit next to in the stripe. The accent colours grab the attention of my eyes. Both images reflect the same colour palette, but present themselves quite differently.

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