Saturday, August 6, 2016

Do You Have Tricks For Choosing Colors?

     When you are creating artwork, are you picky about the colors you choose? Do they have to be exactly the right hue? For me, they didn't used to have to be. But now, I have a homework assignment that requires me to work in one color family with only 3-4 hues. And another assignment with complimentary colors. So I'm being very choosy with my colors right now. I'm sure there are many ways to go about it, but I've come up with a way that is working for me.
     I go to one of the big box home improvement stores and pick up paint chips in the color family I want. I hold them up to my background fabric and choose the few that look the best with it. Then I get out my fabric paints and mix up the colors to match the paint chips. I mix them up on an acrylic palette and paint out a square on a piece of white cotton muslin. I also take that original color and add white and paint out a square of that on the muslin, too. I label the muslin with a number for the color like "2A".  The one with white added gets labeled "2B.  I sew the muslin pieces onto card stock and write the recipe for making the color on the card stock so that I can make it again.
Painted muslin pieces
For colors E and F above, I forgot to make their white counterparts. This way, I can remove the card stock from my notebook and hold it up or pin it to a background on my design board and stand back and see how it looks.
     Another trick I've been using is adding colorless extender to my textile paint to get a more transparent look in places when using stencils and thermofaxes. I try it out in different dilutions and keep a record in my notebook, too.
A thermofax print tested with a 1:4 dilution
Here are some prints on my art cloth at two different dilutions.
Two leaf prints at two different dilutions
By the way, the leaves are very special to me. My mother picked the leaves for me about ten years ago when she was still alive and living up in Chicago. I asked her to send me some autumn leaves. A few weeks ago, I needed to make a thermofax of leaves. Since I'm in the way of using what you have, I went through my things and found the bag of leaves she had sent.
     Last night, I needed an image of a leaf in decay so I mixed up paint, got out my gelli plate, and printed away to get an image for a new thermofax screen.
my printing table in full gear
     I ended up using one of the negative prints and inverting the black and white to get a good image to send off for my  thermofax. So, now that I have structured assignments, I'm developing structured ways of looking at color and I'm finding it actually more liberating.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.


  1. Sweet story and great tip for choosing colors.

  2. I should have mentioned that it is a tip for choosing paint colors. For fabric colors, you only need the paint chips.


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