Sunday, March 26, 2017

How Do You Study Color?

     When you need a special hue for your work, do you make an educated guess on how to get it? Or do you take some time to do a detailed study to get it very close to what you have in mind? I want to create a color palette to go with a piece I've already created. The background is a bluish gray and I want to create three more pieces that will coordinate with it. I'm using the gray one to represent Autumn and want to create one each for Spring, Summer, and Winter.
The gray one

     I'd like a bluish background for the Winter one but need it to be a dullish blue. I have several blue dyes from Prochemical and Dye Company. I know that if I mix a blue with an orange, I can dull it down. Rather than just guess how much of each dye to mix to get it right, I decided to do a color study and keep a notebook with all the details so that it will be useful for future works, too.
     So I chose several blues that I have and an orange dye named Strongest Orange to do this study. I may continue it later on trying an orange called Terra Cotta, also. I cut up 22 pieces of cotton broadcloth for each test and calculated the amounts of dye to use for my stock solutions of blue and stock solution of orange. Then I dyed the samples, starting with pure blue, various mixes of blue/orange, and pure orange. Also, for each, I dyed a sample diluted 1:10 so that I could see what the pale color of that hue looks like.
     Here are the results showing the gradual change from pure blue to pure orange:
Mixing Blue/Strongest Orange
Mixing Blue/Strongest Orange
Teal Blue/Strongest Orange
Teal Blue/Strongest Orange

Marine Blue/Strongest Orange
Marine Blue/Strongest Orange
Written underneath each swatch of fabric is the recipe I used so that I can reproduce the results. As you can see, I got some lovely browns that I'm sure I'll use sometime in the future. Also, if you look closely, you'll see that the swatches are not a solid color. I purposely didn't smoosh the fabric too much in the dye to get a solid. I wanted to see how it looked if I let the colors split a little, because that is most likely what will happen on the larger cloths I use to make backgrounds.
     From these samples, I think I can choose a blue that will work for a nice winter-themed background. My next study is to find a yellow/orange that will coordinate with the series for a Summer background hue. I'm starting that study with a color called "Curry" and mixing it with "Grape" in the same 11-step gradation I used for the blues. I have my first study with that already soaking in their baggies and the colors are looking very interesting.
     While I'm doing the color study, I'm also spending daily time stitching small collages with leftover pieces of fabrics from my first Autumn series. 
collage 1
collage 2
For now, I'm keeping the collages on the simple side to work with basic composition and color combinations with just a little marking and stitching added. I may revisit them and work them more later.
     So although my color study may take a month or so to complete, for me, I think it will be time worth spending to improve my dye technique and to have a notebook full of hues and how to get them. I'm linking this up to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

How Do You Handle Fresh Goals?

 When you have a set of things to accomplish do you just get to it or do you have an organized way to go about getting them done? I just returned from the third session of my Art Cloth Mastery Class in San Antonio feeling so refreshed and ready to go with a new set of goals. In this session, we learned more about color theory, printing, dyeing, composition, layering, and a myriad of other topics. Here is a silk cloth (which I had never worked on before) that I had printed with dyes. It's over a yard square in size.
printed silk cloth
It has a lovely hand to it. I love how the complementary colors overlaid with each other and gave beautiful browns and muted hues. My plan is to cut it up and piece it into a scarf and then to boro stitch it. That will take quite awhile and I have other more pressing homework assignments so it may be several months before you see it again.
     Here are three pieces I took to the class as semi-finished pieces.
Three in-progress works
The one on the left is 24x48 to give you an idea of scale. My plan is that these will represent Autumn and I'll create companion pieces for each one for the other seasons. As I go, I'll come up with a plan for stitching. That will give me 12 pieces for my body of work for this class. Two more sessions to go and the last session, a year from now is our showing of the works. I have a lot of work ahead of me.
     I just returned from class yesterday and am starting my homework today. To accomplish my many goals, I set up a series of notecards on the airplane with tasks written on each that I have to finish before the next session of class in September. I plan to go into the studio each day and tackle them one by one in order to finish. Some are very small tasks, like a daily 20-minute stitching on small collages and some are large like finding the right dye hue for creating backgrounds for the big pieces. It's all feeding the brain and soul to me and I love every minute. Some days, I'll look at the cards and choose what I'm in the mood to do and other days, I'll tackle what needs to be done in order to move forward. I think having those cards will be the key for me to keep it doable without feeling pressured and without feeling like I forgot something.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.