This morning when I came to the computer, I found a little questionnaire from someone on the Janome 6500 Challenges Yahoo group, about colors- what our favorites, etc. That really got me thinking some more, so I decided to jot down some more thoughts here. They may be a bit random, but what popped out.
Sometimes, I have thought of myself as somewhat of a "Color Junkie". Certain colors, or combinations of colors really fascinate me. I prefer more mottled and blended colors over flat solids. I love the depth that variations in shades, tints, and tones of colors give a piece of fabric. It doesn't even have to be fabric. I love the color of my cobalt blue wine bottles, perfume bottle and a casserole dish my mom gave me. The casserole dish is too pretty to use- great to stare at, though.
I began painting my own fabrics after searching for just the right shade of blue. Actually, I began by playing with dye, but you need more water than our well has, so paint became my preferred way to color fabric. Mickey Lawler had a lot to do with my fabric painting, after getting her book- Skye Dyes. There I found out about the amazing process of sunprinting, hiding on a few pages there. I have a fat quarter of one of her fabrics hanging on my office wall, to just stare at. So many little details in the way the colors of paint reacted with each other before drying.
As anyone who is familiar with my work can tell, I like mainly cool, soothing colors, and red is a color I rarely use.
Having a degree in horticulture, and playing with plants and flowers has possibly affected the colors I like, though I don't ever remember liking red, I've always been a pink person. There are many flowers that are said to be red in color, but are really more of a cherry, magenta, or cerise. I do like these shades of red, as they are on the pink or blue, cool side of red (more like pink), and not the warmer, orange side. My least favorite flower is the red geranium, used so much for Memorial day planters. Of all the thousands of geraniums I have grown over the years, I really only liked the "colored" ones, or anything that wasn't red. There are great varieties in shades of pink, lavender and fuchsia, and more. While doing my Journal quilts in 2002, I decided to pound a red geranium flower on my May quilt, and found that there is a little good in the red geranium- the color released was a purplish pink.
Typical English cottage gardens, with Delphiniums in all shades of blue, roses rambling in shades of pink, foxgloves, hollyhocks, irises, and daisies, and more, are my favorites. As with "My Dream House" there are lots of purples, and blues, with pinks, white and small touches of yellow. In my gardening as well as my quilting, I don't use much red. When beginning my front yard garden, a Daylily bloomed with reddish orange flowers, and it was promptly dug up and tossed into the woods, where it has multiplied happily, bringing a bit of color where would be none, but away from my pinks and purples. A bit of or orange is creeping in with the newer varieties of Echinaceas. The flowers of these are not totally orange, but have lavender or purplish undertones to the orange color. A couple others with great foliage colors and, or, textures are allowed with golden yellow to orange flowers.
Back to color in fabrics, I tend to get "sucked into" pieces that are combinations of many colors, allowed to bleed into each other, creating new colors. Many times looking closely at a flower or leaf, I find color combinations I have not tried myself, and immediately think- OOooh, I have to paint a piece of fabric like that. I guess that is why I tend to paint my fabric with more than one color or shade of a color. I love to see what happens when different colors are overlapped. My 3 basic paint colors are a deep blue, deep green, and a purplish deep rose pink. I began by painting most of my fabrics in just these 3 colors, I guess representing sky, grass, and flowers. I have been playing more with adding touches of yellow. I love the peachy tones between the rose and yellow, when they are overlapped. With sales in mind, I have also added some orange to my painting. I needed the brilliant fall colors, and really shocked one of my sons, when he came home to my tent with many pieces of orange fabric hanging from it.
To help add more texture to my fabrics, I have been using a lot of sea salt, and have played with my fabrics while drying to achieve more interest. The salt is so unpredictable, that it is always a wonderful surprise when it's work is done, leaving deeper and lighter areas of color, or pulling one color more than another.
I have found when it comes to color, my favorites will help to calm me, or make me feel happy, while my least favorites will cause an uneasiness. When I find something- fabric, flower, or something else in a pleasing color, I can get lost in the color. I think the reason I tend to use the colors I do is because I need the calming effect I get from them during these stressful times of life. I will do a few pieces using my less favorite colors, but am happiest with "my pretty colors". Yours may be different, all in the eyes of the beholder.