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Color Fun

by Haylie Waring

Color Theory at the Library & Subway Ride Home

As noted before, I am a huge fan of color! I love to work with it and I love to play with it. If I had a choice, my job would be to sit and play with swatches of color, and to mix paints and dyes until the cows came home. Ever since I was young I have been fascinated by the endless number of possible colors and color combinations. Only then I was pairing Crayola crayons instead of fabric swatches and paints. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized that I what I had been doing for so many years had more meaning to it. I took a Color Theory class and it was here that I learned about the visual impacts of colors and their combinations. It was so exciting to learn the science behind color, and I encourage everyone to do a little research on the subject, it will change the way you see the world around you. Recently I visited the art collection of the Mid Manhattan Library to check out their books on color, and while I was there, not only did I find books, but also I found tons of inspiration in the libraries mid-century style interior. The library is a great place to start with any project. You could have a serious hay day in there looking for any sort of design tips or musings.

Murex & Roussillon

Another of my favorite subjects is the history of color. A few years ago I studied abroad in Southern France and there we learned about the origins of a purple pigment derived from the murex snail species. This ancient technique requires squishing and killing the snail, because the pigment comes from yellow mucus excreted by a gland inside of the snail. The excretion turns purple when it oxidizes with the air. It is really a beautiful process, though I must admit I didn’t enjoy the squishing of the little creatures, and it smells rather fishy too. In Roussillon, France, a Provencal village, the pigment for ochre was once derived from the soil there. The village had been excavating ochre from ochre quarries in Roussillon for paint pigment for centuries, yet in time the demand for the pigment has greatly declined and the quarries no longer function. These are things that I just never took into consideration and that I excite me to no end. I find things like this so inspiring as an artist. It makes me think more about using nature’s resources. I love the thought of owning only naturally dyed garments and using strictly natural pigments in my work.
I recently picked up this great new read on the subject, titled Color, A Natural History of the Palette, by Victoria Finlay. If you are a complete color nerd, like myself, you should definitely buy this book. It is basically a mini tour of the world and of the colors mother earth has to offer us.

Public Library & Reba

In my first post I talked about hunting for color and texture inspirations in my daily life, but I also find inspiration in old things, children’s books and even my favorite paintings. I recently did a post on my own blog about two of my favorite artists and how much their works resemble each other. The artists are French impressionist, Edouard Vuillard and the master children’s book illustrator, Ezra Jack Keats. Both artists fill their paintings with vibrant color and beautiful textures. Again, I am often inspired by their uses of each element in my home, wardrobe and in my personal artwork.

Keats & Vuillard

vintage book and a favorite children’s book, On My Way to Buy Eggs by Chih-Yuan Chen, both have amazing color content

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