Wednesday, December 30, 2009

bagels and color - what a combination!

I meant to blog last night. I uploaded all these pictures and then must have gotten sidetracked and gone to bed early. Now I am dilly-dallying my morning away with this post, when I should be working on STUFF. These are whole wheat-everything bagels -- my favorites, available at the best bagel bakery on the planet, in the next town from me. Notice how dense and chewy they look (that's because they ARE). They are not over-inflated white cotton bread in round shapes, as you find in alleged bagel shops around the country. The "everything" consists of salt, sesame seeds, poppyseeds, garlic, and onions. To die for! Toasted, with cheddar cheese and tomatoes - my breakfast.
Now, back to what I was going to post last night. Because I am fresh out of ideas, I continue to do therapy sewing. This means cutting strips without rulers and putting them together sort of randomly till I have enough units to inspire me. Who knows when that will be? As I was playing with strips, I realized that my favorite part is working/playing with color. Lovely as these are, I took them down from the wall and decided to shift gears a little bit. Most of them have been sewn together, so I put them aside for later and moved on. I had sewn together a rather laid-back combination the other day and then decided they were too blah. What could I do to liven them up? I inserted this slice of really ugly fabric I had printed, which is on pg. 93 of my book. Amazingly, a skinny piece of it works just fine here!and then I thought it would be better with another contrasting strip. Yep.
What would happen if I did this instead?
A different direction, yet again.and on and on...
So now I know what happened last night. I got so busy playing with different combinations that I forgot everything else. COLOR!! Do you find it easy? Do you find it difficult? If you have issues with color, what are they? What gives you the most problems? Talk to me. I'm putting together a color workshop that I hope will be different from everybody else's and I'd love your input.


Eva said...

Dear Rayna, thank you for your comment and good wishes. All the best to you, too! -- Color. I'm so terribly uninspired at the moment, lacking a challenge... The combinations you made are a harmony. I can't really tell what I like best, I guess the one with the Hindi letters. The variations do not look too different because also those influence one another which are not positioned next to each other. The whole composition seems to be what counts.
I like to start my combies around a contrast that doesn't match at all and find solicitors/mediators for the two parties. It is finished when it looks deliberate.

Dianne Hricko said...

Ah color... for me it is the whole reason for working.

Regina Dwarkasing said...

Hi Rayna,

You want to hear about color? Well, I am a huge fan of color, and I find that working with whatever color is almost, always working fine. Not too much thinking, not too balanced, that is how it works for me! When working with colors I at once see if it works, if not, delete, if yes give it a go, no or hardly any thinking! But maybe this self-assurance about color is not so common, possibly. However, every now and then, I get enough of the abundance of colors and only want and long for neutrals, black and whites. So what it is about colors? I don't know, but this is 'mas or menos' how it works for me.

Regina, SXM

Mary Beth said...

LOL which one was the ugly piece??? My answer - none of them! give them all to me. kthxbai as they say.

Anonymous said...

Everyonce in a while, I break out of my usual mode which is analagous color schemes. Safe.
Often boring.

Sue Erdreich said...

It's all about color for me. It's my favorite part of the process.

Are those from Livingston Bagels?

Aussie Jo said...

Well, we have all read or attended workshops on complementary/analogous/contrasting/colourwheels etc etc but what really works is what you are doing, trying out colours and combinations to see if it is giving the effect you want. What mood/message are we representing?? Sometimes a piece needs to be bright and happy, sometimes monochromatic and sombre or peaceful.
P.S. Love your stripping!!!

Barbara said...

As in music, with color it's the clashes that seem most attractive to me sometimes. Those things just jump out and grab me.

As for bagels, I so wish I had a best bagel place on the planet within 50 miles of me because the bagels in my area in no way compare to those from NYC and surrounding.

Barbara said...

I don't mean the modern music clashes, but rather the clashes that come from notes close to one another. Beethoven was a master at planting them strategically. They add color to many of his works. said...

Hi Rayna, I find there is a lot about color I don't know. The more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn more. Right now, I'm working through a book on color. It's an art school MFA level course on color, and I'm learning huge amounts. It's what I needed. I'm working with paints, gouache, and doing all the exercises, sometimes more than is suggested, so that I learn the point of the exercise. I'm in the process of making a grid of colors, combinations also with tints, and shades, to serve as something of a recipe for color formulas. Since I layer sheers a great deal, and paint my fabric, this will be valuable for me. I don't know if others want to take the color study this seriously, but I guarantee you it will improve my eye, and probably my work.

tiedyejudy said...

I have learned a lot about color since I began dyeing in 1998. I have always loved bright, vibrant colors, but have also learned to appreciate the more subdued shades, working for light and dark in my dyeing, as well as combining colors without muddying them up too much. My biggest challenge is in trying to tone down my pallette... I am not a pastel person! Can't wait to hear more about your color workshop!

Marni Goldshlag said...

Hi Rayna,
I love color! And I love playing with color. I think I am best when I work intuitively and don't think about it too much. I took a 10 week (one night a week)color class years ago with Hollis Chatelain and, though I learned a bunch of stuff I didn't know, I don't really use it - at least not on the conscious level.

Judy said...

color is excitement and joy! I was awake during my second cataract surgery and the colors were so amazing...what a treat! It was almost like being inside a dye bath of turquoise and red violet and the colors kept moving around. I loved it. I live for color, and the brighter the better. In my former life, everything was cream colored and analagous, but in my rebirth I live boldly and it is exciting!

Happy New Year Dear Heart!


p.s. we have discovered a New York style bagel bakery about a half hour from here. The bagels are the best we've sampled since we left the northeast. So now I have another reason to live: color AND bagels! LOL

Denise Aumick said...

Color....I find when I paint I don't usually have problems with color or contrast but when I work with textiles it is much harder for me to combine colors and values. Why is that? Is it because textiles are hard edged while pastels can blend and merge together? On paintings I find when warm and cool colors are used it adds excitement. Doesn't work the same with textiles for me. When I paint I often throw unexpected colors in and it's successful...this same inspirational spark tends not to work as well with textiles.

Karoda said...

I struggle with colour...I understand value but actually combining colour I find jarring. Also, when looking at a lot of colour together I am overwhelmed. It grabs me but then I can't stay with it too long. What I would love to achieve is using colour combinations to communicate depth and sophistication with unusual combinations.

Ann Graham said...

I'm not sure why I struggle sometimes with color. I don't have a problem selecting colors for my clothes, or my home accessories. The emotional connections with color are, I think, ever present for most of us. I personally do not have a 'favorite' color but in the last eighteen months I have been working with yellows - all shades, tints, hues. I can't seem to get enough! Rayna, I want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for being so open, encouraging and inclusive - best to you in the New Year and to Marty and Jennifer and the rest of the family.

Judy said...

I love all colors although I don't use brown very often. I started as a painter many years ago so color choice is intuitive at this point. Right now my favorite combination is orange, lime green and purple.

wlstarn said...

I live for color. My favorite color is rainbow. I also have a thing for ombres, iridescence and dichroic glass. Variegated yarns and batiks tend to follow me home from the stores. You get the idea. I also love black and white prints, preferably a bunch combined in the same piece.

Those bagels look awesome. Obviously not available in rural Louisiana unless I bake them myself. They're sort of the breakfast equivalent of a rainbow, with a little lofat cream cheese on the side!

badmomgoodmom said...

I love to play with color. One of the reasons I play w/ colored fabrics instead of paints is that I don't have to wait for the paint to dry before I add the next layer/color.

I thank Joen Wolfrom's The Magical Effects of Color
for my color theory understanding.

But, there is nothing my like playing with color for discovering what works and what doesn't. That is, things that are 'off' in some way, draw my eye and make my visual perusal slow down. You learn how to make things 'off', but still achieve a coherent design, only through trial and error.

Sewing with my daughter has taught me some things, too. Her selections would not have been mine. But, sometimes, they are better than my original choice.

Meera said...

Hi Rayna,
I love this sewing therapy of yours:) i am sure it is very interesting, i am sure i will get lost in so many possibilities..Color: At present i am doing up my new apartment, that was when i realized that I have a nice sense of color but to take a decision that this is my final color for my house is so frustrating.
i chose the color turquoise in mid tones for my kitchen i thought when it was completed that it would actually calm me and when i walk in to the kitchen it does do exactly that.All i can think of is sea breeze and waves..But my friend said that my notion of subtle color scheme was little too deep. I love to work with water colors and silk paints and the tones i can come up with are interesting.It is good to take away colors you are comfortable with and work with remaining colors..I think mono print also gives me a great space to explore.
I don't believe in trends and forecasts..but i like the way people think that people prefer certain colors.. story-boards help em a lot to break out of monotony..
Happy new year.I enjoy your blog.. I need to revive mine :(

Approachable Art said...

I read this post yesterday and have been rolling it around in my head ever since. I haven't read your newest update so maybe you resolved your color musings and if so, then just count me late to the party and hand me a martini. :D

Color was really tough for me when I started out. I was self-taught, no art school, etc, so mixing color was extremely challenging for me. I finally figured out how to do it effectively, but on my own, it took YEARS.

To this day, however, I still struggle with value. I find it difficult to add layers of pattern and color to my fabrics without making the piece darker and darker as I go. I wind up with beautifully painted fabircs- all in the same dark value. I would love to see more about avoiding that in a class.

I'll be interested to see whatever direction you choose to take.

Happy new year, lady! :D

Russ Little said...

I'm amazed by how other people think about color. Some rush toward an opportunity to play with color and others run in fear. I tend to like strong, warm colors and use cool colors for contrast and definition. Value is where I sometimes need to step back and reflect when I'm having problems with a design. I think that an important developmental step for all artists is learning to approach color in the same way you would approach a musical instrument. Yes, some folks have a natural gift, but all can achieve some level of proficiency with practice.

Now, as far as a workshop is concerned, here are some thoughts.

* I think that developing a "proper" vocabulary for discussing color (i.e., hue, saturation, value, etc.) is very important and should be a component of all color workshops.

* If you dye cloth, then learning to create predictable, repeatable color is very helpful. Carol S. has that thoroughly covered and one need only touch on the concepts then point in her general direction.

* What's been "missing" from workshops that I've taken (which I've gotten in sidebar conversations and critiques with teachers) is a thorough discussion of color problem solving. I would love to take a class where participants start a design around some concept then improve it throughout the day based on peer and instructor critiques. It seems too often that we create something (i.e., complete an exercise), receive critique (or not!) then move on to the next thing, without ever attempting to fix issues in the piece. The Nancy C. classes I've observed use this critique approach, but they are intensive and focused on specific design parameters (e.g., strip piecing). Jane D. incorporates critique into her Complex Cloth workshop. Her design feedback is outstanding, but the primary focus of the workshop is on learning technique. What if you did a workshop that presented 3-5 design challenges, one per day, geared to develop color/design skills? For example, high-contrast design, low contrast design, color interaction, pattern/color interaction, illusion (depth, shadow, vibration).

Hmm. This is starting to sound like fun--hard work and fun. Maybe I should...oh who am I kidding? You teach the class. When would I find time.


Terry said...

Who doesn't love color?? I am always a bit amused by people who say, "Oh, I love color" as if that is unusual. I also find that when they say that it often means they like the brightest, most saturated forms of all the colors. I love the subtle, complex colors and how they work together. I think less saturated color is an area of color a lot of people have a hard time with and feel uncomfortable with. And that process of rearranging your colored pieces until they speak to each other is such an instructive process!

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