As you know, I like to collect beautiful images - not only as inspiration for new projects, but also to help me with choosing and using colour. If I find a picture I like I often ask myself why. What is it about the image that pulls me in? Sometimes it is just the subject matter. Who could resist Petr Kratochvil's picture of this cute-as-can-be piglet? (I have a very soft spot for pigs)
I found this image on the Wikimedia commons website; remember it is the website where anyone can find millions of freely shared images (and are more often than not copyright free - but do check).
Other times it may be an image that captures a beautiful pattern or texture.
The photo above right is one I took of the beautiful forged ironwork on the central doors of the main entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
But the most useful images I find and use are images that appeal to me because of the combination of colours they contain. If I like an image because of its colour (amongst other things), it is really useful to isolate some of those colours with a view to creating a colour palette I will also like.
Take a look at one of the photos from the collection I made last week: The Bo Kaap district in CapeTown is a riot of colourful buildings. Just by looking carefully at this photo I was able to pull out lots of colours that look beautiful together. It isn't difficult to do and can be done in a number of ways. Here are a few I like to use:
Using water colours
Stick the image you have chosen onto a white page. This one is a page from my colour resource sketchbook. I then use my water colour paints ( but you could use any paint) to try to match colours from the image as closely as I can. When I think I have the exact shade / tint or tone/ I paint a small blob on the edge of the picture. I also try to remember to record how I made the colour for future reference.
This has 3 benefits:
Here is another photo I used along with my water colours. I really this activity, and have a nice collection of potential palettes that would make beautiful quilts.
Using computer software to select colours
Another really easy way to identify some beautiful colour combinations is to open a picture in image software. I opened my photograph of a gorgeous little puffin using Microsoft Paint. It is such a simple piece of software - but is perfect for this job. All I do is make some empty boxes to the side of the picture, then use that little colour selector pipette tool I spoke about a few weeks ago to suck up colour from various points on the picture. I then use that colour to fill in one of the boxes with the bucket fill tool. And this is what I ended up with - a vibrant colour selection that would make a knockout quilt!
Using scissors and glue
The simplest way of all is simply to cut out little pieces from the image you have chosen (although this spoils your lovely image - but it may be a price worth paying). Although this method is super quick it doesn't actually get you to think all that much about the colours you have identified. It is probably better used as a good starting point - use the small pieces you cut out to work on later to match with paint or fabric or any other means you like. Just remember - the more you think about colour, the better you will understand it.
Thanks for reading!
This week, after a long break, I am hoping to get down to creating something with fabric again - it has been too long since I did that! I have been busy with lots of things for the last few months - so I am hoping I have not forgotten what to do!
I will post some pictures of what I get up to - I have found an interesting new product - so will let you know if it works out! If it does, I might bring some back to the UK with me!!
see my quilts in these magazines
Festival Of Quilts
Sew On The Go