Category Archives: Color Lessons

Color Lessons

My Slideshow’s Gone Viral

Guess what? I’m a Rock Star!! Or so says the team over at Slideshare.net. They notified me my slideshow on How to Make a Quilter’s Color Wheel has gone viral, with over 400,000 views.
Here’s the link to the slideshow and the free color wheel chart you can download to do your own. If you enjoyed the slideshow, check out the video tutorials I’ve done on YouTube: short, fun, easy tips on how to get better color in your quilts. I post a new one each month, so subscribe and get them delivered to your mailbox. I’ve got a variety of ways you can stay in touch. You can subscribe to my blog, to my email newsletter, and to my YouTube channel.

My middle-school-aged son will never believe it: Mom’s a Rock Star!

February Newsletter Hot Off the Press

February’s Quilts & Creativity newsletter went out this week, and I can’t wait for you to see it. It includes last-minute details on my book launch this Friday, an opportunity to win a color consultation with me, the scoop on fresh, innovative spring color palettes, a sneak peek at a new product I’ll be announcing at the end of this month, an opportunity for me to visit your bee group in March, and a fabulous burger recipe.

I’ve really changed the way I develop and offer lessons on this blog. I save the detailed lessons for my newsletter, as it’s easier to give a deep treatment to subjects in a format that spans several pages. I chat about personal stuff, announcements, ideas, and anything else that comes to mind on the blog. But if you want the lessons, sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the Newsletter tab at the top of the blog.

You can see back issues of the Quilts & Creativity newsletter here.

Color and Inaugural Fashions

Did you notice the colors our presidential families wore to the inauguration?  Among a sea of black wool coats, both men and women accessorized in bright, vivid colors.  And the most popular?

Yellow.  And that wasn’t an accident.  Michelle Obama’s yellow dress and jacket were the most highly-contrasting color she could choose to be visible next to her husband, dressed in a black coat.

Style blog Limelight declared yellow 2009’s signature color in their post, “Yellow is the New Black,” praising First Lady Obama’s choice of a yellow dress.

Bill Clinton wore a yellow scarf against his black coat.  Both George Bush. Sr. and Barbara Bush took yellow one step further and wore yellow turtlenecks with violet scarves.  Again, yellow and violet are complements that have high contrast, so their outfits guaranteed they would stand out in a crowd.

And if our government officials weren’t wearing yellow, they sported either bright blue or red scarves or ties.

You can see all these colors in action in NPR’s slideshow of the inauguration here.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Color . . . .

Ok, well maybe not everything.  After all, it’s only an hour.  But what an hour it will be.  I’ll be chatting with Morna McEver Golletz in the Professional Quilter Cafe, and of course the topic will be my favorite:  color in quilts.  What an artist date!

What I’m most excited about is having a one-on-one where we can really dig deep into the subject.  Color is so intimidating for most quilters that this is a jewel of an opportunity to really “get” color in a way they never have before.

And since this is a Professional Quilter teleclass, we’ll be talking about color not just for quilters, but also for instructors who teach color classes, pattern designers and how they can use color more effectively in their samples, and for shop owners and how they can really help their customers in choosing colors for their quilts.

Hope you can join us.  It’s only $9.95 and that’s for both the teleclass and downloadable MP3.  You can’t even buy a dinner out for that.  So stay home on Thursday, Jan. 15 and join us at 8p.m. Eastern.  Here’s the link.  See you there!

Holiday Goodies in My November Newsletter

The November issue is out, and I included some incredible articles:

  • how to keep a color journal
  • how to orchestrate the colors in a “blended-type” quilt
  • a fabulous source for free machine quilting patterns
  • my favorite cranberry sauce recipe
  • details on my Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway

You are on the email list, right?  Well, if not, you can sign up here.  Really.  Great stuff this month.  Hope you don’t miss it.

Quilt Project Runway: Katie Pasquini Masopust

Katie Pasquini Masopust has a new book on creative quilt design called Design Explorations for the Creative Quilter: Easy-to-Follow Lessons for Dynamic Art Quilts. All about taking inspiration from photos and artwork and using them as a source for your quilts. Katie professes not be good at drawing realistically, so she takes her photographs and sketches and turns them into abstract art.  How’s that for turning a challenge into an opportunity?

Also learned that Katie machine quilts her quilts in sections, Marti Michell-style: Machine Quilting in Sections. Her art quilts aren’t that large by most quilting standards, but she says it makes quilting much easier.

I have Katie’s previous book, Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter: Improve Any Quilt with Easy-to-Follow Lessons and enjoyed the quilts and the lessons in the book.  Even though I didn’t want to make her quilts, I did learn from the exercises.  That’s what I believe the best quilting books do:  teach you how to improve the quilts you want to make, not how to make someone else’s quilt.   While the Fall Quilt Market 2008 Schoolhouse session I attended was short, Katie showed impressive innovation, humor and accessibility.  She doesn’t get so serious about her art quilts that she forgets to have fun with them and her students.

Chatting about Color with Fabric Designer Elizabeth House

Today we have a special guest here at Quilts & Creativity:  Elizabeth House, student and designer of the newly-released LizzyDish from Andover fabrics.  I’ve always wondered how a fabric starts from an idea to actually making it onto the printing press, and Elizabeth shares her thoughts on design, color, and how she envisions using LizzyDish in projects.  Enjoy!

Q:  Please tell us a little about you:  how did you get started in quilting and fabric design?

A: My name is Elizabeth House, and I am from Humble, Texas. I’m graduating in December with a BFA in Printmaking. I am also a book artist, and textile designer. I have a real love for Vince Guaraldi, beautiful design, cleverness, and sleeping.

I got my start in the quilting world from my mother (editor’s note:  Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts). She has quilted for as long as I can remember, and for as long as I can remember I wanted to design the fabric she was using. I was very young when I decided that I wanted to design fabric, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually started quilting myself. I think almost a year to date! But I got my actual start in fabric design last year (2007) at Fall Market. You can read all about it here!

Q:  What was your inspiration for LizzyDish?

A: I have such a fascination with images from the 1950’s and 60’s. I feel like if there was a time in this past century that I could have been alive, like 20-30’s it would be those decades. A kid in the late 30’s and working in the 50’s.  Ok. I will put it like this: I would either like to have been a Vaudevillian, Fanny Bryce, OR, a 1950’s concept artist, Mary Blair. So, just add those things plus a love for entertaining, baking, cooking, all together party throwing and you have LizzyDish.

I wanted it to feel like you found it. You were handed down something or you went thrifting or garage sailing and there was a dish towel, a box of old recipe cards, a cook book, or a set of mixing bowls that reminded you of what was, how your mom, or your grandmother cared for things. I saw those things in my grandmother’s house. An exquisite attention to detail that we, for the most part, pay very little to no attention to. The mothers of the fifties were renaissance women. They wore aprons, everything matched, meals were timed. There is definitely a resurgence of this, the timing, the aprons, the details, but it was more of a calling then and I wanted LizzyDish to feel a part of that era. I want to be a modern renaissance woman of that same caliber.

Q:  You’ve written in your blog that you keep about 3-5 journals going at the same time.  Is one for color?  How do your journals influence/inspire your work?

A: It’s gotten a little out of control, the notebook thing. I keep one for a specific project that I am working on, which has grown into large sheets of folded paper that I keep meaning to bind, but have really been liking the ability to just lay them all out and look at them together… one is for notes… but I seem to be getting lazy, because they are all starting to blend together which requires me to carry all of them at all times. They greatly influence my work, I would never throw away any of my journals or sketch books. They are like lessons and I am grateful to be able to turn to them to gain inspiration, as well as avoid previous pitfalls.

Q:  You were inspired by Fiestaware, retro kitchen appliances,  and the state of Hawaii for your colors.  Can you elaborate on how you selected those colors?  Do you choose colors intuitively or use color theory to guide you?  How does your color chart guide you?

A:  I feel like the more familiar you are with color the more intuitively it comes. I don’t go about things looking for a triadic color scheme or to be monochromatic. It usually occurs to me later that I have created split compliments or analogous color ways with no actual intention. I would say color is probably one of the most important things to understand. For this group, because the inspiration for the images was so strong I wanted to play with colors of the same era.

For the color way Kitchennaire I wanted it to be kind of girly. I took inspiration from popular Fiesta Ware of the 50’s as well as the idea of a Barbie Homemaker. I like the image of that. Appliance is the retro appliance, the avocado green, and the ochre yellow, as well as a touch of the Rock and Roll-Space Age. Sunny Side Up! is based on the new state-hood of Hawaii as well as the Beach Party Movie craze. Elvis Presley, Gidget, Franky and Annette. There is a definite reason to each color. It took a while to get correct, but it was worth it. I feel it is a very sincere fabric collection

The color chart is a guide, after I choose colors in the beginning I place them all in the chart, and I take away and add from there. It’s just a key to the whole thing, like a color map.

Q:  Have you made any projects yet with the LizzyDish fabric?  How do you envision it being used?  What fabrics would you recommend to use with it?

A:  I have designed several projects, but I currently don’t have the fabric in my hot little hands. As soon as I do, all my sketches will come to fruition. As far as how I see it being used, I see it as much more than novelty prints. It would work in anything from quilts, to aprons, all the way to children’s wear. There are no limits to what LizzyDish can, and should be used for. I would use it with solids. But I am very excited to see what people create. If I had a house, I would upholster a breakfast area in it. I’ll be saving some yards for when that day comes.

Thanks Elizabeth for stopping by today and chatting with me about designing fabric.  It’s great insight to peak into the mind of a designer and see how a fabric goes from idea to the quilt shop!

The Aha Moment for Fiber Artists

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

My favorite insights as an instructor are when I see the actual moments my students really get it:  that singular moment when they realize they’ll never see color, fiber art, or quilting quite the same way.

We had lots of those moments in my Color for Fiber Artists workshop at the Sharptop Arts Center in Jasper.  This was a two-day class, and the first day is learning the vocabulary of color.  It can be a bit befuddling, as there are lots of terms to understand.  But the second day is when the light bulbs go off and I hear things like:

“I realized I was making the same quilts over and over again, using the same colors.”

“I’m so glad I took this class.  I never would have imagined putting those colors together.”

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

We created one of these fiber art pieces for each color harmony, starting with the same main color.  When you finish, you have a sampling of what’s possible around the color wheel using the same color as the starting point.  It was an exercise that really opened the eyes of the fantastic ladies taking the class.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

These are my birds, and I started with the same red-violet fabric each time.  Because it’s a tertiary color, it’s difficult for most people to identify, and it’s complement is yellow-green, also a challenging color because it’s so bright.  I pulled off the contrast well, but they are all too cool.  Too much green, and not enough reds and oranges for me.  The challenge is to use fabrics in your stash, and I brought my scraps with me and let students use those as well as their own.  I will probably tweak these later.

I took these photos on my camera phone and uploaded them via Flickr, all from my cell phone.  Technology makes my life and my work so much more fun!

Making a Quilter’s Color Wheel Tutorial

I’m so excited! I’ve created a tutorial on Making a Quilter’s Color Wheel, and you can click on the slidecast here to view it. This took me a couple days to do: an afternoon to shoot the photos and another day to make the slideshow, record the audio, upload and troubleshoot.

Want to receive your free color wheel chart instantly? Click here!

Check out my video tutorials on my YouTube Channel here.  I add a new video each month!

Color Lesson 10: Understanding the Role of Intensity in Your Quilt

Intensity Color Journal #1

Intensity is probably the least understood of the three elements of color (hue, value, and intensity). Intensity refers to how bright a color is: does it shock you into needing sunglasses? That’s an intense fabric. Does the fabric fade into the background so much you don’t even notice it? That’s a dull fabric. (Dull here doesn’t mean boring or unattractive, simply less intense.

Guess which color is the most intense? It’s the color almost all quilters dread using: yellow. A beautiful, yet misunderstood hue. She is often left alone on the store shelves or in your stash because quilter’s fear it will overwhelm all their other gorgeous fabrics.

Brown is the opposite, an inherently dull color that almost everyone feels comfortable using. The most intense color combination is yellow and black (think of traffic signs like merge, or the yellow stripes on black pavement. Road crews use those colors because they are intense and get your attention.)

Intensity Color Journal #2

The first step to using intense colors is buying a range of intensities. Quilt shops actually carry fewer bolts of yellow than any other color (with purple not far behind) so it’s not easy to find brights, mediums, and dulls in certain colors. But persist, because the ability to use a duller version of an intense color can be the secret to a successful color combination.

The second step is to use less of an intense color. That is what most quilters intuitively do: if they use yellow, they use a small amount. If it’s an intense version of yellow, that’s the smart move. Otherwise, remember you can select a duller version and include more.

The third step is to strategically place the intense colors around the quilt. If you mass the intense colors in one location, they draw your eye there, demanding “Look at me!” and the rest of your quilt gets ignored. The better way to handle intense colors is to use them to your advantage: put a piece at the top left, center, and bottom right, guiding the viewer’s eye throughout your quilt.

Now you get to play in your color journal.

  1. Cut swatches from one color family: select the color in which you have the biggest stash, so you have lots to choose from.
  2. Separate the swatches into three piles: intense, medium, and dull.
  3. Within each pile, sort the swatches from the most intense to the most dull.
  4. Paste your swatches down into your color journal.

Extra credit: try some classic color combinations using different intensities: red/green complements, blue/yellow analogous, and blue/white are just a few suggestions. See how intensity affects the color combinations and which you like best. Why?

Color Lesson 9: Using Value to Define the Design in Your Quilt

Value Scale

Value is the lightness or darkness of a hue. Value is essential to create enough contrast to recognize the design in your block and quilt. Without value contrast, your quilt blocks simply blend into one another without any recognizable design.
Value is not a color or a hue. It is how light or dark that hue is. And what is that thing in the photo above? That is my value scale for painting. It starts from white and goes all the way to black, with the intermediate values in between. The holes in the center of each value allow me to put the value scale in front of the subject I’m painting and identify its value. I’ve made a similar value scale exclusively for quilters, and its available in my class Color Wheel Recipes. It’s a tool you won’t see anywhere else, and you can learn how to make one for yourself by taking the class at Sew Memorable.

Aiden’s Quilt

The quilt above is really all about value, not hue. I selected the center panel first, and I wanted it to be the star, not the rest of the quilt. I didn’t want the other fabrics or designs to overwhelm the center. So, I used only light to medium values. I originally selected a chocolate brown fabric with white pin dots for the border, but it was way too dark and it completely overwhelmed the center panel. It wasn’t about the brown; instead, the value of the brown was too dark. So I selected the stripe instead, as it contained light to medium values, with a touch of the dark brown. I could have selected a fabric in any hue as long as the value wasn’t too dark.

Next up: Intensity

Color Lesson 8: Creating a Complementary Color Scheme

Complementary Color Wheel

Complementary colors are those across from, or opposite each other on the color wheel. When you place complementary colors next to each other in a quilt, they have high contrast, meaning they stand out from one another. The classic complementary color scheme is red and green. Most of us gravitate toward that color scheme naturally during the
month of December, without ever realizing that combining those two colors follows the principles of the color wheel. Here is my Christmas quilt from 2005 that I have hanging over my staircase bannister:


The quilt below is my “Ode to Joy,” a celebration of poppies in the spring. I used the red/green complementary colors, and notice how vibrant the quilt is and how well the poppy stands out from the background (grasses in the field).


So how does this apply to making your quilt? Complementary colors make a high-energy quilt. They also provide instant contrast, a necessary element if you are using a block that needs to stand out from the background. Examples include star blocks, Irish Chain, Bow Tie, or anything else with an obvious representational design in the block. Imagine using fabrics that blended together if you were creating a Lone Star quilt. What a waste it would be to do all that that cutting on the bias and precise piecing, only to have the star fade into the background.

What about other color combinations? Blue and orange are also complements. Before you say “yuck,” envision a field of pumpkins against a blue sky, or squash soup in a blue ceramic bowl. Also yellow and violet are complements, but you see them used together less often. Winter pansies offer up that color combination straight from nature.

Work a couple of these complementary color schemes in your color journal by doing this:

  1. Select a favorite color from the color wheel.
  2. Go directly opposite that color on the wheel to locate it’s complement.
  3. Go to your stash and cut fabric swatches for both colors. You can even pick several swatches for each color to really add variety.
  4. Paste them down in your color journal and title the page “Complementary Color Scheme.”

Extra Credit: See if you find one piece of fabric in your stash that contains both of your complementary colors. Kaffe Fassett creates stunning fabrics by including several shades of one color with a bit of its complement thrown in.

If you are enjoying these lessons, check out my class Color Wheel Recipes. I teach this class at Sew Memorable in Dawsonville, GA and I’m available to teach to groups. I’d love to visit you and your guild.

Color Lesson 7: Creating an Analogous Color Scheme in Your Quilt

Analogous Color Wheel

Analogous colors are those next to each other on the color wheel. They are similar in color and have very little contrast, meaning they blend well together. Contrast means that one color stands out from the next. One way to remember analogous colors is that they are neighbors on the color wheel and they get along famously (don’t we all love our neighbors?)

So how does this apply to making a quilt? Analogous colors always go well together. If you want to make a red quilt, look to those colors next to it and add some of those: red-orange, orange, and red-violet. Those colors together make a knockout color combination. But how can you be sure?

Your color journal! This is where you are going to create an analogous color scheme of your choice to see if it works before you commit to a quilt. Who wants to spend a month or two on a quilt only to find out at the end those color don’t really work together?

?
Analogous Color Scheme in My Color Journal

So here’s what you need to do to create an analogous color scheme in your color journal:

  1. Select a color you want to use on the color wheel.
  2. Select those colors next to it, or the analogous colors. You can go to the right, left, or both of your original color.
  3. Go to your stash and cut fabric swatches for each one of the colors in your analogous color scheme. You can even pick several swatches for each color to really add variety to the color scheme.
  4. Paste them down in your color journal and title the page “Analogous Color Scheme.”

Extra Credit: See if you find one piece of fabric in your stash that contains analogous colors. This shouldn’t be difficult, as many quilter’s fabrics contain analogous colors.

Color Lesson 6: Identifying Color Relationships in Your Quilt

Did you make your color wheel? How did you find the experience? Did you have all those colors in your stash? Most quilters have them, they just haven’t thought of the colors in terms of red-violet, they call it magenta. Or blue-green is turquoise.

Have you ever wondered why a color wheel is necessary in the first place? Early painting teachers (we’re talking renaissance here) needed a way to teach students about the similarity and contrast among colors, and the easiest way to do that was to put the colors in a circle. Colors next to each other were similar (analogous) and those opposite each other contrasted (complementary). So that’s why we use a wheel and use those same terms today. Even though we aren’t painters, we are creating color relationships with fabrics in our quilts, and we can benefit from the same lessons as painters.

Only quilters don’t have to mix paints to get pink: we can just swing by our favorite quilt shop and pick up our favorite pink fabric, along with some thread, a book, and a pattern to boot.

In the next lesson we’re going to tackle those color relationships and create some samples in our journals.

Color Lesson 5: Creating a Quilter’s Color Wheel

I was afraid of losing my own color style if I learned the color wheel, so for years I resisted. Finally, I gave in, feeling like I didn’t know the “secret handshake” of all those art quilters who kept going on about the color wheel.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t learn it as a quilter, I learned how to use the color wheel when I began taking watercolor painting courses. I had to mix my own colors and it was imperative that I know the colors on the wheel, how they interacted, what made a color dull, what made it intense, and why some colors went together well and others didn’t.

So I took that knowledge I gained in watercolor and applied it to my quilts. And I never did lose my own color style, I simply made the colors I liked work better together. I was no longer afraid of using ANY color in a quilt, because now that I knew the color wheel, I could coordinate any color with any other color. They all go together if you know how to do it.

And you get to learn how. But again, baby steps.

  1. Download the color wheel I’ve created for you here. Print it out onto card stock or trace it onto posterboard so that it will last. Click here to download.
  2. The wheel has twelve numbered spaces, just like that of a clock. You are going to cut fabric swatches and glue stick them down onto the wheel. The fabric colors and their placement are as follows:
  • Yellow-Orange – 1
  • Orange – 2
  • Red-Orange – 3
  • Red – 4
  • Red-Violet – 5
  • Violet – 6
  • Blue-Violet – 7
  • Blue – 8
  • Blue-Green – 9
  • Green – 10
  • Yellow-Green – 11
  • Yellow – 12

Don’t fret over perfectly-sized squares or a perfect-looking wheel. The point here is to get the colors down and evaluate what you have in your stash.

Color Lesson 4: Creating a Color Palette with Fabrics You Don’t Like

Caterpillar Color Journal

This is a color exercise that will really flex your creative muscles. After all, we all like working with fabrics we enjoy, but what about using fabrics you can’t stand?

Why am I having you do this?

Because at some point, you are going to be asked to make a quilt with colors you don’t like. It may be for a gift, for a fundraiser, for a friendship quilt, or one of a thousand other reasons. But who wants to work on a project, especially as long as a quilt takes, using colors you don’t like?

And you are going to learn much more from using colors you aren’t comfortable with than with colors you love. So, here goes:

  1. Select a photo or a magazine page with colors that just make your skin crawl. I mean you really can’t stand the colors. Then insert it in your journal. For my color journal, I took a photograph of a Black Swallowtail caterpillar in my front yard. I couldn’t believe its color combinations: light and dark green, yellow, and black. Yuk!
  2. Select one swatch of fabric for each hue in the photo. Glue these swatches down in your color journal and call them Palette #1.
  3. Now make some changes to the palette. Try using lighter or darker values, swapping some hues for others, or adding some other hues to the palette.
  4. Number each subsequent palette.

Palette #2 contains the first change I made to my palette. I removed the black and substituted dark blue. Black can appear flat and lifeless, so I wanted to create a similar dark feel with another dark hue. I think the blue worked well.

I still didn’t like the overall palette, so I added some other hues and values to Palette #3. I added some medium values greens to transition between the light and dark greens, and I warmed up the overall palette by adding violet and red. I really like the palette now and it is one I could work with in a quilt.

I also selected a single fabric that contained the original hues in the palette and pasted it above the photo.

This took some trial and error. I auditioned several fabrics before I came up with a combination I liked. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a while to do this. Keep trying and feel free to upload your palette when you’re done. If you leave a comment on this blog you can add a photograph to it easily. We would love to see your results!

Next week we are going to start on the color wheel, and it won’t be like any other discussion on the color wheel you’ve ever heard of or done. You’ll actually understand it and will be excited about using it!

Color Lesson 3: Create a Color Palette with Fabric

yellow/violet color journal page

Now that you are training your eye to see color more observantly and have started keeping a color journal, you’re ready to start creating color palettes with your fabric.

  1. Select one of the magazine photos with colors you absolutely love and can’t wait to work with.
  2. Identify the major colors in that photo.
  3. Go to your stash, and select the fabrics that most closely match those in the photo. You’ll need to audition several fabrics before you get a close color match, so don’t be discouraged if this takes a while.
  4. Cut fabric swatches for each color in the photo and glue them down to a page in your journal. How do those colors look together? Do they look as stunning as in the photo? If not, ask yourself why? Are your colors lighter, darker, less intense? Try again to match closely the colors in the photo.

Extra Credit: Try variations on single swatches of fabric for each color in your palette. Look for a fabric in your stash that has all the colors from that photo. Or create a more complex and rich color palette by selecting multiple fabrics for each color in the photo, with a wider range of values, from light to dark.

You’ve just experimented with color without committing to a quilt yet! Who wants to spend all that time cutting, piecing and quilting to find out afterwards you really didn’t like those colors after all? Life is way too short!

Now you can decide if you enjoy these colors enough to use them in an entire quilt, if you want to tweak the colors a bit more in your journal, or if it’s time to move on to another color palette.

Color Lesson 2: Keeping a Color Journal

Sunflower farm journal page

Most people have their own intuitive color style, but simply aren’t comfortable or confident using their own preferences in a quilt. Starting today, you are going to look at color differently, more observantly. By recording your likes, dislikes, and color observations, you are coming one step closer to recognizing your own personal color “style” or palette.

Next time you’re admiring a beautiful painting/quilt/photograph/rug (or whatever piece you’re admiring), stop and notice the colors. Really take a moment to ask yourself why you like that floral arrangement. Take a photograph of the flowers in your garden, your favorite coffee mug, or whatever offers up a striking color palette in your eyes, and paste that photo in your journal.

Floral Page from Color Journal

Go through your magazines and cut out the pages that have color combinations you love. Add photographs of your favorite quilts. Look at nature and observe the color combinations. Have you ever noticed that in nature green is a neutral? It goes with everything from orange daylillies to red berries, to blue larkspur to the yellow of lemons. After visiting botanical gardens, hiking on wilderness trails and taking photos on those excursions, I added those photos to my color journal and was amazed at the endless variations of green and combinations with other colors. As you become more observant, you’ll notice that each season has its own color palette, and you can capture nature’s glorious colors in your journal!

This week, be a color detective. Notice colors and color combinations, and start filling up that journal. Don’t feel like it has to be a work of art. It’s a place for you to experiment with color without committing to a quilt yet. Have fun and get busy with that glue stick!

Color Lesson 1: Assembling Your Color Kit

color kit

The best way to approach anything new is by taking small steps. So for your first lesson, you are going to outfit yourself with a Color Kit. That’s it. Don’t worry about what you’re going to do with it. Just gather the supplies. And you thought this was going to be tough, didn’t you? Don’t forget I want your comments to make these lessons great.

Your Color Kit needs:

Blank, large journal (from Wal-Mart or Michael’s)
Colored pencils
Tape
Glue or Glue Stick
Magazines
Camera (digital or Polaroid)

This isn’t meant to be expensive. If there’s an item you don’t have on the list, just pick it up when you can. Don’t stress out about not having everything.