Saturday, 1 May 2021

The Endeavourers #14, Colour Theory: The Spirit of Summer

The theme for this quarter's piece was Colour Theory, and what a massive and complicated subject that is! 

Essentially it's about describing and explaining relationships between colours and why we find some satisfying.  As quilt makers most of us have probably come across the 'Colour Wheel' at some point - we often use it as reference when considering which colours might go well together. The particular wheel we are familiar with - the subtractive colour wheel, which is based on mixing pigments, and uses the primary colours red, yellow and blue - only represents one way of describing the relationships between different colours.  There are other models which depend, for example, on whether you are considering the properties of light - the additive colour wheel - or the physiology of the human eye.   

As I was feeling my way round the enormity of the subject, and at a bit at a loss, I thought about making an abstract quilt using two colours with a particular relationship.  However I couldn't get away from a picture in my head of pink blossom against sunny blue skies and I really wanted to make that quilt.  

The Spirit of Summer


For me, this is a really exciting combination of colours.  If you look at my header you will see another quilt in my header which uses it.  



Using the quilters' subtractive colour wheel, red, of which pink is a tint, and this green-blue are split complementary colours (Interesting that unlike most tints, pink is significant enough to have its own name, instead of being 'pale red'.)  Green is red's complement, the colour with the highest contrast - and blue-green is an analogous colour to blue, which makes it part of a split complementary colour scheme with red.   

Using the additive colour wheel, the blue here is close to Cyan, which is directly opposite red, and is its complement.   If we think about how the human eye works, red and cyan stimulate different photoreceptors and together they are visually exciting.

So this quilt doesn't address the theme of Colour Theory head on but it illustrates two colours which have a particularly strong relationship with each other.   We don't have to know why we find a particular colour combination appealing but Colour Theory helps us to explain and describe colour relationships we like and to put other combinations together. 







Edited to add: colour theory is a useful way of describing colour relationships when making decisions about what to use, but the theme and mood you are conveying is just as important.  If you look at the other members' posts on our group blog, you can see all the wonderful and very different results.






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