Collecting Color: A mission to understand how color in Nature inspires us

August 19, 2014
"End of Summer" color palette

“End of Summer” color palette. Click for larger views.

A painter or quilt maker can learn a lot about color just from studying Nature. In fact that’s where I learn the most.

It’s nearly the end of summer, and that’s when I go to my garden in a quietly desperate attempt to capture color, like a squirrel, to stash it away for the upcoming months of rain and snow. I collect nature’s color combos and take inspiration from them year long. This process has been working for me for years!

The color collection you see here above looks deceivingly bright and intense. A closer look reveals there are many tones, tints, and shades not bright or pure at all. This is nature’s harmony lesson in color, and a recipe for beauty I have decided works best for me. I love this quote by Scott Christensen about the observation process.

“Being a true colorist means demonstrating discipline by first assessing all the options laid out before you, and then giving equal regard to hues beyond the brightest in your quiver.” -Scott L. Christensen

Collecting color from the garden

Collecting color from the garden

I’m not a devoted gardener, but I discovered plants that can come back year after year on their own. We have an agreement. I give them water and tons of appreciation, they give me persistent beauty. Good trade!

Isolating my summer color choices for a new collection of hues

Isolating my summer color choices for a new collection of hues

A good photo session gives me a lot of new, focused color views. The sunnies and blue plate provide a narrower color set of yellows, blues and neutrals that still packs a punch for me. Less is more in this case.

A cooler hue collection with whites, tints and neutral shades.

A cooler hue collection with whites, tints and neutral shades.

With this photo session finished, between me and my plants and peaches, I’m ready to let summer slip away. Besides, fall color ain’t so bad, right? Bring it on!

“Colour, pure or muted, is its own magic.”-Robert Genn

“Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”  -Marc Chagall


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