Amish color invades a painter’s palette!

If you create paintings and fabric art long enough it seems inevitable that color palettes begin to surface again from a person’s subconscious. I made this quilt and painting independently of each other, within a two-year period. Last week I was decorating the house for Christmas and took out this little Amish replica quilt I made up during the time I owned a small art gallery in Niwot, CO. Tonight I noticed this small floral painting in the same room where I put the quilt. Holy smokes! The same color palette is duplicated in two different media, not intentional.

What I love about painting is that you start with a simple group of colors and then can add nuances as you go. The more you mix paint, the more subtle variations of hues evolve.  If the original palette is strong, and you don’t vary too much from it’s core, the overall color will hang together well.

The Amish-inspired palette here shows a harmonious combination of neutrals (black, gray, toned dark colors) with more intense bright hues. I believe the early Amish quilts we see in famous collections display a wonderful balance of this blend of neutrals and brights. It’s a recipe any painter can take away as a good start.

Six hues are here in the basic palette. Black, green, blue, red, orange, yellow. All the others are mixed from these. Quilters would do well to limit themselves to 7-9 colors and then find variations on this palette. Get a solid palette when you begin your painting or quilt. Then take off and express  yourself, having given yourself the foundation to fly!


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