Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding "true" fall colors and choosing wall paints...

I once read that in order to be a good artist, you just needed to teach yourself to see what is really there. So many times I think of fall colors in the stereotypical browns, reds, oranges etc. and those are truly great fall colors but somehow if I were to paint something in those colors, it would come across as garish and flat! I'm missing the true colors of autumn; the subtle ochres, the ruddy browns, the chartreuse greens.

This color scale was an exercise I gave myself so that I practice "seeing". I also included the proportions of color as I saw it because that is also a part of the beauty in natures color palette. Not everything in equal measures...

I was thinking that this exercise might be good for wall paint choices. I painted the exterior of my house this summer and it took a good month of color samples to get anything close to what I had imagined in my brain would look good. The back of my house looked like a calico as I worked to find the right earthy gray and the right accent color (I explored burgundies, purples, ochres, greens). It was an amazing challenge for me to see the subtlety and complexity of colors once they are on a wall or large surface. How many times have I chosen a fresh green on the swatch, only to find it to be neon once on the walls! Too many. My artist friend Kimberly is a color expert (in my humble opinion) and her advice to me was always, "Choose the swatch that you like, then choose the grayer version of it." It's helped me out of many shocking wall colors, that's for sure!

So, you color masters and apprentices out there: How do you find the right color? What's your process?

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