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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Color inspiration from nature

In late April, I'll be taking a class with Margaret Bendig called Potpourri on Canvas. It sounds like a fun (yet perhaps frustrating) class. The canvas will be divided into 45 blocks of various sizes, and Margaret suggests stitches for each area, but the colors and threads are left to the stitcher's imagination.

As is often the case with classes like this, Margaret has suggested that one way to pick colors is to start with an overdyed thread and use it for inspiration for color families. I've decided to go another route.

I work at a company that (among other things) makes high-quality production printers. In selling these products, we always need to have print samples around to show the quality of our output prints. Occasionally, some of these print samples get left out in a common area so the employees can pick up some. They're often amazing photographs.

This is how the beauty of Arizona's Lower Antelope Canyon caught my eye. I've had a print of some of the standing waves from the canyon sitting on my desk for several weeks now. When the time came to pick out colors for Margaret's class, I decided to use this photograph (and similar online photos) as inspiration. Some of these photos have the most wonderful colors, like this one:

(This picture isn't actually the one on my desk. It's one I found online, and is shared under the terms of its Creative Commons license. Under those terms, I have to provide these links for attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/romainguy/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.)

I pulled the palette colors from it in an image manipulation program. For my Potpourri class, I'm aiming for these colors, with perhaps a bit of yellow and magenta thrown in too.

I'm curious. What do you do when you have a chance to pick your own color scheme? What inspires your choices? This is my first time starting with a photo and pulling colors from it. I'm excited to see how it develops.

I'll let you know when I have a chance to go through my stash to find appropriate threads.


SilkLover said...

Great choice of colors, Jeanne. I used to buy Arizona Highways magazine for years just for the beautiful photography. I still have those back issues (somewhere). I also write down colors combinations I see in fabric, paintings, nature, etc in a notebook to refer back to. Have a great time in your class.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Sometimes I take colors from photos I like, sometimes I start with a color that made me buy it at my not-so-local needlework shop and use the color wheel to find colors to pair with it, sometimes I use a color mix I saw in one of the needlework magazines. Very occasionally, I use random colors sorted into light, medium or dark piles, picking from each intensity pile as needed. I think your colors are both unexpected and lovely, so this is going to be fun to watch develop. Have fun with Margaret. A great talent and my fellow guildmates at SBCANG say she is a wonderful teacher.

Donna said...

I love your color inspiration. You're making me think about revisiting my photos from the west.

I'm with Jane. When I pick colors, the source can be nearly anything for the starting point. It can be a fabulous thread that I found. Or a quilt that I saw. Or a painting. I now walk around museums with a digital voice recorder to record my thoughts when I see something fabulous because too often I'm not allowed a photograph. When I can, I take photos like the one of my blueberry shortcake I had in Connecticut two years ago - that is definitely destined to be a canvas piece someday.

Lucky you - class with Margaret!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see your Potpourri develop. I took that class last year in Scottsdale and it was awesome. You will learn so much. I planned to do my Potpourri in neutrals (shades of white, cream, etc) but have ended up with more pinks, creams, and cocoas in it. The canvas talks to you and lets you know what it wants. Does that sound really strange? You'll really enjoy your class! Margaret is a fantastic teacher. Keep us posted.

Laura said...

I think about clothes for inspiration for colors. What is my favorite dress? Unfortunately my favorite dress palette has been used so many times, I have to shopping for a new "favorite dress." The sacrifices I have to make for needlepoint, sigh.

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Elmsley Rose said...

May I ask which programme you used to pick out the colours?