Rainbow Color Contemplation

ChrisDamm Sea Cave earromgs 430x475 - Rainbow Color ContemplationI’ve talked a lot in the past about monochromatic and restricted palettes and, sure, I’ve had weeks with just explosions of color to cheer us up and to just drool over but we’ve not really talked about how to use a full spectrum of color. This week, I thought I’d delve into the idea of rainbow colors from a couple different perspectives.

For one, I notice that when I post super colorful art, our reads and view statistics shoot up. (Yeah, I have people who make me look at that boring stuff. Thank goodness they do!) Obviously, humans love color but isn’t it funny that very colorful work is often not respected the way similar work in more subdued or restricted color palettes is? Personally, I think that misconception likely stems from so many pieces that lean on color without consideration for other design elements. As I always try to drill into people’s heads, successful design considers all aspects of the work.

So, I thought I’d make it one of those weeks where I’m going to ask you all to do a little contemplation of the pieces presented this week. I’ve chosen some very colorful images and I’d like you to say whether you think the piece has more than color carrying its attractiveness. Does it look to you like the creator considered more than just color in the design?  If you are up for commenting, please go to the blog page (click the header of the post here to be sure you are on the web page where you can comment) or have a conversation with another willing soul or just yourself. Don’t worry about being right or wrong. I just want you to be considering the whole and then see what you come up with. It’s a good habit to have.

This first piece is by Christine Damm. It was a recent post I saw on Facebook and the colors just grabbed me. I know her style is not popular with everyone but I think her approach is one of the bravest in our community. Her rough, organic and thoroughly heartfelt work just sings with energy and with this rainbow of color here, it is singing quite loudly.

Now ask yourself about the design. What works, what doesn’t and can you see design decisions that support good design or do you think it’s the color that alone carries it? It’s a simple piece so don’t overthink it but do consider some of the basics of design including form, line, balance, rhythm, texture, and composition.


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  1. I absolutely see more than color carrying off this successful design. Being a texture person myself, I see the swirls of color and texture are echoed in the texture of the silver behind them. And while they are colorful, they aren’t “cartoony”. The palette is sophisticated and earthy.

  2. I am a ‘texture person’ as well. The wealth of that alone makes me pore over her work. The color is artful and pleasing. I agree with Shelley Atwood that they have escaped that ‘cartoony’ colorful feel, and don’t have that uber-colorful ‘precious’ or candy shop palette.
    With a few exceptions, I admit that I am not a fan of the actual pieces, most are just not to my personal taste, but I do appreciate the depth of expertise and commitment. I do love ‘Homage to Tucson’ and the ‘Landscape’ earrings on the artist’s blog.

    Because my main medium is wire, the pieces featuring what many people consider an ‘organic’ flow to the wire just bug me, because it is usually far from organic, but more inexpert. Wire in that style rarely feels like an intentional choice to me, even when it actually is one.
    Again, an exception here is ‘Homage to Tucson’ where the wire treatment echoes and enhances the texture. Beautifully done!

    Thanks for the post, Sage. I truly appreciate that you challenge us to discover the internal reasoning for our preferences.

    1. The only pieces that I’ve made that ‘featured’ wire were for Cindy Wimmer’s book “The Missing Link”. I do know how to work with wire– I just don’t do wire wrapping or very symmetrical work. My experiments with wire usually revolve around incorporating polymer clay and wire to enhance the features of both mediums. And the comments were supposed to be about my use of color.

  3. There is a lot more going on in this piece than just the color. The colors are sophisticated and yet there is a very “fun” feel to them. I think that the backing piece with its echoing circles adds a lot, too, although I bet that it is translucent polymer rather than silver. (I took a workshop with Christine last fall and she was doing quite a bit with translucent clay at that time.) Those swirls add great vibrancy, especially with the highlighting of the dark etching on the front pieces.

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