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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Bevy of Blues

bevy of blue Helen Backhouse 430x416 - Bevy of BluesIn my search for popular blues, this person’s work that you see here kept popping up, only it seemed to be attached to different people all the time. As it turns out, this is an artist that sticks with making amazing beads and elements that bead artisans can then assemble rather than creating a lot of finished work herself.

Helen Backhouse is her name and her beads and elements can be found scattered throughout Etsy and on various Facebook pages. Her pieces look to be impressed clay colored primarily with mica powders and, I’d guess, some kind of patina and weathered effect techniques, perhaps dyes or paints. Her blues are straight from the back yard, reflecting the brilliant blues found in a butterfly’s or bird’s wing as well as the dusty teals and blues leaning into greens that appear in natural metal patinas. The shapes are simple, the textures organic, and the coloring coolly dramatic. That makes for really eye-catching elements.

The best place to check out her pieces is on her Facebook page where the designers that use her pieces tag her in their photos alongside the stuff she does post.

 

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore your favorite color. Spend just a couple of minutes writing down what you like about this color, what it reminds you of, and where you notice it most often. Look back at what you wrote and see what kind of work, forms, textures or other ideas these thoughts bring up and let those guide you in the creation of new pieces.

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Light-Hearted Blue

teal waves earrings 430x415 - Light-Hearted BlueThe primary reason for blue being such a favorite is its ability to sooth our spirits. Blue is the color of peace and contentment as well as reliability and security. Those are things we all need to feel on a regular basis. So designs that include blue will give off those kinds of feelings.

I thought this simple pair of earrings by Warren and Robbin of Bali did that in spades. The sky-blue background of the drop part has rippling lines much like you would see on a peaceful body of water and what is more peaceful than sitting by a rippling pool or pond filled with the reflection of a blue sky?

I find the white sections above interesting in that the wobbly circles are energetic but reserved on their steady canvas of white. That little tick up in energy contrasts the bottom half just enough to emphasize its peacefulness plus the circles feel like they are floating, maybe on water, bringing that peaceful water idea full circle.

Robbin and Warren don’t always work in polymer but their designs are always interesting to process. Find more of their work in both natural materials and polymer on their  Flickr photostream and on their website.

 

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A Favorite Blue

sonaGrig blue earrings 430x513 - A Favorite BlueSo there is this article going around about the world’s favorite color. It’s a blue-green and although it is pretty, I am less than minutely moved by this seemingly momentous discovery. First of all, the result came from a poll, not some scientific study (although I was glad to read that some non-profit or government organization had not wasted oodles of funds to figure this out) and it was done by a paper company doing this as a promotion.

What I did find interesting was that it was being shared by so many. Why? It seems like the only color that matters to any of us is the one we like … in the moment. So it thought I’d do a small poll of my own and see what colors were are presently popular online. Culling several of my regular sources, I found that the most often pulled color was the same color that had previously been determined to be the most popular color in the world by a variety of past studies. Blue.

Using more of a category than a particular color like this one being talked about this month, prior studies aimed to find the favorite color from the standard six the classic color wheel is split on. A lot of people like blue. I am not, actually, one of them. I don’t dislike it, I just don’t usually gravitate to it. But this week, I will share some blue pieces that a lot of people, including myself, seem to gravitate to and, strangely, the most stand-out pieces turned out to be earrings.

This pair is an organic stunner by  Sona Grigoryan. Copper has been upstaged by a more steady version of a patina blue. Simple but curious with the copper peeking through and the two earrings unmatched but easily connected because of the dominant color and the similar shapes in that center of carved out space.

Although Sona focuses on form more than colors, her pops of dramatic color are used to great effect. Take a look at her recent work on her Flickr photostream to see what I mean.

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Ordinarily Wonderful

creasanscess green shapeletI very much enjoyed the comments and the interaction of last week. Maybe we’ll do that once a week or every other. Getting you to think about art is definitely one of my high goals!

So let’s ponder a few together this week. I find it curious that some pieces, even though very much like other pieces we see, will just strike you as working so much better than similar work. Like this set by Cécile Bouesnard. It is quietly striking although the shape is a common one these days and the composition of shape and focal point is what one might expect.  But the coloring and the marks keep it from becoming just ordinary. So why is that?

Success is not always easy to define, primarily because the success of a piece is really due to the sum of its parts. Key elements will often shine but if everything else didn’t work with it or support it as needed, those key elements would not have the same impact. So what is it here that is working? I think everything supports the overall feel. The soft shift of a rich green to that mellow yellow and the lime green snuck into the middle of it (did you even notice it was there?) gives the surface a glowing effect. The softness of the coloring contrasts with the perfectly trimmed shapes but those black marks, like the careless placement of a messy bottle contrasts with both the soft coloring and the clean shapes. These subtle but consistent contrasts make for an interesting and fulfilling piece to look upon.

That is my take on why this works. If you have other ideas, please add them to the comment section at the end of this post. In the meantime, you can see what else Cécile created with a similar combination of elements in varied compositions and colors on this post of her blog.

 

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Put a Little Heart Into It

Here is what caught my eye today.Anna Kokareva uneven heart earrings I decided to peruse Flickr this time and came upon the pages of Anna Kokareva (aka Annie Bimur) and although there were a lot of pieces to grab my attention, it was this pair of not quite matching earrings with the heart just hanging out among all the crackle that really grabbed me.

I was a little thrown by that initially since I’m not much of a heart girl but the contrast of the simple sweet heart in all that texture really spoke to me. The uncomplicated things in life, like pure love and joy, set against a back drop of chaos … this is often what life is like, isn’t it? We just have to stop and appreciate the beauty within the bedlam. And in this case, we can appreciate the differences between the two earrings and probably find a smile on our faces when the little heart catches us by surprise.

The one thing I would improve is actually the background of the image. It is usually better to use a contrasting background, especially where texture (and color) is concerned or your work can blend too much with it, as it tends to here.

More little surprises as well as a riot of color and texture can be found on Anna’s Flickr photostream.

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Standard in Stripes

Julia Peker stripe bracelet earringsSo many artists spend an inordinately large amount of time looking for the next really cool and totally different thing that will get them all kinds of attention and make their work stand out. But here is the thing … nothing is really new anymore. It’s just a variation of something that was done before. Thinking and creating with this in mind can be so freeing. It allows you to just create what you love or what you want to express.

And some days you just want to be simple, clean and use some no-fuss forms and applications. Nothing wrong with that. Go for it. You can see how a basic striped composition on a bangle shape and a couple of lentil earrings did for Julia Peker‘s approach. Choosing an array of both visual and tactile textures gives this variation within the limitations of a palette of subdued and tinted cool colors. Nothing crazy or new design wise, but it pulls off a tasteful and understated elegance that most anyone can appreciate.

Julia takes notes from a lot of other polymer artists as can be seen in her work so I suspect she is still working on her voice but I think I see it emerging. Her postings look to be relegated to Instagram for the moment but I would be interested to see how her work develops. We’ll keep an eye out!ow

 

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All Scratched Up

Katya Tryfonova scratched earringsWhat a weekend! There was lots of heavy lifting as I continued to get my new home and studio set up in California and in the background, I’m thinking about the news of yet another craft magazine closing down while here at TPA we are ramping up plans for a new periodical (see the TPA newsletter for this news and check out the links to the sale I Love 2 Craft is having on our book and back issues), all this while hoping we don’t get washed away the heavy deluge of rain here. I have to say, I’m thoroughly worn out. And yet here is a new week to greet us with much left to do!

Perhaps that is why I found myself collecting images of work with scratches and dings and wonderful worn textures. I kind of feel the same way. However, there is beauty even in the worn out and scratched up.

These simple bell forms, created by Katya Tryfonoava, are elevated, rather than diminished, by a cacophony of scratches. The lines, emphasized by what I assume is rubbed in black paint, show energy as well as give the beads texture and contrast. This is quietly balanced by consistently sized and evenly placed dots marching around the higher slopes.

Katya’s simple shapes and hand crafted texture seems to be at the heart of her desire to combine the modern with folk art. As she says in her Flickr profile, “My goal is to empower modern styles with the inner truth, the energy and wisdom of generations that are naturally embedded in the traditional art. This is what I define as a largely overlooked link between the old and new cultures, worlds, ways of life. I don’t want to simplify the contemporary art to primitive, but I want to bring to it character, spontaneity, energy, living vibrations, expression and passion, which are inherent in folk art, to fill the contemporary shapes with new meaning.”

See where her goals have taken her by perusing her wide array of exploratory pieces on her Flickr photostream.

 

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A Fitting Start

cblackburn-dodecahedraAt first I couldn’t figure out what Carol Blackburn had done here and could only stare at this in wonderment. But then, I was looking at the image on my phone as Randee Ketzel had forwarded it to me and I have to immediately check out anything Randee sends my way. On closer examination (and on a full size computer screen), I realized that these are sheets of Skinner blended clay fitted together using interlocking tabs. Carol refers to them as Dodecahedra and mentions in the thread of comments on her Facebook page that she plans to make earrings out of them so I guess they aren’t too big. I sure would love to see them in person. It’s her color combinations that really make these work with all cool or all warm colors on each one, making the variety of color relate.

Carol does like to play with sheets of clay, much like paper and in ways related to paper art but the durability and embedded color add an aspect you just can’t get in paper. You can see what I mean by jumping over to her website. If you are on Facebook, jump over to  Carol’s page and check out the comments and conversation.

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