books and old classes on Colour

I’ve started reading a book by Victoria Finlay called “Colour: A Natural History of the Palette” where she travels and describes how some colours in art have been lost, beginning with a memory of her father telling her how the blue used in the stained glass windows in Chartres is no longer available. (some other sites now say it hasn’t been lost). I found an audio interview with Finlay on the ABC website.

yesterday I saw an article called “The Colorful Stories of 5 Obsolete Art Pigments” which describes five pigments which have disappeared from art: Maya Blue, Tyrian Purple, White Lead, Lapis Lazuli, Dragon’s Blood with an update of another three: Mummy Brown, Indian Yellow, Scheele’s Green. the article is continued in another article, “More Vibrant Tales of Obsolete Pigments”.

I’ve only done a short class on colour theory for knitting and yarn/fibres a few years ago (end of 2010) with Shannon Oakey / knitgrrl, but as I am a slow knitter, I didn’t get it finished within the timeframe of the class – I shall have to dig up the notes and take another look. it’s been interesting and fun to explore colours. as part of the surface embroidery class exercises, I even tried painting my own colour wheel of primary and secondary colours to experiment with mixing colours and to make it easier to remember which colours are used. I am used to television (analog and digital) signals and colours which are different – we use RGB (red-green-blue) as the “primary” colours for pixels and screen colours, rather than red-yellow-blue as is used in art / paint mixing, so I keep having to remind myself of this “new” (different) colour scheme.

for one of the knitgrrl exercises we had to look at our yarn stash, select images of those colours from the Multicolr site and then arrange the yarn skeins into colour tone. then select a colour I like (I chose red for this exercise) + a colour I didn’t like (I chose green for this exercise) from my yarn stash and put them together, then knit a small colour swatch of the two. at that time I had mostly red and pink yarns as I was making some toys for friends’ children. my stash has since expanded in colour range. as Shannon said, “isn’t it amazing to see how even a color you don’t like can suddenly become interesting when it’s combined with one you DO like?”

>> multicolr : 1 colour – dark red

>> multicolr : 2 colours – dark red & lime green

>> 1. Arrange balls of your favorite color from left to right value-wise (light to dark) and snap a photo.

>> 2. Arrange balls of your favorite color from left to right tone-wise (based on saturation of color) and snap a photo.

>> 3. Find something (could be yarn, could be something else if you don’t have any yarn in this color) that’s the color you DON’T like very much and pick one ball of your favorite color yarn. Take a picture of them together.

> knit the yarns intothis pattern (I didn’t knit the swatch pattern correctly though – one day I will try this again)

References:

Finlay, Victoria. 2002. Colour: A Natural History of the Palette. Random House.

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