Color is the “big idea” in your work. It is one of the first things you think about when you have an idea brewing for a new project. For me, it launches the project. Color is light, which is energy. It is a way to tell a story.
Traveling to Morocco in December for a Creatives Retreat with Valori Wells and Kelly Sheets for a second time, was even more amazing than my first time in 2019. Feeling the magical energy again was invigorating. I realized that it was not just the colors themselves, it was the interactions with the people and the experiences that we had in the countryside. This quilt speaks to me of the energy I felt being there. During the creative sessions in the studio with Val and Kelly, I started using this leaf print that Val carved to print on the fabric squares she gave us during the retreat. I was in the moment printing to my heart’s content. Little did I know that when I got home and started pinning them up on the design wall in the studio that this quilt would emerge.
Color is the most emotional element of design the artist has as a tool to work with. You are the colorist. Clues are everywhere, museums, a walk in the park, scarfs, and travel. There is something magical about going to an unfamiliar environment and opening up your senses to what is around you. Embracing the experience will bring you aha moments for months to come.
Style influences will abound as you allow yourself to see the style around you in buildings, in the interiors, in the gardens, and in the landscape
How do you capture the eye of the beholder? Is it the repeated combinations that hold the viewer’s eye throughout the quilt or piece of art. As I gaze at my leaf quilt, it feels just that. What is so refreshing about my experience with the quilt is that it just came out of me one block at a time. As I randomly placed these blocks on the wall I started to think about connections. I wanted each block to have a friend nearby.
When I took a break and sat down in my blue chair several feet away from the quilt, it just felt complete, just right, and it made me happy.
Ask yourself, how do you learn to develop spontaneity in the use of color. My feeling is through experience and observation… I never stop looking. I find that images have to settle in my mind and be revisited from time to time. After taking the next photo of an aging palm tree in the Anima Gardens in Morocco in 2019, last spring I was finally ready to make a quilt. The photo made me think about aging gracefully as my next birthday approached.
I really enjoyed revisiting my photos of the aging palm and other photos taken in this amazing garden just outside of Marrakech. I had no idea that magenta would perk up the shades of orange in the center section of the quilt. I also used one of my favorite new techniques, quilting with 14 weight thread to soften the transition between the grey and orange areas in the center of the quilt.
My granddaughter, Olivia took this close up photo of the bumblebee. Remember that a color takes on different personalities in relation to the color it is placed next too. I hope this discussion on color will be helpful to you in the new year. I wish you much success in your journey as quilting artists.
As I begin 2023, I have been thinking about how every color has the possibility of appearing in one of my quilts. A few weeks ago Jackie finished putting together some new 4 1/2” wide strip rolls
. There is a light, medium, and dak roll and a “Jean’s favorites”. I refresh my solids with these strips each year. When I am in the middle of the design process and am searching for a new color idea they are like jewels. You never know when a touch of something you never dreamed of will be the perfect solution.