Dreaming in Color - Variety, the Spice of Life with Jean Wells

Dreaming in Color Jean Wells
I chose this title for the blog after seeing the new Decostitch Elements fabric from Art Gallery. When the collection arrived, I was immediately inspired by the variety of lights, darks, and bright hues. As Annette unpacked the fabrics she arranged the fabrics in these three color groups for me.
As makers, color is what usually draws us into the design process and everyone of us sees color in their own special way. We have a new employee, Sossity, who lived in India the past seven years where her husband worked for a software company. The first set of fabrics I put together is named “Sassy” as it reminds me of her and colors she wears.
     Sassy pencil pack
    In the past couple of years magenta has made a big appearance in our color world. It is often used as a spicy color to compliment a palette, as it does here with the group above. I used it as a major player in “Deschutes,” a quilt I made several years ago. At the time I made it, I had to search out magenta fabric. My inspiration for the quilt below was the basalt stone shapes we see in Central Oregon.
     jean wells quilt 
    What I like about this group of fabrics is the variety you see within the orange and peach tones, as wells as the deep red, to magenta, to soft rose ones. If I was to use all of these in a quilt  project I would need to decide who would be the leader, the supporting cast, and the lively bit of mischief. Isn’t that the fun thing about quilting?
    In the photo below, you can see the lighter tones from this collection in the photo that I took at Arches in Utah. I am a student of colors in nature as well as values. When I see something that I like I not only think about the color, but look where the darker values are compared to the lighter values.
    arches utah
    Take a look at the Woodland fabric group below… it not only feels like the tree bark in the forest, but like some of the sage brush and stone in the high desert just east of Sisters as you travel toward Redmond and further east.

      Central Oregon Stone
      Central Oregon Creek
      In the sagebrush photo above, the blooms on the grass become the accent color in this muted palette. In the second photo, you see high contrast in the stone and dried grass. In the third photo, the dried grass along the creek is very high contrast. I like to check out the proportion of each color when I am attracted to a photo. It helps me to see why I liked it too.
      Desert Foothills Quilt Jean Wells
      In the Deserted Foothills close up photo above, you can see how I used a variety of greys and golds to create the mood of the high desert that I wanted. In the pencil pac inspired by it, Annette included a warm tan that you see next to the cream. The two of these together are really pretty. Also take note that the gold tones, on one of them is brighter than the other.
      Looking at all of these pretty neutral like tones reminded me of a photograph that I took in February a few years ago of Grass Lake on Highway 97 heading to California from Sisters. The sky was so blue that day, and it was very cold out, and the blue sky reflected on the ice. That image stuck with me for some time. I had done some breakdown printing print using a nest screen and wanted to create a quilt. I used the lake photograph for the color inspiration.
      Grass Lake
      Nest Quilt Jean Wells
      The third group of fabrics in the pencil pacs is entitled Creekside and is one of my favorite color schemes. To me, I can feel the water flowing in a creek with green grass, wildflowers, and tall pines. What Annette did that I like, was to include the two blue-green shades along with the traditional blues. If it was not for the yellow gold and black, this group would be boring. I really depend on wildflower colors as accents to make this palette work for me. In Fireweed below, I choose magenta as it lines the rivers here in Central Oregon in June.

        I hope these images and thoughts help you to add that bit of “spice” into your color palettes that will make them sing.