Do you remember the dress that caused such a stir in the media a few months back? It looked a fairly innocuous dress until you realised that people were seeing it differently – or, more specifically, saw it as different colours.
I mention that dress because it shows how thorny the matter of colour can be. Finding colours that work well together seems easy to some people, whereas others (myself included) really struggle to put colour schemes together. So, you can imagine how pleased I was when Stephie of Dawn Chorus Studio said that she was going to do a series on her blog entitled “How to Design a Great Colour Scheme Without Colour Theory”. She published the first part last Thursday and, within that post, set out a challenge for her readers. We had to use a paint chip card – those free strips of paint colours that you can pick up in DIY stores – and pull out fabrics or scraps from our stash to reflect the colours on the card.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, I didn’t find it so. The first thing I discovered was that the colours of the fabrics changed when I pulled them out of their respective drawers. What looked like a perfect match when it was in the drawer, was an awful clash as soon as I put it anywhere near the paint chip. Very frustrating.
My fabrics are partly organised according to colour. By that, I mean that within each storage place, the fabrics are in colour order. However, I have several places containing fabric so looking for a colour can take a while!
I began fairly well, finding two or three fabrics that looked like a fairly good match for the different shades on the card. I found the darker colours easier to work with than the pale colours – perhaps that was because it was more difficult to actually see the ‘colour’ part of the colour, the lighter the shade. [I hope that makes sense because I can’t figure out how else to express it.]
Once I had chosen my selection of fabrics I decided to photograph them. That’s when the second problem cropped up: the colours looked completely different when photographed. I knew this was likely to happen and, sort of understood why. Unfortunately I haven’t downloaded a photo editing programme onto our laptop so I wasn’t able to do much about altering the colours in the photos. I used the limited editing options in our photo programme but was surprised that all three photographs of the above selection of fabrics looked different from the other two.
This photograph, immediately above, is the best likeness of the colours on the paint chip that I could achieve with the second selection of fabrics. [The photo at the head of this post is the overall best representation of the paint chip colours.] You will see that the two fabrics on the far right have a pink hue: that is because, when I moved the chip away from my desk, the two palest colours took on this pinkness.
On my laptop, the last two photographs above this paragraph look completely different. I hope that shows in this post, otherwise what I am saying will sounds like nonsense!
In the past, when I have searched for colours to go together, I have really struggled. Using the paint chip card made selecting fabrics much easier as I had the different colours in front of me. If I can manage to “find” enough paint chip cards to make a complete collection then I think it would make sense for me to use them during the selection process.
This one exercise has already increased my confidence for working with colour. I can’t wait to read the rest of Stephie’s series!
**The paint chip card I used was Dulux WY4, Sundrenched Saffron numbers 1 to 6 inclusive.