Color Palette #124 :: Koi Pond

One of my good friends was teasing me the other day about how I don’t talk about color theory at all here, and I either need to get on that or change my tagline.

Note to self, change tagline.

In my defense, I dig color theory, but I can get pretty verbose on that particular subject. Sometimes, when I start talking about it, I can see people’s eyes start to glaze over, which is exactly the response I was trying to elicit (not really). Either it’s me, or color theory can be a little dry (I’m going with the latter, just so you know). Plus, I figured most artists will already have an understanding of color theory or know where to go to find more. Am I wrong?

This doesn’t mean I don’t have interest in it. In fact, it’s info I’ve wanted to share for a while, but never had much motivation to get it done. My posts at Art Bead Scene and Beads of Clay give me a little fix, but maybe I need a bigger push. And since I just made a point about asking readers questions, this is me taking my own advice.

So, my question to you would be is color theory something that you as a reader would be interested in? If so, what kind of format? I’m thinking either a series of posts, but I could see it as an ebook, too, or a series of emails. The posts would be faster for both of us, honestly, but I’m open to suggestions.

Also names; naming things is not my forte.


P.S. Isn’t that koi pond pretty? I’ve always wanted one in my backyard, but taking care of living things beyond myself is a heavy responsibility, you know?


13 Responses to Color Palette #124 :: Koi Pond

  1. Speaking of color… I need to email you. I want to talk to you about my upcoming Challenge of Color in November and a potential partnering…

    I am great at naming things. And I find your blog inspiring no matter what you are talking about. You are so giving of knowledge and I find your space soothing and inviting. That is what I want for myself so I gravitate to that in others. Plus, it really feels like I get a chance to visit with you as a friend. Again, that is what I love.

    Maybe a series of posts about color and how it applies to different areas of our lives… jewelry design, other crafts like scrapbooking or knitting, home decor, holidays, photography. I am always interested in color combos that are inspiring but I also like to know the psychology behind color.

    And I am doing a little bit on color in my Inspired by Nature retreat class. SO I am always looking for resources and yours is at the top of my list!

    Enjoy the day.
    Erin Prais-Hintz recently posted Win with JanglesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Miss Erin! I’m looking into it, trying ways to present the info. There’s a lot to color theory so there’s a lot to break down – but thanks for giving me food for thought!

      And yes, email when you get a chance – I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned.

  2. Ah! Beautiful fish, and I am one not to be trusted with living things, so I appreciate the view! 🙂

    Like Erin said, I’d love to see how you take the “theory” of color and tell us how to use it practically. Heck, you could even do a blog series for us, and then spin it into an ebook. I know some people who don’t understand why/how colors “clash.” Also, how to get out of a color rut, maybe a series of challenges. Personally in my jewelry I’ve been stuck in earth tones. I just keep buying them. Ack!

    Myself, I’m formulating an ebook on “how” to wear jewelry which I think will be a lot of fun and also really useful for people. Sometimes it’s all about the basics.

    (by the way… “inspired by color” never made me think that you’d be giving lectures on chroma, and I’ve never been let down by your gorgeous pics – just sayin’) 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback, Rose!

      Right now, I’m thinking posts. I like the idea that if someone’s got a question, I can answer it right in the comments, versus an ebook (though that’s got its own merits, too!). I hadn’t thought about a series of challenges, but the idea is intriguing – thanks for the suggestion!

  3. My first reaction is that I’m not in need of posts on colour theory but my second reaction is – I would love to read a colour theory post written by you. What about a ‘why does this work?’ kind of post. You know how you look at interior design magazines and pictures of rooms that seemingly are thrown together and yet they work? This is kind of what I mean – like why does orange and blue look so good together? Well there’s a theory behind that… what do you think?
    Libby recently posted Inspired by :: engravingsMy Profile

    • Sounds awesome, Libby, thanks for the suggestion! I think that’d be a perfect way of showing practical uses for color theory. Thank you!

  4. I’m so glad you raised this topic! I have been doing jewelry for the past two years and found you thru a mention on a Fire Mt newsletter. I must have between 40-50 books on jewelry, beading, wire, metals, etc and other than one–beaders palette–there is surprisingly little on the topic of color theory. A recent few articles in various mags have talked in brief about color and metals which was great, but I see wonderful examples of metals and colors that break the rules and often really work. I have major trouble with color and was inspired recently to take my colors from palettes in the pictures in the Sierra that so inspire me (mmm, you might recognize the trick!). I have been shocked by how well this helps me pair combos I never would have considered.

    A lot of the time, I’ll successfully pull a palette together and then am so stumped by which metal to use for findings, that I get so distracted while seeking findings that I forget what I’m doing and that pile of beads joins other lonely piles on various surfaces waiting for focal, or findings, or something!
    So-while I get that certain metals go with certain palettes (cool, warm, etc), some folks can break the rules and it works. (Am I unconsciously defining the difference between “crafting” and “art?” I’d like a better understanding of why metallic colors are metallic, and a different way to think about them when designing. An example is: its common to match turquoise with silver, and sometimes w/ gold. Some SHADES of turquoise work with gun metal or antique gold/brass. Why? It has to have something to do with the base color in the turquoise (green vs blue?)right? I saw a thing online last nite talking about the new fall color “oxblood” and saw a shocking pairing with hotpink that kind of worked (shocker), but it was a visual assault that I can’t forget and would never ever wear….but it might be cool in jewelry….
    Thanks! Keep on writing!

    • Whoa, I was mentioned in a Fire Mt newsletter? That’s all kinds of awesome! Wish I had a copy of that.

      As for your comment, Tina, I started smiling as I was reading – you’ve given me a bunch of awesome starting points! Thank you! I’ve got an idea for a longer color/metals post, but let me address a couple points right now.

      Metallics (like paint) can be tricky because they’ve got a sheen on them, so they aren’t really just one flat color. Hardly anything is, thanks to light and shadows, but metallics are even harder because the color can look like it’s constantly shifting. That’s done on purpose to replicate metal on non-metal surfaces.

      When you start talking about metals for findings, try to see the metal as colors themselves. Bright silver and nickel can act as a light gray or white, gunmetal or oxidized silver a dark gray, gold and brass a bright yellow or yellow-orange, copper a shade of rosy orange, bronze and Vintaj natural brass a medium to dark brown. So, if you’ve got a particular set of beads, the metal findings you choose can be a part of the overall color scheme and blend in, or contrast against the beads to make everything pop.

      Forgive the lack of images, and I promise I’ll write up a full post with some on this exact topic, but it has to do with how much contrast you want between the metals and the beads. Let’s say I’ve got a lot of light pink beads, like rose quartz. If I use bright silver, the beads and the metal will blend together, since one is light pink and the other is light gray. If I use gold, there will be more contrast, because the bright yellow of gold is a different saturation/intensity than the pale pink. If I go with Vintaj natural brass or gunmetal, the pink will really pop and become more obvious, because the metal is so much darker. Make sense?

      Without seeing photos of the turquoise pieces you’re talking about, I’m willing to bet that what you’re noticing is the contrast between the color of the metals and the color of the beads. Generally speaking, if you want minimal contrast in a design, use light beads with lighter toned metals or dark beads with darker metals.

      The particular hue of a bead does play into it, too, but a really powerful trick of color theory is to play with the contrast – pick beads and findings with different saturations so each will pop against each other. Think of red and blue – a dark blue with a dark red won’t have nearly as much visual interest as a pale blue with a bright red will, and that’s due to the contrast between light and dark. The dark blue and dark red are both close to each other in value, so the eye skims over them. A pale blue with a bright red will cause the eye to stop and hold, because one’s light and one’s dark.

      Obviously, I’ve got a lot to say about this, so look for a longer post in the next few weeks! But I hope this helps for now, Tina!

      • I’m at lunch and inhaled your comments with delight. Thank you!
        -You were mentioned as a source of inspiration by a featured artist in their newsletter. It would have to be at least 3 months or so ago. I remember sharing your blog over the summer with a couple artists who were into color so it had to be mentioned aorund that time.
        Have a great day!

  5. That koi pond is gorgeous and I love the color palette you came up with for it. Love.

    I would be fascinated to read more about color theory, especially if you were the one writing it. I’m a fan – you know that. But you have such a phenomenal eye for colors and pairing them that I’d love to know more about how you do that.

    So write already!! 🙂

    Francesca recently posted BlessingsMy Profile