Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Munsell Color theory and the not lost dogs

As you may know,  I've come down to Santa Barbara to stay with my nephew while my SB daughter, his guardian,  works in Florida and the Bahamas.  Isn't he photogenic!

SB daughter also shares custody of three dogs with her ex.  You may have seen pictures of the granddogs in the 'Red Sketchbook' area of this blog.  We picked them up Thursday night in my truck.  It now smells like a dog house!  Good thing I like dogs.  Was sunny yesterday so I left the back open all day to air it out.  The sun was really nice.  We sat outside a lot.

Red and Cherry spooning doggy fashion
Red is the biggest and Cherry the smallest.  Nixon was still asleep when I took this photo earlier today.  Because of all the rain, caring for the dogs in a house with white carpeting has been a challenge.  I've found it easiest to dunk each paw in water, swish, and wipe.  I close off the kitchen and let them in, one at a time.  Washing towels twice a day!

While drawing the neutrals  chart, below, I realized a little info on warm and cool colors would be helpful. While looking at your color wheel, with red at the top, all the right hand colors down to teal (B-G) are warm.  All the left hand side through teal (B-G) are cool.  I know I know - I said teal is both warm and cool!  It is, and that depends on what colors it is next to and across from!  Another tough aspect of color theory.

Two Neutrals (center colors)

 Neutrals are hues (colors) achieved by mixing opposites (complements).  Neutrals calm and bring harmony to your design.  Neutrals allow high-contrast and intense colors to draw attention to the focal point. 

Using your preferred medium, make a complete neutrals chart (all ten colors on the Munsell color wheel).  You will have five lines of color because the warms will be on one side and their opposites, usually cools, will on the other side.  For clarity (not like I did above!) put the warm colors on the right and cool colors on the left to correspond to your color wheel.  Have fun!

Friday, March 25, 2011

This and that from Santa Barbara

Wednesday afternoon I drove down to Santa Barbara.  My favorite nephew lives with my daughter here.  The SB daughter has to go out of town for work for about a week so here I am, spending time with the nephew.

Last night in the rain and mud the four dogs came home.  What fun!  Two of them, the oldest (my favorite) and the youngest are huge. The oldest is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and the youngest is a Newfoundland. There is also the biggest 14 inch standard beagle known to man and the smallest is Cherry, a Maltese (she's the boss).

They woke all of us up at least once during the night.  We each got up to take them out.  Needless to say, we are a tired and grumpy group this morning.  But the nephew showered, ate breakfast and got to school on time.

In my next post I will discuss tints, shades and neutrals.

No pictures today as I am not on my personal computer.

The sun is shining!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Color theory again and more food quilt

Have had a couple of comments about 'dischord' - oops!  Misspelled discord.  Tried to correct that but couldn't find the misspelling in either previous post.  Sorry. I don't know why Munsell uses the word, discord.  I think it is because the discord colors are not ones normally used with the dominant and its opposite in color theory.  But for the purposes of this system, don't think about the dictionary meaning of the word.  It is just a label for the color's position on the color wheel and for it's use in the color theory.

Roxy really wants to learn to sew!

Got together Tuesday with Domino Sharon to sew.  We usually get together to make dinner and play dominoes.  We told the husbands it was their turn to cook and do the dishes! (BTW they made a great dinner - fresh salmon, salad, steamed carrots, asparagus and brown rice.)

Borders are not sewn on yet but you get the idea

Sharon and I worked on projects we had been stuck on.  She had a rain cape almost done, only had to top stitch and put snaps on and I had to cut my meager stash of Michael Miller's Apple Stripy fabric and sew it on.  Together we both managed to do that!  But I didn't have fabric for the outside borders so I went shopping in Sharon's stash!  She gave me about 15 yards of black fabric she had.  So now I have enough for the borders and the back and several more quilts!  I wasn't going to make the back black but WTH, with such abundance how can I not!!!!

WARNING: There is no color theory used in this quilt!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Food quilts

As you may remember I am working on food quilts for both the grands.  The above is the first iteration of the first quilt.  When I saw it up on my design wall (the hallway with me standing in the middle bedroom to get far enough back!) I realized it should be titled 'indigestion'!  I took the first border off and searched through my stash for another fabric.

I found this cool fabric that I used on MY VERY FIRST QUILT!!!! It has strips of apples alternating with strips of apple seeds.  I only have a yard of it.

I really like the way it looks surrounding the food blocks.  But I am unable to cut the fabric!  I'm afraid that I will mess it up and not have enough fabric !(  Am totally blocked!  So I made a date with my girlfriend, Domino Sharon, who is also at a standstill on a project (a cute raincape that she could really use right now) and we are going to sew together and hopefully get these projects going!

In the meantime I am thinking about starting the second grands food quilt.  Artquiltmaker sent me an e-mail with Marcus' pattern 'patch-it'.  As it happens I had seen that pattern on another website and liked it.  So was going to use that for the second quilt.  Artquiltmaker suggested I do a test first.  That is so totally unlike me!  I usually just jump in and commit to whatever I decide and outcome be darned!  Well when I replied to AQ with that she gave me a big LOL!  So I decided to do a test.  What could it hurt?

The pattern requires a template ($20).  I am in a 'use what I have' mode and will not buy any quilting stuff (today).  So I studied the picture of the template and read the description and made my own out of matboard (remember the days when we made our own cardboard templates?  Neither do I!  But I had heard about doing that.

I have a mat cutter that I use to cut mats when I frame pictures and that worked great!  Nice straight edges with one cut.  The template is about 3 1/4 " square.  And it worked perfectly.  I didn't even slice it up when I was cutting! 

The pattern I had seen a week or so ago ( which I can't find on the internet again :(  ) suggested putting a black border around the colored squares so I did.
I could tell as I put this together that it wouldn't work for this quilt.  The food fabric isn't showcased so what is the point of using it?  The black border, however, does work with this pattern.

This did go together fairly  quickly, I finished it in about two hours.  Too bad I messed up the upper right corner.  But I'n not taking it out!  This is going in my bag of orphan blocks, along with the template!

The other reason (besides not showcasing the fabric) is that it wastes a lot of fabric.  The finished block is about half the size of the original from which the template-cut pieces were taken. 

The good thing is that this is an easy pattern that looks hard.  The negatives are that it wastes fabric and isn't a good choice for (my favorite) novelty fabrics.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Munsell Color Theory

A version of the Munsell Color System Wheel

The Munsell Color System is quite complicated in its entirety.  Here I am presenting a simplified version - only what we as artists and quilters, knitters and weavers need to make lovely color choices.
The painting was done with gouache in an Aquabee 'Super Deluxe' sketchbook.
As I mentioned in my last post, with the Munsell System we have five 'principal colors' (the ones in the squares, above), five 'opposites' in the circles and 'discords'.  A successful composition contains a dominant color (may be a principal or an opposite), the complement of the dominant color and two discords (the third color away from the dominant on each side).  The majority of the composition is the dominant color.  A moderate amount of the complement (more if the color is grayed). And small, equal amounts of the discords.

A drawing using the Munsell System
The dominant color in this drawing is blue. 

Its complement is orange.

Green round, purple swirl - sorry it is fuzzy!

The discords are green and purple.

These drawings were done in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of color pencils.  It would be an interesting exercise to do them in the Aquabee sketchbook with gouache and do the color wheel in the Moleskine sketchbook.  Next post, perhaps?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Color theory - The Munsell System

This quilt was quite stunning but I wonder what the result would be if a little of red's opposite, teal and it's discords, yellow-green and blue-purple had been added......

Artquiltmaker and I went to the San Francisco Quilt Guild show on Saturday at the Concourse in San Francisco.  The venue was great as there was plenty of room and it did not feel overcrowded.  The quilts, for the most part, were really nice.  Lots of inspiration.  It was also the first show I've been to in forever.  We had a very good time.
This is a better example of the Munsell System.  Teal as dominant, red, its opposite and yellow and purple the discords.

But one of the things that always happens when we go look at quilts together is our differences in seeing color.  I, of course, am sure that my color vision is the correct one and Artquiltmaker feels the same way!  I have often discussed with her the Munsell System color theory. That is the system I use when I think about color for my quilts or drawings.  She suggested I discuss the theory here so those interested could learn the system and perhaps integrate it into their work.

I first learned about this system about ten years ago from the book "Harley Brown's eternal truths for every artist" (no caps after the name in the title!).  The Munsell System was developed between 1898 and 1905 by Professor Albert H. Munsell, an artist.  It is a 'rational' and 'scientific' approach to color. He updated and significantly improved his 1905 publication in 1929 and the system was  again updated by the Optical Society of America in the 1940s.  The system is still used today in forensics, dentistry and the brewing of beer as well as developing colors for fabric and yarn.  The Munsell system is used by the U.S. Bureau of Standards.

The difference between the Munsell System and the three primary system is in the relationship between colors.  The Munsell System uses five 'principal' colors (red, yellow, green, blue, and purple). As the principal colors are closer on the color wheel to each other and because there are more of them, it shifts the color complements. The Munsell System uses the term 'opposites' instead of complement.  In the Munsell System red and teal are opposites, yellow and purple-blue are opposites, green and violet are opposites, blue and orange are opposites and purple and yellow-green are opposites

 The theory continues with the color distribution of a composition, whether it is a quilt, painting or your choice of an outfit to wear to the races!  With the Munsell System every successful composition has a dominant value - making it either warm or cool.  The composition could be left monochromatic - only one color - but will be more interesting with the addition of a modest amount of the dominant color's opposite.

The last component of the Munsell System is the use of discords.  Discords are located on the Munsell System color wheel by skipping one color each side of that color's opposite.  For instance, if our principal color is red, the opposite is teal. To the right of teal is green - skip it - and go to yellow-green for the first discord.  To the immediate left of teal is blue - skip blue - and go to blue-purple for the second discord.   Use BOTH discords subtly and in EQUAL amounts, grouped near the center of interest, if possible.

To draw your own Munsell System color wheel, draw or trace a circle.  Put red at 12 o'clock, teal at six o'clock.  Place the other four warm colors, orange, yellow, yellow-green and green, spaced equally to the right of and between red and teal.  To the left place the remaining four cool colors, violet, purple, blue-purple and blue spaced equally between red and teal.

In summary, the Munsell System color wheel has ten colors.  The five principal colors are red, yellow, green, blue and purple. The five opposites of the principal colors are orange, yellow-green, teal, blue-purple, and violet.  In a Munsell System composition  one uses a dominant color, its complement and its two discords.  This is a very simplified description of the Munsell System but sufficient for use in quilting and drawing.  Once you learn it and it becomes intuitive, you will notice excellent results in your color choices.  More detailed accounts of this system are available by searching the web.

For an illustration of the Munsell System color wheel go to this link .