Motivated by the long lockdown, I embarked on painting the living room last week. After years of pale grey, this time I went for something more adventurous – a high pigment mid-blue (with a touch of purple, naturally), with an evocative name alluding to Scandi chic. The hue is beautiful. And high impact. This means that suddenly, some pre-existing fabrics and accessories don't really work, colour-wise. In my eyes at least. Enter colour research phase to help me create a good palette.
This also prompted me to unearth my Colour unit folder, created as part of my City & Guilds jewellery studies. I thought I'd share some of my inspiration.
What I re-discovered
Lots about colour theory (I won’t bore you), examples of primary, secondary and tertiary colours (again, plenty of this info around), papers on how specific artists have used colour, and more.
Which brings me to the main point: colour is so personal. There are no universally accepted 'pretty' or 'ugly' colours, but quite everyone has strong opinions of what they love or hate. Have you ever thought about yours in detail? What makes you like them? Why? and how do they make you feel?
For me, colour is incredibly powerful. It's a huge mood enhancer (or downer, on the flipside..). Here are colours that make me happy - in moodboards:
The big blue
An homage to sea water. I grew up in Greece, surrounded by crystal clear blue water in electric shades - from pale aquamarine to deep ultramarine - according depth, sea floor and sunlight. This moodboard picks on some of these fabulous blues and greens. Most are intense, vibrant and warm, but some cooler versions make an appearance sporadically…
There is a dominant mid blue tone in this collage, and it’s what Greek (and Mediterranean) people in general would associate with: you can find it on every island, on window shutters, pottery, fishing boats, evil eye beads…and of course on the colour of the seawater.
Here I wanted to explore warm and hot colours and how they sit together - whether they fight each other or can live in harmony. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with reds and oranges (I find them too strong and very rarely wear or use them in my jewellery design).
This moodboard helped me appreciate them more: I love the collective energy and zing they give and I particularly like some of the examples that show off these colours. For instance, the blood-red line through cold white space, the glowing orange line through dense black and the orange, pink and red fabric which feels opulent and exotic. The overall mood is rich, vibrant and energising, which is where the ‘spice’ theme emerged.
Here I’ve collected pale, shimmering shades of white. I wanted to explore different whites - from pure, to tints with grey, yellow, blue and gold. I also wanted to see how whites placed together may contrast or work in harmony. I particularly wanted to capture shimmer, as it’s very relevant to precious metals. The overall effect is moody, calm, serene and soothing. Interestingly, the ‘heavenly’ theme wasn’t prescribed, but emerged once I reviewed some of the images I’d been collecting.
And finally... my palette
These are simply my favourite colours. They are all tertiary colours, some dusky, some bright, most high intensity. I realised long time ago that the shades I prefer are quite specific and can only be described by associating them with real life objects - e.g. lavender blue, strawberry red. I don’t like true blue or red half as much…
I tend to favour blue over yellow and red, so most of my shades contain more blue in the mix and less of the other two primaries.
My palette is shown here in a loose colour wheel. But some artistic license has been applied due to the exclusion of several basic colours (browns, greys and dark greens to mention a few). I had such fun making a collage out of magazine cut-outs back then. And seeing it again is making me instantly happy. What did I say before about the power of colour?