This stage is where my interest really lies as I am fascinated in the way that colour affects our moods and can even change them but in practice trying to express yourself in colours and particularly in combination with marks is not that easy for me.
I am aware how much colour influences moods – a bright sunny yellow is seen as being, as the course material states, a symbol of light and sun but also with knowledge and understanding but it is also known as an energetic and lively colour and is often used for craft rooms or studies even if in paler tones. Purples can be seen as rich and deep and is associated with royalty but also higher spiritual realms. Blues are associated with cool and introversion but also mystical or ethereal as again the course material states but is also known as a healing colour and associated with the Virgin Mary in Christianity.
Colours are very much a part of religious beliefs and on a spiritual level are an integral part of the chakras of Eastern beliefs and are used extensively – yellow is the colour of the solar plexus and upper emotions, red the colour of family and roots, blue is the throat chakra and also associated with communication whilst indigo and violet are associated with the third eye and crown and these colours are used extensively consequentially. I mention the chakras because of personal interest and also an interest in using colour therapy with emotions.
I am very much aware of how I personally have used colours in the past and as previously mentioned previously painted silk scarves are quite enlightening to me now of the moods I was in at the time. I am also very much aware that there are days when I purposely choose to work with brighter colours or more muted or sometimes just black and white pencil sketches and these are indicative of my emotions – sometimes I choose a brighter palette to lift me and not just to express happiness or energy and sometimes I like to choose old muted colours which express a more introverted frame of mind. Now however I will start making a small note of the mood I was in at the time of a sketch and see how my sketchbooks and work are effected or whether using the colours change my emotions as I do them.
The idea of the exercises in this section was to explore my intuitive response to colour and also my likes and dislikes and the first exercise was easier in theory than in practice!
The course work suggested using pairs of words to try to express in colour and marks the emotions – the first set were ‘happy’ and ‘sad’. I chose the obvious colours of blues and purples for sad (‘feeling blue’) and tried to do downward strokes of flat smooth colour as feeling sad can also have feelings of ‘flatness’ and kept the marks simple. To contrast I chose bright happy colours of yellow and pink which mixed to produce orange to express happiness with curved marks and dots – I always associate polka dots with happiness for some reason and also happy smiley marks too.
‘Bright’ and ‘dull’ were the next suggested words and I chose similar colours to ‘happy’ with pinks, yellows and oranges but adding in emerald green too. I decided on bright circles, polka dots again and also flowers as I tend to associate the word ‘bright’ with ‘happy’ as it can be another adjective for it in some contexts but also the colours are bright and vibrant – the hues tend to be very rich and full of bright sky blues, emerald or leaf greens, yellows, oranges and pinks and some violets too. For the word ‘dull’ it was more difficult with the marks to express but the colours I chose were muted dark greys, browns and deeper greens or blues although I wished I had gone more along the lines of olive greens and a slate toned blue now.
I further tried the words ‘active’ and ‘passive’ as can be seen on the top left of the photo – again I struggled somewhat with the marks but found the colours easier. ‘Active’ I wanted fast straight lines or lots of wavy or squiggly lines in the bright oranges and reddish pinks but ‘passive’ I tried softer waves in muted purples and greens – I didn’t find ‘passive’ to be very successful and I am unsure about how I have expressed it.
I also tried the words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ which can be seen top right of the image. For love I am afraid I chose the obvious colours of pinks and purples in heart style shapes and little curvy petal style shapes – a bit cheesy but a word to be worked on in my colour sketchbook. For ‘hate’ I found it easier and used a similar colour palette to ‘anger’ below – reds and blacks but with arrows as if to point blame or to aim your anger at someone or something. The final two words ‘anger’ and ‘calm’ were easier – ‘anger’ involved fast and furious harsh lines and ‘calm’ the gentle blues and greens of the sea for me in gentle sweeping or straight lines and swirls.
I am not entirely happy with many of the words and as I have previously stated I do find the bright and happy colours and words easier to express than the opposite ones – I know I tend to steer away from depressive or harsh words and colours but also now fully appreciate that I may need to find a way to express them too in my textiles work. Words expressed in colour and marks is something I still need to work on further in my sketchbooks. I need to take note of my surroundings to see how colours and marks affect me and either photograph them or make brief sketches particularly if something evokes an emotional response and makes me feel happy, sad, dull or calm. With winter coming up at the time of writing I will also try to express how the weather can be expressed in colours and marks too with the emotions it causes – a dull rainy day is often expressed in greys and sharp lines with swirls for puddles and bright crisp frosty mornings that ‘warm your heart’ and make you feel good are often pastel icy hues.
For this exercise the instructions were to identify a colour mood or theme that I am really drawn to and put together a folder or bag with source images, threads, yarns and papers that will be used for future work. The instructions also noted to be aware of my responses to colour and to choose an image rich in colour – one thing I seriously love and is part of my theme book is sunsets with all the rich pinks, purples, oranges and yellows and so this photograph that I saved from Facebook (photographer unknown) was an easy choice. As per the course work this image has close tones within any one colour but tends to have analogous colours as opposed to complementary but I like the contrast with the silhouetted buildings so will look at one of the opposing colours that could be used instead of black (maybe a rich emerald green or turquoise). The photograph above shows part of my bag but I am now in the process of finding a suitable clear box instead – I am also keeping my theme bag close by too as this closely correlates with these colours and idea.
I find the colours rich and beautiful and also inspiring as they evoke emotions of calm as you watch a beautiful sunset and are a delight to work with – I am aware that I have been drawn to these for some time as my daughter wanted her new quilt in hot pinks, oranges and violets which were not colours I had ever worked with before (I detested orange before that quilt but now my smallest bedroom is having one wall painted it!). I am finding I like the contrasts with the turquoise blues or emerald greens but also a more slate grey that really brings out the beautiful hues in these colours – I like neutral tones that calm more energetic colours too.
Much to my surprise I am finding my colour choices are already beginning to change (except for the ones in the bag!) and I am already thinking much more about how I choose colours and in what way – during the writing up of the first four stages of this blog I have reorganised my yarn bags and some are just done in single colour bags but some are more mixed e.g. a bag of brights, or pastels, or for my theme which is Alaskan colours or a bag of muted tones too.