naturally dyed cotton sateen, 2009
Ideas are everywhere: look up and down, look all
around, look inside and outside.
There is so much color to absorb, to process. How do we collect color for our work? How are we inspired by it if we are so overwhelmed by it? How do we use color to find inspiration? Creativity is the ability to imagine and innovate. It involves experimenting, gaining understanding about materials and basic principles, all the meanwhile embracing serendipity. See color as creative exploration.
- Identify colors in your environment. Start “seeing” color in the landscapes that you are part of: what are the colors of Morning, Midday, Evening, and Night? What are the hues, intensities and values?
- Begin to pay attention to the subconscious color choices you are making.
- Observe memories, emotions, outside influences and possible colors associated with them. What are your reactions? Do certain colors make you respond emotionally?
- Use a camera to document the colors you see. Sort images into groups of colors, forms or textures. Begin to assemble relationships between your images.
- Make color collages (use home, garden, cooking, clothing magazines and catalogs). Gathering free color is helpful when experimenting with color groups and how the colors work against each other or with each other in a composition.
- Cloth and yarn are excellent materials to collect for color, texture and pattern relationships.
- Paint chips are free in home improvement stores and allow you to be playful with color combinations without cost.
- Juxtapose colors collected with cultural images found in magazines or from your own travels. Begin to find your own relationships with color.
- Observe objects, environments, landscapes. What colors are you seeing? What is reoccurring in the landscape? How does the light change?
- Places and topics to look for, watch, research and observe: Outside: backyard, botanical gardens, city parks, Historical and Current Trends: museums, books, magazines, Color Theory: understand formal principles and ideas and your personal intuition about color, Living Philosophies: Feng Shui, other spiritual or cultural practices, Color Therapy & Psychology: personal & market expression, Decorative Elements: color trends in fashions and in homes, kitchens, bathrooms, Taste: food is very colorful and seductive, Experience: draw from personal experience and put together your own collection of colors, Cultural: traditions and symbols, Museums: local and travelling exhibits.
- Begin a collection of objects to build Color Boxes.
- Create your own library of references and resources. Visual libraries are very important. Be sure to document locations.
- Gardens are spectacular sources of color, form, shape, texture, wildness. They are full of foliage, flowers, blossoms, fruit, light, shade.
- Observe marketplace colors and trends. Are you repelled or attracted to them? Why?
- Keep a sketchbook of inspirations, shapes, forms, colors, thoughts.
- Discuss what you are seeing and reading with others so you are not working in a vacuum.
- Create a Color Vocabulary List, including descriptive words, inspirations, feelings, associations and representations of each color on the color wheel.
- Food is full of color and we interact with it everyday. What colors are you eating? What colors are you craving?
- Follow the Seasons. See not only the changing colors but also the symbolic transformations. Seasons develop natural color, they are part of the cycle.
“Success relies on the cultivation of inspiration.”