How to Be Inspired by Color

Filed in Skill Building by on March 14, 2016 0 Comments

Being in Arizona has been a feast for the eyes. Beautiful sunsets, layered vistas, and the subtle colors of cacti have combined to enchant me.

How to be inspired by color

I’ve taken lots of photos, for sure, and of course my mind goes to using these images to inspire designs and color choices in my knitting. It follows though, that I don’t necessarily want a sweater with an actual visual representation of a sunset, or even the full range of colors found in a sunset. I may love the color of a cactus, but what if that type of gray-green is not in my usual color palette? Those are questions you may ask, and the good news is that color inspiration doesn’t have to mean perfect imitation. Be inspired by learning from natural colors, use your imagination, then apply them to your real life.

Here are 3 ways I use color inspiration from nature. What works for you?

  1. Go Micro. Instead of thinking of the whole combination of colors, look more closely at the details. You may not want to wear anything that brings to mind a sunset, but if you lean in beyond red, orange and yellow, you’ll notice blues, blacks, purples, nudes, neutrals, and pinks. You can choose one color or a simple combination to inspire your next project. Here is a color scheme taken by looking closely at the photo: Screenshot 2016-03-14 13.51.48 IMG_4906
  2. Take out the color. If you take a minute to learn how, you easily remove the color from a photo on almost any phone or computer. Looking at a colorful scene in black and white reveals contrast and texture. Can you utilize a stitch pattern that will give your piece interest without regard to color? Sometimes we think of contrast as black and white, but there can be contrast between more closely related tones, and subtlety in color and texture choices can create more interest than you might think. Could this photo be interpreted in undulating short-row stripes? Or an interesting black border?  IMG_4906 copy
  1. Think mood, not color. The feeling of a monochromatic desert scene is peaceful and timeless. If you hate green, gray and brown, could you use harmonious colors in another hue? A desert sky is intensely, relentlessly blue. It brings to mind clarity, because of the low humidity. If sky blue is not what you want next to your skin tone, could you use an equally clear shade of purple? sidebyside

I hope you’ll be inspired by what you see around you, especially now as the seasons are changing. Learn from nature how colors interact, then go beyond what you see to use these timeless principles in your own color choices.

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