Bargello Exercise (and Bracelet!)

Here is my take on the Bargello Bead exercise  from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.     I started the exercise  by picking three three colors from my collage.  Then  I  located them on  a  color scale I’d made to give me some idea of how to mix them.

I made a new batch of my primaries first.  I found I had problems  mixing my magenta,  even though I’ve mixed it countless times!   I had to put in more medium red to get the right color this time.   I think it’s because  I had used my old Premo fuchsia in the batches I’m mixed before,  but the brand spanking new package I used this time came from a different  dye lot.  But I got the color I wanted  by altering the mix a little bit at a time.

Then I   mixed the  orange, green and purple from the collage.  I found I needed more blue to make the purple  in the collage.  I added it bit by bit until my purple resembled the color from the magazine clipping.  The picture below shows the finished purple with a bit of the color I had originally mixed on top of it.


Here are the finished colors.

The object of the exercise is to mix  increasing amounts of mud into your three colors so you can see how it makes the colors shift.  I am leaving out  parts of the exercise, but all the information is in the book.

I got a surprising (to me) result.  Look at the picture below.  The purple in the stripes on the right shows hardly any gradation.  This was a “smack myself on the forehead” moment for me, as I remembered that darker colors shift less that lighter ones.  I added some white to the purple and  made the sheet on the left.  You can see the purple color shift in that one.  Much more interesting.

The next part of the exercise is to slice strips and lay them on a sheet of mud to make patterns.  Here are some examples.

Then I started to make the beads.  You don’t see any here because   my attempts at bargello  beads are now vying for a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Ugly.  In a moment of inspiration,  however, I grabbed a bracelet blank I bought from Melanie West and made a bargello bracelet instead.

OK, what did I learn?   I got a practical example of the way colors shift and how darker colors shift less.  I also feel a bit empowered because I was able to replicate the colors from the collage and correct color problems.  For me, that is a giant leap forward.

Trying Color Scale Triangles

Here are  pictures of some more of my latest forays into Polymer Clay Color Explorations.


The advantage of making color scale triangles is that you get to see a bigger sampling  of the colors you can mix with your primaries — the eggplants and the browns, for example.  I know I don’t usually mix these colors except by accident.    After I finished a couple of triangles, I was struck by how appealing some of these colors can be and how in the color mixing I had been doing, I had been limiting myself to “safe” predictable colors (like white and a touch a green makes mint).  The color scale triangles let me see the  nuances that emerged with each color combination.

This exercise is more than academic.  Since it requires you to document your color mixtures,  you come away with a concrete idea of how you got every color in the triangle. The practical application is that when you want to mix a particular color- say something you saw in a magazine, and the exact color is not in your triangle, you have a good idea of what colors you need to start with, and what  to add to the mixture, to get the shade you want.  Amazing!

These two triangles are similar, but the one on the left uses slightly different blue and magenta primaries than the one on the right.

This is a “color wheel” that I mixed with my primaries going from my yellow to my blue,  my blue to my magenta, and my magenta to my yellow.  The colors in the middle of all of the scales are made of 1/2 of the base color and 1/2 white.

My primaries are: Yellow-1/2 zinc and 1/2 cadmium with a pea of white, Magenta-3/4 fuchsia and 1/4 medium red with a pinch of white and Blue: 7/8 ultramarine and 1/8 cobalt with a pinch of white.

Watch Maggie Maggio’s excellent video on mixing color scale triangles for a thorough explanation of the exercise.

Color Scales Are Addicting and Surprising

When I tackled the color scales exercises in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations, I learned that they are addicting to make and yield surprising results. I mixed three color scales  for  each warm and cool packaged Premo color using  the yellows (cadmium, zinc and fluorescent) as my light colors. The cool colors were  ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, turquoise, sea green, green, and fluorescent green.  The  warm colors were  alizarin crimson, medium red, cadmium red, florescent red, fluorescent pink, fuchsia, purple, violet, and orange.  I also mixed a black and white color scale (or value scale), for the heck of it.

And boy, I got some surprises!  I used to love cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue, but after mixing the color scales, I found that mixtures made with zinc yellow and cobalt blue  produced colors that were more attractive to me.  I had hardly ever touched fluorescents before, but I learned that they can produce vibrant colors that don’t look gaudy.

I also discovered,  much to my delight, that purple, violet, and fuchsia mixed with the yellows produce some yummy shades of caramel and chocolate.

After completing thes exercise I ended up changing the mixtures in my personal palette.  Before, my blue was  1 oz ultramarine blue with a pea of fuchsia and white;  my yellow was  1 oz cadmium yellow with a pea of fuchsia and white;  and my magenta was  1 oz fuchsia with a pea of white.

This is my improved personal palette:  blue:  7/8 oz cobalt, 1/8 oz ultramarine, and a pea of white; yellow:  ½ oz cadmium yellow and ½ oz zinc yellow and a pea of white;   magenta: ¾ oz fuchsia, ¼ oz medium red and a pea of white.  I’ll use this to complete my first color scale triangle.  Stay tuned.

I am beginning to get an idea of the colors can do.

My Palette, Color Scales and an Exercise

As I continue to work my way through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations, I am finding new color formulas and combinations that are more interesting than the color palettes I was most comfortable with when I started.

I am currently making color scales (with side diversions into mold making and resin jewelry-I’ll post on that later) and finding that color mixtures I thought would be attractive don’t interest me at all and formulas that I never dreamed would have worked are wowing me. It’s one surprise after the other. I am starting to see the bigger color picture.

After doing the collages, I mixed my personal palette based on combinations of fuchsia, cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue. The pictures below show the resulting color scales, the collage they’re based on, and the pinch petal necklace exercise. (You make a multi part Skinner Blend from your palette colors, wrap it around a black and white Skinner Blend, and make petal beads in gradating colors that you have to keep in order while baking and stringing them.)  I like my necklace, which I’ve strung  on memory wire,  but I think my personal palette is no longer my favorite palette. Am I palette fickle?   After I finish the color scales, I’ll reassess. And so the journey continues.

More Fun with Color Collages

I forgot to include the twisties and turnies made with the green and purple Skinner Blend in  last week’s post. So, here they are. The inside of the blend is .75 oz zinc yellow and .50 oz green that I tinted with a smidgen of white until I got the color I wanted. The purple is .75 oz purple and .25 oz ultramarine blue.

It’s a lot easier easier to test mix colors in small batches. I’ve started working with clay sheeted on the pasta machine’s thickest setting and cut with a 3/4 inch Kemper cutter. I can divide the squares and make tiny test samples while still keeping track of the proportions. It saves time and clay.

And Now on to the collages!  In Polymer Clay Color Inspirations, Maggie Maggio and Lindley Haunani suggest taking  a few of your collages, cutting them into strips and then  reassembling them into a strip collage  to get the overall feel of the color combinations.        I did my cutting and pasting on my computer and the exercise gave me a new perspective on the colors I chose. All this information is still piling up in my brain and I’m not sure where I’m going with it yet. But it’s fun and interesting

Here are some examples of my strip collages.

I wanted to examine the relative values of my color choices so I made grayscale versions of the collages. To see what my collages look like in grayscale, press here.

Collages and Color Choices

In my post on Clayathon 2010, I mentioned that I continued to work through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations while I was there.

I went armed with a notebook filled with collages I put together in a collage making frenzy a few weeks before. I’m not going to mention how many I made, but I had so much fun experimenting with different colors and palates that I will probably die with collages.

I read the Ruffle Spiral Brooch project and started making Skinner Blends. Then I decided to diverge from the book and started making twisties and turnies from the colors I mixed to go with the collages. I don’t plan to do anything with them; I was simply trying to stretch beyond my color comfort zone and see if I could mix colors that looked happy on the collages. Here are the results.

Here are a few of the Tasting Tiles I made.    Betcha can’t make just one.

I’ll put up more pictures of the exercises as I work my way through the book.

My Pivot Beads

Here are my pivot beads from the exercise in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. The top pictures show the pivot color variations mixed according to the directions in the book. You apply thin sheets of the colors over thin sheets of the stripes. One of the purposes of the exercise is to show what effect stripes of black, white and gray have on the  layers of color applied over them. Even though I took a Watercolor Technique class with Maggie Maggio some time ago, what I learned there is starting to make more sense.  On to color collages!

To see some of my interpretations of the Watercolor Technique, press here, here, or here.

This just in!   I was thrilled to see that  Seth Savarick  has an article in the latest issue of  Art Jewelry Magazine on how to make his distinctive, lightweight bangle.  I have taken two classes with Seth and he has taught me so much about craftsmanship-an area where I can aways improve.  He also inspired me to learn how to burn my own screens for printing on polymer clay.  I wrote two articles explaining the process that appear in the Fall 2007 and Winter 2007-2008 issues of  Polymer Cafe.  You can order the back issues to  find out how to do it with a Speedball kit and some inexpensive equipment.   And if you have the chance to take a class with Seth, don’t pass it up!

I’m Inspired!

I have started to work through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations: Techniques and Jewelry Projects for Creating Successful Palettes, and am quickly becoming obsessed with what this wonderful book by Maggie Maggio and Lindly Haunani has to offer.

I decided to limit myself to Premo in order to limit my choices and because that’s the clay I usually use. I completed the package color testing exercise and made a value sorter.

S1 VT1VT2VT3


This was getting interesting. Terms like tint, shade and value started to make more sense. I read about pivot tiles and made six of them.PT1PT2

I was so fascinated by the color shifts that I made six more pivot tiles with different colors.

PT3

PT4

Then I made clay plugs from the leftover colors this time, extruded them and made canes.   Since each cane started from the same pivot color, they all work on some level.  Now I am hooked.  To pivot beads and beyond!!!

PC

I found a neato color test you might want to try.  Go to the Pratt and Lambert site and find out what color personality you have.

What’s Your Favorite Color?

Adobe has a neat, free on line tool called Kuhler (pronounced cooler) that lets you play with color. After you open a free account, you can even upload pictures and pull palettes from them. See my picture below.

FXK

Here’s a good tutorial on how to use Kuhler.

What got me on this Kuhler/color obsession? Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio’s magnificent new book, Polymer Clay Inspirations: Techniques and Jewelry Projects for Creating Successful Palettes. This winter, a friend and I plan to work our way from one end of the book to the other. When we come up for air, maybe I’ll have something new to show you.

CE

More Pictures from Synergy

The only problem with claiming that you took more than 300 pictures is that not all of them turn out.   But never mind.  There are some more pictures of old friends and new acquaintances all having a good time at Synergy.   And I still have more to come. But someone is going to have to tell me who that is sitting with Melanie West.  It’s a great picture of Melanie and I forgot who the other gal is!