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.

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.

Clayathon 2010

I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Wilma Yost of Polymer Clay Express demonstrating the Dream Machine and trying it out for myself, watching Melanie West’s demos, catching some of Arlene Groch’s enthusiasm or having uninterrupted time to continue working through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

I clayed, drank whiskey, sat up until 7:00 am one night (morning?) claying and chatting, made new friends and saw old ones.
Everyone had a wonderful, relaxing time.  See you in 2011!

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!