Catch the Wave: Alter a Palette for Fun!

In my last post, I introduced you to the idea of easily expanding the color range of a basic color palette by using the Mosaic filter in Photoshop. Now, starting with that expanded palette, we’ll take it to another level to create The Confetti Wave Palette! And when we’re done, I’ll show you some of my favorite ways to use this super-fun new version.

Let’s start with a new palette, with a sneak preview:

From palette to party!
If your simple palette needs a little dressing up, transform it into this party-worthy version, complete with confetti!

Continue reading

Autumn Palettes: Variations on a Leafy Theme

I was out for a walk the other day, impulsively snapping pictures right, left, and center (and a few overhead) with my iPhone, while admiring the gorgeous autumn leaves. When I got home, I took a look at my photos, and as usual this time of the year, felt like I didn’t come close to capturing all the brilliance of the colors I had seen. Here’s one example:

Leaf photo (original)
Leaf photo (original). Compared to how I know these colors look in reality, this looks quite faded to me. (This photo is shown as it was taken with my iPhone, completely unretouched.)

Okay, not a great photo. Nevertheless, I think it could still generate some nice color palettes. Let me just ask you first, though:

What colors do you see?

Did you say red? Yellow? Pink or gold? Me too. Then I loaded the photo into my ColorSchemer Studio software, and this is what it generated automatically:

Barking palette
“Barking” palette. 4 of the 5 colors came from the bark; the peach color came from part of the leaf. (Click the palette to see it, and my other palettes, on ColourLovers, a fantastic color-centric site.)

Tip: I like to use ColorSchemer Studio to initially generate my palettes, then I duplicate them on the ColourLovers site, using the hex-number color identifiers from ColorSchemer Studio. Personally, I find it easier to tweak the colors and experiment with alternative palettes off-line.

However, you can do all this directly on ColourLovers; hover your mouse over the Tools menu near the top of the page, and scroll down to COPASO. From there, you can import a photo. (As far as I know, you do need to set up a free ColourLovers account first.)

Going back to ColorSchemer Studio, I moved the white color-picker circles around until I got this palette:

Screen Shot
ColorSchemer Studio screen shot of my second leaf palette. You can see the white color-picker circles that can be moved around to find the colors you want. ALso note the hex number in the upper right corner; this is the identifier for the selected color, the one with the white line connecting the circle to the color swatch. (Click the photo to find out more about ColorSchemer Studio software.)

And here’s the finished palette in ColourLovers:

Coral Leaf palette
Coral Leaf palette. This is the opposite of the Barking palette: 4 colors are from the leaf, and the taupe is taken from the bark. (Click the palette to see it on ColourLovers.)

I was going to do a third palette, but I think I will do that in my next post; right now, I think it would be a good idea to talk about ways to actually use these palettes.

Let’s start with Barking. Clearly, it’s quite dark, except for the lighter grey and bright pop of peach; where could this be put to use? Funny, the first thing that comes to my mind is a bedroom. I know the modern trend is to have bigger bedrooms, the theory being they can become multi-purpose rooms, but personally, I like a bedroom to be dedicated to sleeping. (Okay, maybe also for coffee and crossword puzzles on a lazy morning.) If you picture a room in which most of Barking’s darkest colors happen in solid wood furniture, it could make sense, especially with sheets and an accent pillow or two in the peach and silver shades. And I could see a Berber-style carpet in one of the lighter grey tones.

Moving on to Coral Leaf, my first inclination is to use it in a wardrobe context. In warm weather, I could see a creamy, pale-gold linen dress, worn with coral, pink, and peach accessories (multiple mixed-texture bangle bracelets in assorted colors, deep coral-red shoes, print scarf), with a taupe clutch to ground all the soft floral tones. (Red lipstick would be a nice finishing touch too.) In cooler times, perhaps taupe wool trousers with a cozy sweater striped in corals and pinks, pale gold leather gloves, and red shoes.

Well! I don’t know about you, but neither of these palettes was what I had in mind when I was thinking about doing a post on autumn-inspired color palettes. This is a good reminder to really look at everything, or rather, to see what we’re looking at— the whole picture, background and all.

Please note: I don’t get anything at all out of telling you about either ColorSchemer Studio or ColourLovers; they’re just (respectively) software and a website that I really like. If that changes, I’ll let you know immediately.

Spooling Colors: A Self-Created Palette

I was working on a sewing project the other day, and was changing thread colors on my sewing machine. Without really looking at what I was doing, I set down the sage green spools I’d been using (laying them behind the machine so they wouldn’t roll off the slightly sloping table). Something back there caught my eye, and I suddenly noticed that I had put the green spools down on top of a zip-top bag with a couple other spools inside it. This is exactly what I saw:

Thread palette My impromptu thread palette Continue reading

L on Wheels

This palette started in the most inauspicious way: I had bought a bundle of 6 skeins of yarn, different fibers all dyed at the same time, in burgundy and gold. It wasn’t until I had triumphantly spread them out at home that I realized… they really weren’t that attractive. In fact, they reminded me more than anything of college team colors. I prefer a blended, Impressionist-style look to the colors in my knitwear designs, so this ultra-contrasty color combination was, frankly, turning me off. (For some reason, it never occurred to me to simply return the yarns!) What could I do?

I decided the best make-a-silk-purse strategy was to develop a color palette, starting and ending with the burgundy and gold, with colors in between that would hopefully create a smooth transition. After a lot of experimenting, I actually came up with 3 different options, all varying rather wildly from each other; L on Wheels* is the one I decided to use for this particular sweater project.

L on Wheels palette:
L on Wheels palette. Click the palette to see it on my ColourLovers page!

Continue reading