Process

PROCESS

In process: an interactive book commissioned by a local museum, to engage viewers of an upcoming book arts exhibition!

The book is a flag book, investigating color interactions, with text potentially added by the viewer/participants/co-creators.

The covers are made of book board, resurfaced with torn and crumpled pieces of unique “brown paper bag” colored folders, of  limited quantity, using neutral pH Lineco adhesive .

                      Corresponding stacked windows were cut into the front and back covers,
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through which file cards (the piece is partially composed of file folders, after all) of different colors, process1

or white…can be seen. The cover colors and composition will change, depending on which cards are used.process2

Within, untorn and uncrumpled pieces of the same file folders are folded into pockets, edges glued together with a  UHU acid free glue stick, one edge stitched with linen thread, and the other side glued to the book’s concertina spine.process3

The accordion spine is made of watercolor paper, resurfaced on the back with pieces of torn and singed rice paper. The edge of each fold is covered with the same folder material as the covers, and the inside of the spine. process4

The flag page pockets will have the same size and shape windows cut out of them, all aligning with the front and back cover windows, so that anyone can add and subtract file cards, changing the color balance and composition of the cover and contents.process6

In this way, the viewers can become true creative participants and co-creators of the piece, creating chromatic interactions and meditations through their own actions…interactions with it! 

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Color: Coming to (the) Terms

Color: Coming to (the) Terms

Hue: The “color of a color”. Hue is what we usually mean when we ask “what color is that?” Hue is the term for the pure spectrum colors commonly referred to by the “color names, such as red, yellow and blue. Different hues are caused by different wavelengths of light.

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Primary Colors: (Paint colors) Red, Blue, Yellow: the colors which cannot be mixed or created through combinations of other colors.

Secondary Colors: Mixtures of the primary colors: Purple, Orange, Green

Tertiary Colors: Mixtures of a primary and secondary color which are next to each other on the color wheel:: yellow-green, yellow- orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-green, blue-violet (For our purposes, we are using purple and violet to mean the same thing).

Complementary Colors: Colors which are opposite or across from each other on the color wheel. Combining complimentary colors can produce “neutral” browns and grays. . The complimentary pairs are made up of one primary and one secondary color: blue and orange, yellow and purple, and red and green are complimentary pairs.

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Saturation: Also known as “intensity,” saturation describes the strength of a color with respect to its value or lightness. Related to chromaticity, saturation tells us how a color looks under certain lighting conditions. A room painted a solid color will appear different at night than in daylight.Think about Saturation in terms of pale or weak and pure or strong, NOT light or dark.

In mixing colors hues can be desaturated (reduced in purity, weakened) in one of three ways: mix with white to lighten the value (tint), mix with black to darken the value (shade), or mix with gray or the complement to either lighten or darken the value ( tone).

Intensity: The terms Purity, Intensity, Saturation and Chroma are often used interchangeably when discussing color.

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Value: Lightness or darkness of a color, When we describe a color as “light” or “dark”, we are discussing its value. This property of color tells us how light or dark a color is based on how close it is to white. For instance, yellow would be considered lighter than navy blue which in turn is lighter than black.

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Tints: A color with white added to it.

Shades: A color with black added to it.

Tones: A color with gray added to it.

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Coming to Terms: Saturation & Intensity

Coming to Terms: Saturation & Intensity

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Many of us love to “geek out’ on color…whether it be with tools, materials or terms.  There isn’t always agreement about what each term actually means, and some of them seem to overlap.  Maybe some color terms cannot be neatly tied up in  one definition.

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Let’s perceive this post as an exploration, an investigation, and a drilling down into some of the color terms we use every day.  Well, the color terms we may use often, without truly thinking about it, or considering what they mean. Perception…that’s the ticket!  We’re going to take this slowly, step-by-step, working (and playing) through the terms, like Noah’s Ark, two by two. We started at the beginning, with Color &  Hue.  We worked  our way through Colorfulness  & Chroma. Now let’s look at the intertwined concepts of Saturation and Intensity.

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Many of us use the term “saturated” often…and the term “intensity” even more. But, what do they mean? is there even an agreement as to what they mean?

Saturation has been described as the strength of a color, the dominance, and/or vividness of hue in a color, the intensity of a color,, the degree of difference of a color from a gray of the same lightness or brightness as the color.  Saturation is one of the three aspects by which a color is described, the others being hue, and value.

We learned that “Colorfulness can be defined as ‘”the degree of difference between a color and gray…and Chroma is the colorfulness relative to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions.”

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Saturation may be defined as “the colorfulness of a color relative to its own brightness.”   or “ the degree to which it is different than gray at a given lightness.” Saturation measures the degree to which a color differs from a gray of the same darkness or lightness.

Thus, the Saturation aspect of a color may be defined as how far is from gray (“Colorfulness”), as regards to the aspect of “ visual perception in which a source appears to be radiating or reflecting light.”, or, Brightness. Thus Saturation relates to Brightness, which relates to to Luminance, which will be discussed in a subsequent post!

We have ascertained that “unpacking’ these Color Terms is akin to a a tongue-twister AND a brain-teaser!

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To desaturate, (lessen saturation, or make less intense, give the appearance of being less strong, or, less full of, color) in a subtractive system, such as paint color, gray, black, white, or the complement (the color opposite on the color wheel) of the color in question can be added.  All will serve to lessen the intensity, strength, “purity”, concentration, and / or colorfulness of the color, and thus make it less saturated.

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The term “Intensity” is often used interchangeably with “Saturation”, by painters and others.  I prefer to think of the term “Intensity” as a descriptor or adjective of “Saturation”.  Also known as “intensity,” saturation describes the strength of a color with respect to its value or lightness. What that means is a color’s saturation is the degree to which it is different than gray at a given lightness. For instance, colors near middle gray are relatively unsaturated compared to brighter, more vibrant colors….”–http://www.colorcube.com/articles/theory/theory.htm

“….saturation tells us how a color looks under certain lighting conditions. For instance, a room painted a solid color will appear different at night than in daylight. Over the course of the day, although the color is the same, the saturation changes. This property of color can also be called intensity. Be careful not to think about SATURATION in terms of light and dark but rather in terms of pale or weak and pure or strong.”http://www.colorcube.com/articles/theory/glossary.htm

Remember, Saturation is related to brightness, light, and luminance.

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Well, I hope your brain is not completely scrambled! It may be time to take a deep breath, relax, let our minds unwind, and take a moment to simply enjoy and revel in color…and saturate our soul and senses with it…pure, intense and full.

Coming to Terms: Colorfulness & Chroma

Coming to Terms: Colorfulness & Chroma

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Many of us love to “geek out’ on color…whether it be with tools, materials or terms.  There isn’t always agreement about what each term actually means, and some of them seem to overlap.  Maybe some color terms cannot be neatly tied up in even a colorful bow of one definition.

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Let’s perceive this post as an exploration, an investigation, and a drilling down into some of the color terms we use every day.   Well, the color terms we may use often, without truly thinking about it, or considering what they mean.  Perception…that’s the ticket!  We’re going to take this slowly, step-by-step, working (and playing) through the terms, like Noah’s Ark, two by two. We started at the beginning, with Color &  Hue.  Now let’s work our way through, and look at the inter-related terms Colorfulness and Chroma.

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Colorfulness:  The definition that made the most sense to me is: ‘”the degree of difference between a color and gray. “–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorfulness   In essence, Colorfulness is the level, or amount of color in a color! Not to be confused with “Hue“, or the “color of a color”. IE-the question,  “What color is it?” Relates to Hue, while “How full of Color is it?” relates to Colorfulness.

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Gray is a mixture of black and white, Grey or gray is an intermediate color between black and white, a neutral or achromatic color, meaning literally a color “without color.” To drill down a bit on “Gray”, and its components, Black and White: “Black…. is the darkest color, the result of the absence of or complete absorption of light. It is the opposite of white. ….the color the human eye sees when it looks at light which contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, at full brightness and without absorption. White does not have any hue.”

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Chroma may be described as “the colorfulness relative to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions.”  According to this definition, Chroma is a type, or aspect of Colorfulness, which relates to Brightness (which relates to Light, and  Lightness.)  This exploration  is becoming quite a tongue-twister as well as a brain-teaser!

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Thus, according to the above definitions, Chroma, means how far a color is from achromatic gray (Colorfulness),  as compared to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions.  Spoiler alert: “Saturation is the colorfulness of a color relative to its own brightness.     (We will get into Saturation, Brightness, Purity and Intensity in subsequent posts!)

Thus the term Chroma is associated with Brightness, or the perception of luminance.  I am repeating here, but sometime repetition helps us to drill down into, dissect and finally understand meaning.

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Well, that is about all the drilling down we have time for at the moment, so I  will leave You with my heartfelt wish that your Life be filled with as much Colorfulness, and the highest level of Chroma that you desire, with the Achromatic moments far and few between.  Unless you love shades of Gray, of course!

Brand of Colors: Color Etiquette for your Graphics

Brand of Colors: Color Etiquette for your Graphics

When friend, colleague and client Debbie Josendale  founder, creator, and president of 3C Marketing Group LLC contacted me to get my opinion on the colors in the graphic below, I dove in headfirst, and delivered an analysis of not only the colors, but their placement, qualities, and distribution.

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It is a process I find fascinating, and I never tire of both studying, and analyzing how, why, and where colors work best  for the purpose they are being employed…or not.  When the colors are “not working”, sometimes a slight tweak will do the trick; changing the placement, value, chroma, or saturation of a color, or how much of it is being used.  Other times, a greater overhaul of the color palette may be requited.

Debbie knew that something was not right in the graphic above…not in balance. She knew the feeling she wanted communicated wasn’t quite there yet.

I saw immediately that the central “bar” of color, surrounding the word “AUTHORITY” was too dark, and needed some brightness and warmth to fully communicate the idea of “AUTHORITY” as a positive, powerful, and in essence, beautiful thing to the viewer.  I suggested that instead of the deep, almost blackish green (on my screen, and in this age of individual internet screen and printers, who knows what any given pair of eyes is seeing…), that a a mixture of the top green, and bottom blue, IE, a warmer, clearer, yet still strong,  teal be used, to distill the positive message of leadership and problem-solving.

I also suggested that the lighter, brighter green, used at the bottom of the graphic be moved to the top, and the deeper blue at the top be used at the bottom, to “ground”  the “page”, as is done in architectural color consulting. Deeper, darker, and stronger color used on the foundation, or lower part of a building can “ground” it, making the building as a whole look more rooted, stable, and solid. By moving the green to the top of the “page” or view, I felt a more expansive, airy, and optimistic feeling could be created.

Finally, I advised that the top blue block, encasing the Map Marketing (TM) Method lettering be altered in some way that again, would make it less heavy, and also differentiate from the blocks of color below.  This is challenging, as this lettering/text serves as a logo, and thus changing even its scale could be tricky.

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Well, Deb  and her team made the majority of the adjustments I advised,  to the graphic.  Above you can see the beautiful teal color which replaces that dark blackish-green surrounding the word AUTHORITY”,  relieving it of that “black hole” feeling. Not only was the green from the original moved from the bottom of the piece to the top, but a cooler hue of green, closer to the central teal, and less yellow  is used, bringing the piece as a whole into greater color harmony. The blue at the bottom is also adjusted to be closer to the teal, a greener blue, rather than the original “royal” blue, and is now separated from the “title” color bar/block at the very top.

We are still working on what can be done with that top color block, which I feel still, is too strong and heavy, visually “bearing down” on the rest of the graphic. The left side of the top color “block” overhangs the words in color read sideways, which are surrounded by the white background, giving it the sense of being off-center, and bearing to the left.

Enlarging the white text inside that top blue block would alleviate this to some extent, but my advice would be to lose that top block of color altogether, and make the text itself blue, and maybe a bit larger and heavier, to fill the space.
We will see what 3C decides to do!

In any event, the general consensus is that the graphic as a whole is much improved, and better communicates the feeling its creator wants to project. Voila the power of color, how much of it is used, and where!

You can hear our “Color Muze” discussion on Rebecca E. Parsons‘s blog talk radio program, “Artistically Speaking Talk Show” on this subject, preceded by a wonderful interview with paper artist Helen Hiebert.  You can also catch previous “Color Muzes” here, in Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

From all of us to all of You: here’s wishing all of You the  right color mix for You and Your color needs…today!

Color Blossoms

Color Blossoms

Floral Inspiration for Color Palettes, Choices, and Combinations


Red, yellow and blue…the classic primary palette with a twist…the colors are warmer and lighter than “true” primaries…with the blue leaning towards the turquoise, the red to the orange, and the yellow a paler tint.

Red and black together can signify hatred, but not here.  The illuminated orangey-red flower hue,  the addition of green in the background and calming quality of the surrounding earth make this an energizing, and somehow ethereal combination.

Analogous colors  are next to each other on the color wheel, such as, yellow (a primary color) and orange (a secondary color). Because yellow is a part of orange, and red is a part of both orange and purple, there is an immediate harmony and relationship  between these colors.

Purple and orange are both secondary colors, which as mentioned above, share red as a “parent”.  With the surrounding green leaves, all three secondaries are represented, providing both balance, and visual interest.

We don’t speak of a “pale” red.  When red becomes lighter in value, tinted with white, it becomes pink. The strong intensity of  the  pink rose swathed in not quite complimentary green leaves is softened by the dots of yellow to one side of it, which relieves both our mental attention and our physical eyes.

  The yellow and orange “bouquet”, analogous colors again adjacent on the color wheel, rise out of a mass of green.  All three of which hues share yellow in common. The parchment and brick colors of the building serve as a harmonious backdrop, and do not compete with nature…


Blue, white, green…the colors of nature. Sky, clouds, and plants, with a slight yellow center in view.  Sunlight?  Think Greece, the Aegean Isles……the sea, the sky, white buildings in the distance, and a bright yellow sunflower flaunted by green pines.


Here, “black” earth surrounds brilliant yet tender hues of yellow, pink, red, and purple. Red and green are compliments, as are yellow and purple…thus providing the tension and the attraction of opposites.


Yellow has a direct relationship with green, being one of its “parent” colors, along with blue. The lighter value and greater intensity of the yellow above makes it pop, amidst the green.


A group of related colors, (hues of orange, including the brick wall) all have yellow in common, as do the green leaves.  The variation in value, intensity and tone of the colors, (and differences in texture of the natural, and made-made surfaces)  creates  visual interest, and  their inter-relatedness creates harmony,  thus a pleasing balance is achieved.

Tints of warm, edible-looking orange contrast with green leaves, which reflect the warmth and ruffly quality of the flower!

Our eye is led around the white on red table top, up the bright red vase, and into the glories of burgundy, violet, yellow and white, with some refreshing yellowing-green blossoms thrown in for good measure.  White softens the scheme, and relieves the richness of these very saturated colors. The red, burgundy and violet share red in common, the yellow and green, have yellow in common, the green and violet have blue in common, thus there is both contrast, and relatedness among the colors. The bright red is  the strongest in chroma, and draws our eye in and up to the floral arrangement.  The combination enlivens and energizes the table, the space, our appetites, and our minds, without overwhelming.

What color palettes for Your home, business or other spaces have been inspired by the glories and the subtleties, of nature?

Where  and how does color blossom for YOU?