Behind the Mask 3

Behind the Mask 3

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB1The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB3made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts,

WEB6 hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made from recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB5It is a joy to play with color and  the tension of opposites.  Here the compliments blue and orange, are couched in bright white, reflecting flag colors of red, white and blue, with a twist.

WEB4The stitched, or “lashed” edges are inspired by  medieval clothing and lacing.

WEB2

Braided ties can keep the books closed, and the pages are blank.

All the better of stashing secrets!

 

Advertisements

The Gift of Compliments

The Gift of Compliments

Today we are celebrating the complimentary pair, yellow and purple, which shows up in nature, architecture and signage, but can always take our breath away.

Compliments1

Opposite each other on the color wheel…the pair creates both harmony and drama, the contrast of which can be softened by the hues of their surroundings.

Compliments2

If complimentary colors are mixed together, they “neutralize” each other’s color “properties (akin to mixing black and white ), and can create beautiful grays and rich browns.

Compliments3

Juxtaposing yellow and purple can create instant associations: royalty (royal purple and gold), springtime (purple crocuses with yellow centers), and holidays (I will let You figure that one out…).

But most often, I feel, our reaction is simply that of pure joy.

Color…is energetic…so…  EnJoy!

 

Everything in the Garden: A Short Saga of Color and Light

Everything in the Garden: A Short Saga of Color and Light

WEB2Starting with a journey from the Inside Out…one extraordinarily light-filled early evening.  Sunlight beckons.

WEB3Sunlight floods the garden, causing my camera to capture what just might be a mini-UFO, standing out rad against the green.

WEB4Catching the roses blushing against stucco.  Compliments green and pink (“light red”) create old world charm.

WEB5Yellow windblown roses explode out of luxuriant green bushes. They seem to be reaching for something…moisture?

WEB6Red and white stripes hover shyly behind leaves.

WEB8A  twist of tendrils around a solo pink blossom.

WEB7Pièce de résistance du jardin…perhaps its highlight….this perfect peach rose.

WEB9Fresh and cool, these beautiful whites light our way home like stars when the sun sets.

WEB9aTo the purple side of pink.  These keep us in the Pink…and strike us pink at the same time.

WEB9cLines of moire…and shadow of palm fronds create optics on the wall…a trick of light, shadow, and the distance between things.

WEB9bA natural mural composition.  This arresting composition yearns to be painted.

 

Compliments of the House, Inside and Out

Compliments of the House Inside and Out

Thinking about systems of opposites..which is exactly what complimentary colors are..colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.

Sets of compliments are created from the combination of one of the three primary colors (those which cannot be mixed from any other colors: Red, Yellow, Blue), and one of the secondary colors (a color created from a combination of two of the primaries: Green, Orange, and Purple).

Color Wheel

Red and Green, Blue and Orange, and Yellow and Purple are the complimentary sets.  These powerful pairs play together in any number of ways. Like the relationship of black to white, they set each other off when placed next to each other, and “neutralize” each other when mixed together, creating potentially gorgeous  hues of gray.

Pairs of compliments can be used to great effect, and are big fun to design with. They can be used as accents, as a background and an accent, to create a sense of drama, or just to wake up our senses.  They can be found in nature…think of a field of red poppies amidst green grasses, a glowing orange sun sinking past a midnight blue horizon, a creamy yellow moon rising against a velvety purple sky.

Ben_a

Green leaves outside and green window shades  inside set off the red and cream hand-painted design atop a Northern California Benihana Restaurant.

blush_a

We can almost taste the predominant apple green in this San Francisco Blush Organic Frozen Yogurt, and its intensity is heightened by the streaks of red framing the counter.

GreenDoorjamb

“Pale” red…or, pink…sets off the strong, brilliant, almost fluorescent looking green. Because this pink is softer and paler than red, the intensity of putting the two together is mitigated, and gives the sense of Springtime holidays, rather than those of Winter!

0PUB 4

Here it is the green that is softer than the red…a minty, slightly earthy hue that relieves the strong pinky red, but also allows it to remain dominant.

entry_a

Copper, a form of orange, frames the mottled blue of this entryway and makes it pop.

Syn 2 b

The strong orange accent brings the weathered blue into focus, and is framed by it, the whole softened by white.

entry

Copper against blue, mottled with a rusty hue illustrates the opposite effects of complimentary pairs: The orangey copper stands out against its blue compliment, which is  toned down by the addition of orangey red sponged over it.

WEB bo1

Orange and blue, the colors of fire and water (themselves opposites), work together to create a sense of drama in this otherworldly setting. or is it a film set?

WEBd1

The new Dunn Edwards Paints Store in Marina Del Rey, CA uses the tension of opposites between orange and multiple blues to great effect!

WEB4

Turquoise and brick red, another version of the blue and orange complimentary pair play well together on this house in the foggy Sunset District of San Francisco.

arch

Gold and purple, a version of the compliments yellow and purple, are both associated with royalty, which add to their sense of drama, intensity, and just plain awesomeness when paired.

arch_b

The yellow ceiling gradates to orange, and provides sharp contrast to the purply-wine walls. Those who live here would have to love strong color!

WEB3

Creamy yellow both accents and relieves the dominant  periwinkle hue making it easier for our eye to rest upon it, and also more visually arresting. A beautiful combination!

WEB2

The yellow/purple compliments of ochre and wine, relieved and softened by white, accent the multitudinous ornament of this Victorian in glorious detail.  Without the white though,  the intensity might be tiring to our eyes. The white soothes and frames the punch that the complimentary relationship packs.

How have You used compliments, and the complimentary relationship in your creative endeavors? Architecture, design, color consulting…personal art and craft pieces?  Please share and enjoy, compliments of the house!

Brand of Colors: The Power of Compliments

Brand of Colors:  The Power of Compliments

When my colleague Debbie Josendale, of 3C Marketing Group, asked me to consult on colors for one of her client’s visual identity, which encompasses its  brand / branding, I was intrigued.  I had a deep purple color in front of me as a starting point, but knew that it was too dark and somber to represent what I understood her client’s message to be.

I read up on the client, I played with colors, I visualized, and knew that purple would be one of the colors involved.  And the obvious choice of a secondary “partnering” color would be its compliment, gold. Purple and yellow, violet and gold…these are combinations which are opposite each other on the color wheel.  They are sets of compliments, of opposites. They are complimentary colors and being opposites, set each other off in high contrast, much in the way that black and white do.  So that the color design wouldn’t be garish, I chose hues that were somewhat toned down, rather than bright, though they are strong and saturated. There is a slight earthiness to these colors, that I felt better communicated the feeling of the brand.  Color design for the visual identity of a business can also be tricky in this regard: the colors may look different on different computer screens, and even when printed on different papers or surfaces, and by different companies. The colors are used throughout the client’s site.

Print

The symbolism, and associations of the chosen colors are also important in determining their meaning, resonance, and appropriateness for the brand and its story.  In a future post, we will  look at the color choices from the vantage points of:

The Energetic (the chakras, and their meanings, associations and influences), The Associations we have with these colors, (What they express, or represent) and their associations with the other senses (Sensory).  What does purple “taste” like?  How heavy does gold “feel”?

Visit us again to find out….and learn more about the wild, wooly and wonderful world of Color!

 

Color: A Balancing Act 3

Color: A Balancing Act 3

 Between Unity and Complexity: Achieving Balance

GreenDoorjamb

As discussed in previous posts, color balance in our environments can have a profound effect on our health and well-being. The “emotional loading of a space” in architectural psychology terminology, is the emotion we feel when we perceive color in a space. Perception happens in the brain, and is a process. What we perceive, as regards to color, and thus the resulting emotion, may be influenced by many factors, such as the size and shape of the space we are in, the interplay of the colors that are there, our state of mind, and, of course, the light. I would go so far as to include pattern and texture, weather (affecting the natural light which may be entering  and thus informing the space), cultural associations with the colors used, and our own personal associations with them.

So complex! But also, so much fun. Evocative. Provocative.

archFBa

Unity and complexity are two opposite poles, unity related to parts fitting into a coherent whole, and complexity involving variation.  Both are important.  Too much unity, and we can experience monotony and sensory deprivation, in a word, under-stimulation. Symptoms can manifest such as irritation, restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, and interestingly, excessive emotional response.  Why? As I understand it, because  we do not have enough to capture our attention, indeed, perhaps to distract us from our emotions, or to direct them.  As color consultant Helen Gurura says, “People expect all their senses to be moderately stimulated at all times.”  What is the key here? The word “moderately”.  As the saying goes…“All things in moderation…even-  moderation!”

BLOG1

On the other end of the spectrum, we have complexity, which in the extreme, can lead to over-stimulation. and increase muscular tension, pulse rate and blood pressure. Hmmm…not good. Too much saturated color, brightness and pattern demand  attention both voluntary and involuntary. This can mess with our capacity to concentrate visually and thus interfere with tasks that require this, resulting in among other things, lowered productivity.

Blog1,jpg

Thus we see that both over and under-stimulation can impair our concentration..one by not giving us enough to focus on, the other by giving us too much.  In both cases we get distracted…by having not enough to see, or by being inundated by too much visual stimuli!

Our goal is balance, the balance between these two extremes, and apparently our minds, bodies, and perhaps our souls and spirits too, crave it.

dj_a

Let’s see how balance, or, “the securing of unity in the midst of variety”,  is achieved in the following spaces, visual environments, and color schemes.  We are all human, and require certain things to stay alive, and to thrive.  However our personal tastes, needs and requirements may differ, based on our genetic make-up, backgrounds, psychology, and cultural influences.  There is no one-size fits all for design. Most of us know this from experience. We may need to “play around’, to discover what fits, or “works for”  us best at any given moment, knowing that this may very well change over time!

1st_aThe inhabitant of this sleek urban space wanted a minimum of color. Warm wood, and neutrals punctuated by crisply framed black and white photographs gave her what she wanted, and saved her from the dangers of monotony, sensory deprivation, and under-stimulation. A favorite painting adds a tiny pop of color, and a variety of materials and light-reflective sheens add visual interest without bringing too much complexity into the space.

1st

bernalRed plays a starring role in this open plan kitchen/living room, adding strength to both spaces in the accent wall below the bar. The warmth of red, wood and rug is offset by the  white trim, and cool metal of the bar stools. Red is often used as an appetite-stimulating color in dining spaces. Here it is kept to an accent, so as not to overwhelm the space and our senses.

lomThis bedroom is in a condo that serves as an “urban getaway for its owners, who wanted a space both warm and restful for their city place, and  high on the “unity” end of the color balance spectrum.  Use of creams, ochres, and warm woods achieve this, while the painting brings in some drama and contrast (IE variety and thus complexity), while staying within the chosen color scheme.

soulAnother use of red as accent, doors are a popular surface for red hues. (Why? Check out this Houzz article on the subject!). The red door of Soulful Pilates Studio in San Francisco (painted red on both sides) ushers students and practitioners into a serene, yet energetic space. Like the bedroom above, warm, creamy ochres are used, but the palette is enlivened by colorful mats, and equipment sporting a variety of textures. The red, intense by contrast, adds complexity by creating a focal point expressing the idea of passing from the outside world to the internal realm, both mentally and physically. A multitude of windows add more visual interest, and plenty of light to the space during the day, as well as framing street “scenes”. Below, the purple mat provides pleasing and complimentary contrast to the golden walls.

soul_e

spear_eCream, red and strong pattern are used to great effect in this Parisian-inspired living/dining area,  another example of an urban “get-away” for the owners. Detail, but a minimum of artwork was added to the walls to break them up visually, and our eye is drawn down the “walkway” to the brilliantly colored and patterned curtains at the end of the corridor. The hue on the wall matches the cream in the curtains, reducing visual complexity through a limited color scheme, and the smooth, polished wooden floors warm and ground the animated, yet elegant space.  The heavy, dark painting is offset by playful patterns, streamlined ornamentation, and  an illusion, of retrained opulence. Comme que c’est tres-francais!

spear_f

There are many ways to visually balance an environment, and the approach may be different for each person.  You may try changing paint colors, adding or subtracting pattern and texture,  curating works of art, decorative items or textiles, rearranging furniture, or even changing your floor surface…with a rug, a coat of paint, or just a bit of “spit and polish”.

I hope this series of posts on Color: A Balancing Act has offered some insight into how to better live and thrive in your environment, and have more fun in it too.  Color, like most things worth investigating, is a life-time study.  Mysterious,energetic, scientific, emotional and physical…it truly seems to weave its own magic, and power.

May You use it well!

Featured Work- Soulful Journey

Featured Work: Soulful Journey

Soulful Pilates Studio recently opened its red doors  in the Haight-Ashbury / Cole Valley neighborhoods of San Francisco.  It  is  owned and operated by Veronique and Walter Thoma.  I had the privilege,  referred by beloved vendor,  Creative Paint,  to take a soulful journey with Veronique and Walter and help them select paint colors for the interior of the Studio.

The Challenge:

To create a serene, yet energizing atmosphere of warmth, support, and intimacy in a somewhat cavernous space with high ceilings, punctuated by a pole.   To create a space which is soothing and cheerful, yet energetic and alive.

Veronique knew she wanted Soulful’s color journey to start with yellow.  But how to find a yellow that would work over such a large surface area, yet not be overpowering, jaundiced, blinding, distracting, too bright, too drab, too gold, or too muddy?  We sampled a number of hues, but none were right. When the Thomas showed me a tiny color swatch they had found at a small boutique paint company,  I was able translate that vision into the 2154 strip of colors found in the Benjamin Moore Color Preview fan deck.  By using a system of colors that were inter-related, we were able to create interest, variety, and subtle accents in the large space, without the complications of choosing other hues, which could busy the space, creating distraction for the students.  A strong, vital red on the doors (points of entry and passage) and the bench (place of rest and changing shoes) animated the space, providing contrast and energy.

Soulful Door

The exterior of the front door was already painted in an earthy red, and we took that idea to the interior.  The door now functions as an accent which can energize a foggy day,  of which there are many in our fair City!

Not Ketchup and Mustard

“Ketchup and Mustard”?   No…. Benjamin Moore  Spanish Red” 1301, and “Straw”  2154-50.

Front Accent Wall Contrast

Three tones of a soft ochre-yellow warm the tall space without cluttering it.  The warmth  is delivered by Benjamin Moore  “Straw” 2154-50 on the walls, (and pole), and “Filtered Sunlight” 2154-60 on the trim. What a dream job it would be to concoct the names for these colors!

Back Accent Wall Moves it Forward

The accent wall in the back of the Studio is Benjamin Moore “York Harbor Yellow” 2154-40,  providing just that slight bump up in color saturation, which adds subtle interest but not clutter to the space, as they are in the same hue family.

Royal Compliments of Gold and Purple

The golden tones of “Straw”, “Filtered Sunlight”, and “York Harbor Yellow” are offset by the complimentary purple mat, a royal combination…

Energetic Entry

The red door, clothed in Benjamin Moore “Spanish Red” 1301,  pops, creating an energetic entry into the bathroom, which is

Soulful Bath

painted in  Benjamin Moore,”Semolina” 2155-40, on the walls, and “Cottontail”  2155-70 on the trim.  Again,  the use of two related hues, less earthy and more orange then those of the main studio space, varying in degrees of saturation and intensity and thus, value.

Colors Support the Function of the Space

Using a unified set of hues unified the unwieldy space, and made it welcoming and accessible to both the Clients, and their Clients: the students and practitioners of Pilates that would come to this studio to study, learn, and grow, taking their own soulful journeys here.  Red, with its associations with blood, fire, love, and life force is the perfect foil and energizer for the harmonious “yellow””.

Says Walter Thoma:
“The colors look better up than we imagined….the darker…color on the two walls looks really good”

Sometimes, what color can do for a space can come as a (happy) surprise!  The results may be…Soulful!