Monday, December 8, 2008

La colorista

I've been an interior designer for 19 years now. Add another 6 years of art and design classes, that's 25 years altogether. Though color is not the only thing an interior designer selects, I've been through the paces. A few times I get to start from scratch. But most of the time it's a work-around what will not change. Ever try creating a color scheme that includes an oddball color from 20 years ago? I can't claim success every time.

Despite the years, I am still learning about color. What works for interior design may not work in a quilt. Sure, the basics are there. I don't have to look at a color wheel to find a complementary color. I recognize a color even when it is muted. I know color gets the credit but value does the work. But I love the eye candy!

I am a colorist. I love playing with color. Others complement me on my color choices. Yet I'd get into a color rut if I'd relied only on myself. So I keep an eye out for fresh color perspectives anytime, anywhere. Often it is serendipitous – from a momentary juxtaposition of color objects. Often it is subconscious – it resurfaces from long ago. Other times I deliberately seek out new color combinations. I just play. It looks easy. But really - I draw from a huge color selection tank.

Good color sense doesn’t develop overnight. In a recent Robert Genn's Twice Weekly newsletter, he cited Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers author, about how cognitively complex pursuits require ten thousand hours to get good . That's 3.4 years of 8-hour days 7 days a week. Or more realistically, 10 years at 1,000 hours each year or about 2.74 hours per day. So if color is a struggle for you, be generous with yourself and just keep working at it.

How do you go about selecting colors? Where have you found your color inspirations?

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