July 16, 2013 § 1 Comment
July 15, 2013
For most people a green path leads inevitably to thoughts of nature. Mother nature painted more green on earth than any other color. It is the hue of foliage, grass, and growing plants; of graceful sheltering trees, dappled meadow and clinging vines; the shade of forest and jungle. It is the color of the country as opposed to the city; the romance of Robin Hood, wood urchins, elves, gnomes, and leprechauns; the pride of the Irish patriot and St. Patrick’s Day.
The sight of green is inexorably linked to the sense of smell-freshly mown lawn, pine needles, and wet leaves after a sudden summer shower, a splash of lime and a crushed sprig of mint. Because our sense are intertwined, scents and colors are inevitably tied, one sense suggesting a specific color to another. We can look at a bottle of perfume and sense how it will smell before we sniff it. We can’t help but associate a green fragrance with freshness and nature.
Most everyone knows how our endorphins kick in when we do something physical, like taking a walk in the woods filled with greenery. And there is much evidence to support the effect of green around us, including studies that tell us that being surrounded by green encourages us to breathe slowly and deeply, slowing the production of stress hormones. We certainly all need that in today’s fast-paced world.
The Japanese have been using a technique called “Shinrinyoku” or “forest bathing.” It’s not about taking a bath in the forest in the usual sense, but more about encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing stress. Experts in that country also believe that forest bathing can improve the immune system. So it’s not just about eating your greens, but surrounding yourself with green—a worthy prescription for well-being.
June 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
June 27, 2013
I have been seeing more articles about personal shopping gaining in popularity and since that “attaches” itself to color/image consulting, I thought it would be a great time for me to talk about how I got my own consultation business rolling.
When I first started, I did various aspects of personal image and color consulting. I found out that once you have a client in one area and they develop a confidence in your abilities to help them, you can offer them other services, such as closet organizing (and who doesn’t need that!?), even color in their interiors. They, in turn, can recommend you to friends to keep a consulting service growing. All of this can fall under one umbrella and eventually expand into color consulting for consumer products, as it did for me. Training is necessary to hone these specific skills, but it can start very simply with personal/image consulting and/or personal shopping.
Dana Hall, Divisional VP of Sales and Service at Holt Renfrew stores in Canada, shares some thoughts on personal shopping. “The most important aspect of personal shopping is the relationship and trust built between the client and the staff, Hall says. She recalls instances where personal shoppers visited a client’s house to go through their existing wardrobe, sent merchandise to a customer at their office or home, hosted a private designer appearance, or attended a fashion shows with clients.”
It is through this kind of trust that other opportunities could arise. As has been the case with me.
While the link is mostly about department store services, personal shopping is a job opportunity that could lead to doing color consulting, closet organizing, expanding contacts or eventually going out on your own.
Color informs, brings instant comprehension, calls attention, delivers information, and creates an identity. This is true in all aspects of life whether personally or on a larger scale for product development.
Do you have a passion for color? Have you ever considered a career in color consulting?
May 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
May 23, 2013
This is really exciting news. I wonder how long it will be before we see the practical application of this new blue pigment. Some laboratory testing involves outcomes that are not always planned. The following is from a northwestern university very close to my home state of Washington.
“An accidental discovery in a laboratory at Oregon State University has apparently solved a quest that over thousands of years has absorbed the energies of ancient Egyptians, the Han dynasty in China, Mayan cultures and more – the creation of a near-perfect blue pigment.
Through much of recorded human history, people around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue, often with limited success. Most had environmental or durability issues. Cobalt blue, developed in France in the early 1800s, can be carcinogenic. Prussian blue can release cyanide. Other blue pigments are not stable when exposed to heat or acidic conditions.
But chemists at OSU have discovered new compounds based on manganese that should address all of those concerns. They are safer to produce, much more durable, and should lead to more environmentally benign blue pigments than any being used now or in the past. They can survive at extraordinarily high temperatures and don’t fade after a week in an acid bath.”
Click the link below for more information.
April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
April 3, 2013
We know that most people who love learning about color are particularly fascinated by the history and background of various hues. Let’s have a quick lesson on blue and culture from my book Colors For Your Every Mood.
It was not until 4500 B.C. in Mesopotamia that blue emerged as a decorative hue. Brilliant blue threads were used in ancient Peruvian embroideries circa 800 B.C. While thousands of miles away, blue was used in linen fabrics found in the caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Indigo replaced woad in importance as a dye in the Middle Ages because it proved to be more hardy and reliable. It also made blue a more available color. Marco Polo was fascinated by the production of indigo in India where it was produced in great quantities and its quality desired. The color was extracted by plucking out a species of the herb by the roots, putting it into tubs of water and other ingredients and leaving it to rot. The reality of this glamorous color, admired by all the world, was some very labor and animal-intensive effort. The tubs of water containing the dye were also filled with a mixture of fruits, wood ash, or putrefied urine (camel urine was specially effective!) The dye-bath was actually a pale yellow, but oxidation eventually turned the textiles to blue.
Now take a look at what a new discovery has revealed about the Maya and their secret recipe for blue.
March 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
March 25, 2013
As we all know, color is a fundamental element in makeup choice, specifically the undertone of the makeup. To better understand undertone it is important to note that there are essentially three general classifications: warm, cool or neutral. Undertones denote an underlying color within any given hue.
With my Color Clock system every Colortime® palette has warm, cool and neutral colors, even though AM (Sunrise) tones are predominantly cool, PM (Sunset) tones predominantly warm, and Midday (Sunlight) is a balance of both.
The other day I read an article featuring Bobbi Brown on Ellemagazine.com where she talks about her new Lilac Rose Collection. Brown states that “The Lilac Rose Collection isn’t just about purple. It features dusty pinks and heather grays, which are more natural shades of purple and are perfect for creating a feminine smoky eye. Plus, these shades have blue undertones, so they look flattering on all skin tones.”
Brown believes that a blue base of undertone is flattering to all skin types. This is a very interesting concept when there are actually three different undertones possible. But makeup, as we all know, is about experimentation and in the end, you really need to try before you buy to be certain that it’s going to work for you. And there are ways to “crossover” into any of the three classifications for special effects, which are discussed in my book, More Alive With Color.
My dear friend and colleague Judith August wrote a book called Gotcha Covered! The Compact Guide to Camouflage Makeup where she shares her makeup tips and techniques for using makeup to cover or hide areas that you may not want to be seen. In her book she has a whole chapter called Neutralizers and How They Work where she too sings the praises of Lavender as well as peachy orange and pink.
Judith suggests using lavender liquid foundation as a “neutralizer to even out discoloration. Lavender acts like a neutralizer blending the different areas and creating an even palette.” Pink is Judith’s secret weapon. She believes that “the surprising effect of the color pink is its ability to help us look 10 years younger.”
What do you think? Have you found that lavender is flattering on your skintone? Do you have the perfect shade of pink? What are some of your secret makeup weapons?
My advise is to let your Colortime® palette guide you to the best cosmetic colors for you. Click here to find out more about the Color Clock and Colortime®.
February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
February 28, 2013
As a color/design consultant, forecaster and author, I always look to the art world for inspiration and direction, especially shows and exhibits that are garnering much attention in the art world. So I read with great interest on artdaily.com about one show that changed it all.
“The International Exhibition of Modern Art — which came to be known, simply, as the Armory Show — marked the dawn of Modernism in America. It was the first time the phrase “avant-garde” was used to describe painting and sculpture.
On the evening of the show’s opening, 4,000 guests milled around the makeshift galleries in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue.
Two-thirds of the paintings on view were by American artists. But it was the Europeans — Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp — that caused a sensation.”
And what a sensation indeed! It was 100 years ago that art in the United States was forever changed. It was only one year later that Cubism would continue to evolve the world of art.
The serious, demanding intellectualism of the Cubist proposition was too important to be rendered in the decorative colors of the Fauves. Picasso and Georges Braque delivered their message in somber tones, along with the bits of wrapping paper, wallpaper, newspaper, and even sand, dirt, and house paint. Eventually, later Cubists like Robert Delaunay and Juan Gris introduced more vivid colors in a desire to capture the vibrant urban reality of pre-WWI Paris.
Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2) was the star of the Armory show and is a star in the book Pantone The 20th Century in Color. Take a minute to listen or read about the Armory Show from 1913. If that doesn’t quench your thirst you can click the link below to explore the website that the Smithsonian has put up that is a detailed timeline of archival material from that very show.
February 14, 2013 § 1 Comment
February 14, 2013
Have you heard of the Stroop Effect?
Wikipedia states that “The Stroop effect is a demonstration of interference in the reaction time of a task. When the name of a color (e.g., “blue,” “green,” or “red”) is printed in a color not denoted by the name (e.g., the word “red” printed in blue ink instead of red ink), naming the color of the word takes longer and is more prone to errors than when the color of the ink matches the name of the color.”
I mention the Stroop Effect in reference to the blue rose, Applause, because it actually looks purple.
When we think of blue our minds conjure images of the sky and the sea. Blue is the color of constancy and truth. Yet, as we gaze upon the “blue rose” we see lavender or purple.
Blue (or any other color, for that matter) can also hold some deeply rooted cultural associations. For example, in some societies, blue is viewed as a protective color. In the Middle East front doors are painted blue to keep the evil sprits from entering the house while many Native Americans paint the front doors of their dwellings blue for the same reason.
How does this effect our psyche?
When we see the blue rose our minds are registering purple. Purple is the combination of the excitement of red and the tranquility of blue, the marriage of two diametrically opposed emotions.
A critical balancing act always exists. Which emotion takes the lead?
What is your visceral reaction to this blue rose? Are you feeling conflicted by its name and color?
Please enjoy a poem and a song about blue roses.
Roses red and roses white
Plucked I for my love’s delight.
She would none of all my posies–
Bade me gather her blue roses.
Half the world I wandered through,
Seeking where such flowers grew.
Half the world unto my quest
Answered me with laugh and jest.
Home I came at wintertide,
But my silly love had died
Seeking with her latest breath
Roses from the arms of Death.
It may be beyond the grave
She shall find what she would have.
Mine was but an idle quest–
Roses white and red are best!
February 5, 2013 § 6 Comments
February 5, 2013
When it comes to decorating your home one of the quickest ways to make a change is with paint. Whether you are painting the walls, furniture or the ceiling, paint can give you that lift without having to do a full scale renovation.
But how can you be certain that the color chip will look the same when it is applied to the wall?
For novice painters (as well as veterans) it is always amazing to see a pastel such as a light Candy Pink, turn into Bubblegum on the walls. A small sample will rarely be seen as the same color when viewed on a much larger scale, as the color becomes more intense when you are literally surrounded by it. In addition, there are other considerations, such as the color of the surrounding space, particularly ceiling and floor. Most importantly, it is the quality and quantity of light in the space that will make the difference.
It is always best to start with a simple chip that is more subdued than the color you envision in the space. If you are working with a professional painter, colorist, or decorator, or are brave enough to experiment on your own, you can also try modifying the base color with a dollop of its complementary color. You can also try “dirtying” the color a bit (not a bad thing in painter’s parlance) by adding a pinch of brownish umber shade sold in tubes and bought in a paint or hardware store. Follow the directions on the label. If you prefer a grayer shade, you can always add a bit of black, but experiment first.
Here are some additional guidelines before spackling and tackling the walls:
Test the color in the actual setting.
Test your color over a white background. This can be done directly on the wall or on a large poster board or masonite measuring at least five feet by five feet.
Paint two coats of color over the white.
Move the board around to different areas of the room so that you can see it at every angle.
Look at the test at different times of the day to see how the color might change in natural light and artificial light.
If the effects are pleasing, you are ready to roll.
Do you have a painting story or painting horror story? What successes or failures have you encountered when taking on a painting project? Did you “Do It Yourself” or hire a professional?
November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
November 26, 2012
Comic Books for Social Change
This is no news: comic books are a well-known powerful media to send social messages. There are many examples of successful experiences that connect them with positive social change all over the world.
Comic book characters have a lot of power because they can do anything and everything and also have the potential to engage a super broad audience in age, background, and reading skills. That, and our love of color, design, the environment, storytelling and teaching is what pushed Veronica and me into this adventure.
She is a graphic designer and illustrator, I am a teacher and a writer and together we founded and manage Musgo Comunicación Visual, a design studio based in Caracas. But we wanted to give something back, so we also teamed up to build Patrulla Verde, an environmental NGO devoted to producing free educational contents via the Web, some in print, as well as public speaking in schools, colleges, community centers, companies and even malls and public spaces.
We pooled together our talent and experience in an effort to send an environmental message conductive to action to children and adolescents in the Spanish-speaking community, which at least in our neck of the woods, lacks resources and local information and direction. Three years later we are trying to reach English speaking kids as well.
Vero created four endearing characters and together we made meaning out of them. Tomas represents all themes related to water, Zoe embodies renewable energy, Lucas defends biodiversity and Beto, the bunny, is the only “non-human”, and he gives voice to the other more than 10,000,000 species with whom we share the planet. His theme is global warming.
Choosing a color palette was a challenge because the characters had to each have their own identity but also, when pooled together into a vignette or drawing, they had to look in harmony, as part of a team.
Beto and Lucas are a twosome, they play together and joke together and that’s why they both wear the same red hat. Nobody else wears red, but for each one of the other two characters there are blues and greens that obviously talk about nature. Tomas’s orange hair and darker skin are in line with him being a laid back, beach-loving kid. And Zoe’s hot pink speaks of fun, bubbly, the color of an empowered girl that, although super feminine, is opinionated and fierce when she knows she is right.
Regarding the backgrounds, the predominant color of a page is always related to the mood and atmosphere of the storyline… which means that the writer, ejem! …that’ll be me, is the true trendsetter here, because it is she who decides if the situation is a comedy or a drama, if it’s day or night, indoors or outdoors, happy or sad. It is actually a lot of fun to set new challenges in each story for Vero!
In this particular issue, Animal Defenders, she chose happy bright colors for happy bright moments and darker ones that vary if it is just night or a scary situation, or a suspenseful, stressful one. When the characters are able to reflect upon their experience light comes again, but in a different way than in the happy beginning. This is a less saturated shade of yellow, paired with light grays because it is later in the day, and deeper into the kids’ thought process.
Learning about psychology of color in Lee’s seminars and workshops has proven to be an extremely powerful tool to better the work we do, and to engage the population we want to reach. Patrulla Verde-in this case Veronica-was even showcased in Green Graphics, a publication by Catalonian publisher Index Books (2011), for our characters, logo and image.
We are extremely thankful to Lee to allow us to share our work with her followers and friends through this amazing window.
Thanks a million, Lee!!
-Veronica Ettedgui & Toti Vollmer
October 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
October 19, 2012
In my first book I asked John Williams, who has written musical scores for “Star Wars” and “E.T.,” if he had ever written music to correspond to color in a film. He said that when he composed the score for “Close Encounters” he developed a distinctive musical signature to announce the presence of something mysterious in outer space. The sound of each note was given a different color on the screen.
In The Rainbow Book, it tells about famed artist Wassily Kandinsky, who compared the sounds of musical instruments to colors. He perceived light, warm red and medium yellow as strong, vigorous, and triumphant-the sounds of trumpets.
Today we are seeing this synesthetic color interpretation in Jeffrey Wirsing’s costume work in the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I am devoted to the show. I am taken with every aspect of this show and it has been the subject of many water cooler conversations. Of course it was fascinating to find out that there was a color connection with the designer who is a “sympathetic synesthete”.
My favorite character on the show is the leading female character, Margaret Thompson, played by Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald. She started on the show as a needy widow who met Nucky Thompson, the leading bad guy in the series (not a nice person) and went on to marry him, primarily to provide a home for her two young children. Her character progresses into a person quite admirable for her charity work and belief in women’s health causes, in spite of being married to a mobster! The transitioning of her wardrobe was fabulously done—from plain to the high fashion of the day in the 20s. The colors and the designs are wonderful and a really well-researched part of the show.
Below is an excerpt from his interview in Psychology Today.
Jeffrey Wirsing talked about his work on the show “I have been working for the past almost four years on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, set in the 1920s, where I have found a great use of all my skills, in costume, in restoration, in my printed fabrics and my color sense for dyeing fabrics.”
Do you watch Boardwalk Empire? Who is your favorite character?