Festive Fall Foliage

November 12, 2015 § 6 Comments

What color-lover doesn’t love Fall with all its shades of gold and orange, browns and rusty-reds? But how often do we think of some of the other fall colors as, well, fall colors?

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There is, for those of us in the northwestern corner of the United States and similar climates, a wistfulness at the sight of our lush green trees of summer turning the corner towards fall with their leaves accepting a coral tinge. But what a fresh spring palette this appears to be!

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Soon enough, an entire page of Pantone® corals…..

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… is lighting up the view from our office…

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…and we settle in and appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature’s color combinations.

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Color Color Color Color Color Chameleon

October 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

Ocotober 26, 2015


One of my students recently asked me how it is that someone is able to pull off different Colortimes®. (Colortime® refers to my system for determining one’s best personal image colors based on hair color, eye color, and skin tone.) Here is my answer:

Anyone who has constant access to professional stylists or the money and time to constantly change their “look” could probably dress in any Colortime® they choose, depending on a whim or their mood. This is why you see someone like Olivia Wilde looking so different in many photos.

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Julianne Moore is another excellent example of how her looks are changed for various photo shoots.   If she chooses to wear an emerald green dress to an awards dinner, her makeup artist will likely use on her a very fair, cool tone foundation and play up the green in her eyes.  Her stylists know how to advise on all of this—that’s why she always looks so good.

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Celebrities also have the benefit of being under flattering lighting be it for TV, film, stage, or photo shoots where flaws can be corrected, and these “tricks of the trade” are always available to them. There are also the “fashionistas” and “creatives” who enjoy changing their looks from day to day—they really embrace the process.

However, there is the reality of the woman or man who has little time, a limited budget, or just doesn’t have the know-how to make calculated style changes. He wants to know that all his ties go with his suits. She wants to reach into her makeup drawer and pull out cosmetics that work for her coloring.  This is where starting out in a basic Colortime® makes so much sense. Many of us want a method that is reliable, a color palette that will look good and be so well coordinated that it doesn’t take much time or money to feel confident. A Colortime® consultant teaches the basics of the theory and demonstrates its practical application.

What is your best chameleon moment?




Color Coded: Undertone In Film

October 7, 2015 § 2 Comments

October 7, 2015

As some of you may know, my husband, Herb, is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His career in film and music has certainly helped me to be more aware of the importance of film in formulating public notions about color and design. We subscribe to many periodicals and view many of the films nominated for Academy Awards, and I am constantly researching film archives as well as present-day films to better inform my work in forecasting.

I was recently watching the trailer for the film Suffragette and was instantly captured by the story about the fight for the women’s right to vote. It is hard to deny the value of the movement and the importance of this period of time considering that we as a nation benefit from this movement.

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Photo by Pathe UK – © ©Pathé Productions Limited, Channel Four Television and The British Film Institute 2015. All Rights Reserved

I have read many books and seen some notable film, television, and stage shows about the early Suffrage efforts, so I wanted to highlight one compelling point of this particular movie that is almost a supporting character: the color used to convey the mood of this film.

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In my talks this past year, I have been discussing the use of “umbered undertones” in current and future films. That expression comes from the somewhat murky tones that are being seen in both children’s films, where so many color stories come from, as well as films for grown-ups. Those more somber tones often reflect the nature, theme, mood, or historic setting of a particular film.

Suffragette reflects a historic time period when there were no Technicolor films, and the theme of the film is a rather sobering subject—women’s struggles in the pre-1920’s to get enacted their legal right to vote, and the indignities and abuse they suffered—hardly the stuff of bright Technicolor effects! Interestingly, the American suffragette colors of violet, white, and gold were very similar to the green, white, and violet carried by their British counterparts. It is believed that the British Suffragettes chose those shades because they represented the first letters of each color and translated into: “Give (green) Women (white) Votes (violet.)

We can expect these “umbered” tones to have a long shelf-life because of films like Mockingjay Part One, which was part of the popular Hunger Games series. Part Two will come this Fall, and the stage show will appear in 2016. Some TV shows are also showing these same effects. Super Girl of 2015 is wearing more somber colored garb than sported by Linda Carter in the Wonder Woman series of the 1970s.

If you were choosing colors to represent the cause of the suffragettes, what colors would you choose and why?

Kartell à la Mode

September 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

September 24, 2015

Kartell is an Italian company that makes and sells plastic contemporary furniture. Headquartered in Milan, they began manufacturing automobile accessories in 1949 and expanded into contract and home furnishings in 1963. 


They have now forged an interesting partnership with one of the most imaginative fashion designers with a long-standing reputation in the use of unique color and pattern combinations. Christian LaCroix became the darling of the fashion runways in the 80s, but the 90s and early 2000s saw a decline in both business and attention. However, in recent years, we have seen his name on the ascendancy again, this time combining with “Kartell à la Mode,” as it is being called, in creating and producing a new handbag line.


Available in two sizes, a tote and a clutch bag, the fabrication is injection-molded plastic, a material that Kartell is referring to as “rich and sensual,” certainly not the usual connotation and impression of plastic. The shapes are geometric in design and both styles will be available in five colors, although those five colors have not been named yet.


Kartell has a recent history of producing some other intriguing, industrial–inspired molded plastic in inventive fashion forward looks and, very recently, they partnered with No.21, a Milanese shoe manufacturer. Called “The Knot,” the provocative and intricate styling on the sandal is quite unique, one that takes special skills to make. It is available in five colors: black, powder pink, mustard yellow, khaki green, and burgundy.


The look of the shoes fits very well into the influences we saw recently in Paris. Stilettos have given way to much lower heels, with sneakers being the “shoe du jour” in every imaginable color, pattern and, most often, with sparkle.


Question: What do you think of the color range of the Knot? Would you wear this kind of shoe?

From Paris With Love

September 15, 2015 § 3 Comments

September 15, 2015


If you didn’t know already, I travel…a LOT!  My most recent trip was to Maison & Objet, a lifestyle uber tradeshow featuring all things “design.”  It takes place at an exhibition center outside of Paris and covers 246,000 square meters or about 61 acres.

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My traveling companion, assistant, and color/design associate, Melissa Bolt, walked every inch of the show with me, photographing our foray into the stadium-size halls.

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We became immediately aware of the presence of design trends we have noted in recent seasons:

Eyeglasses as wall art and part of home décor accessories,…

Glasses Audrey art Sunglasses painting

…Owls peering from their perches,…

Owls yellow Normann Owls

…Butterflies still flying high,…

Butterfly pure silk Butterfly trays blue Butterfly chair

…Shoes as wearable art,…

Jewelled oxfords

… crowns that are not exclusively for royalty,

Crown plates

…and concentric circles, as seen in these South African wire bowls

Concentric baskets

to name just a few.


My Thoughts On Agnes Martin

August 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

August 31, 2015
Agnes Martin is a fascinating artist who had an interesting perspective and attitude about color, proportion and shape.  Martin worked only in black, white, and variations of brown in the 50s, but after leaving New York in the 60s and moving to New Mexico her work started to embrace a wider palette.  During her time in Taos, she introduced light pastel washes to her grids, colors that were said to “shimmer in the changing light.”  This characterized much of her work until the end of her life in 2004.
I was asked by the commissioning editor at the Tate Modern Museum in London to contribute an article to their website to coincide with a showing of Agnes Martin’s work, especially her use of pale pastel hues and the psychology behind the choices. 
Although I might normally hesitate to “think” for the artist, especially if I never had the chance to meet with them, fortunately there was some excellent information written about her by some of the people who knew her very well and, most notably, some videotapes where the artist herself was interviewed.
The following of her works are among my favorites.
Gratitude 2001

Gratitude 2001

Untitled #13 1980

Untitled #13 1980

The Wave 1963

The Wave 1963

Untitled 1967

Untitled 1967

Our Field Trip To Patricia Nugent Textiles

August 27, 2015 § 4 Comments

August 27, 2015

My good friend and colleague, Patricia Nugent, curator of a surprisingly vast textile collection, opened her nearby Seattle showroom to us so that my Color/Design Associate, Melissa Bolt, and I could hunt for special fabrics from Pat’s collection for our latest book, coming out early next year. Not only is a visit to Pat’s studio a walk down memory lane in terms of all the vintage fabrics in her collection, but it is also a study in the kind of quality and artistry that attracts top designers from around the globe for inspiration. Thank you, Pat!

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Okay, if you must know, the book takes a look at interiors via the Color Clock™ system I developed for my book More Alive With Color.

Can you determine what Colortime® and/or what decade each of these vintage fabrics illustrates?

Sunlight 1

Sunset 1

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Vincent van Gogh: A Study In Contrast

August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

August 17, 2015


The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been showing four of van Gogh’s paintings— those he did just before leaving the asylum he was in for two years. In the link you will see the comment that caught my eye: ” Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) brought his work in Provence to a close with exuberant bouquets of spring flowers—two of irises and two of roses, in contrasting formats and color schemes—in which he sought to impart a “calm, unremitting ardor” to his “last touch of the brush.”  

(There is also a video to watch. See link at the bottom.) 

For art lovers out there the images on the Met site and the video give some interesting insights into the colors that he used to impart that feeling.

Take a moment to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. 

What are your favorite Van Gogh works?


Vera Neumann: An Artist And Entrepreneur With An Eye For Color

August 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

August 12, 2015


I was surfing the web last week when I found an article on Vera Neumann published by Elle.com in Mexico. If you’re not familiar with Vera logo , you are in for a real treat. 


In 2010 Susan Seid wrote a very beautiful book called Vera The Art and Life of an Icon. It is filled with wonderful and colorful photographs of Vera’s history. In it Susan states:

“Vera Neumann was an unlikely revolutionary–her tiny five-foot-tall frame typically dressed in mod tunics and a bold scarf, armed with a quick wit but a shy demeanor. But Vera—the innovator of cross-licensing and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time–had a radical philosophy: fine art should be accessible to everyone, not just a select few. She believed that artwork should not be relegated to walls. Rather, people should surround themselves with art–wear it, eat off it, and sleep under it. And why not? Great art endures. It lifts your sprit and makes you feel better. Vera’s art certainly does. It is bright, happy, and inspirational.”


A year after Susan Seid’s book came out, I made note of Vera Neumann in my book Pantone: The 20th Century in Color.  The chapter is aptly named “Colors and Coordinates,” where I said, “Designer and artist Vera Neumann didn’t seem to need any help understanding color interactions, or the way color creates a mood.”


Seid has quoted Vera as saying to the Washington Post in 1978, “Color is the language I speak best,” and, “Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. We have so many problems in the world, color brings just a little bit of joy into our lives.”

I agree wholeheartedly.

If you are not familiar with Vera, a quick Google search will bring you into the colorful wonder of Vera Neumann.

Vera’s designs are still being licensed now, more than ten years after her death. Their longevity is her longevity. And for those of us who were around when she first came on the scene, it is a welcome reminder of a colorfully artistic era to see her famous logo still used today.

Catching Up With A Young Color Lover

August 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

August 6, 2015

It has been just about one month since I wrapped up my summer color/design course. It is a busy few weeks after the class. We are putting stuff away, getting prepared for the next class and chatting about all of the wonderful people we’ve just met and the ones who have taken the course previously. It was in that discussion where we remembered one student in particular, whose experience in class had such a colorful impact on her daughter that she gave her young daughter an impromptu color/class in the days that followed. We did a blog post about their experience because it was too adorable and it showed us all (I am sure her mother knew) that a child’s love of color is insightful and shows no bounds. Color is an important factor in childhood development and one day could ultimately lead to a career that involves color, including consulting.


Click here for the original story.

We caught up with Amy Anderson and her daughter Sofia to find out how Sofia is using her color skills today. We thought it would be fun to do a Q&A and, as a budding color professional, Sofia nailed it. She has a true gift for color and her choices are just as on-trend today as they were then.

Below are their responses:

Are you enjoying your summer so far?

Yes, it’s awesome!

What have you been working on since your color class?

In my art class at school, I made an orange cheetah mask with papier-mâché and my self-portrait. At home, I’ve been working on my own logo for “Sofia’s Colors.” I love color and art!


Are you pleased to see that your magic yogurt maker color palette is all over the fashion scene?

Yes, I love neon because it’s very bright and I like bright colors. They make me feel happy and energized.


Are you wearing neon? If so, what is your favorite piece?

Yes! My neon pink cardigan sweater is my favorite. It goes with everything.

What is your next project?

I’m really excited about metallic colors. I really like my metallic silver Birkenstocks! I’m working on a palette for a new product I want to create like the magic yogurt maker. Last week I went to the Paint Lab and picked out metallic color swatches: fire opal metallic, amethyst, sapphire, tourmaline, topaz, ballroom gold, aluminum and emerald.




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