May 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
Every April, my associate Melissa Bolt, and I have the pleasure of visiting one of our favorite cities—Milan. We attend the Salone del Mobile for the purpose of seeing the latest trends and innovations in the world of furniture, although this enormous gathering of fabulous goods gives us much insight into other areas of design as well. This is Italy, after all, where every facet of home furnishings is explored and relished.
We stay with our good friend, Grazia Billio, a gifted colorist who also happens to be the VP and one of the founders of Color Coloris,
an organization that brings together color experts from many industries, and presents a day-long color experience every year in November (http://www.colorcoloris.com/en_index.htm). I met Grazia through another dear friend, colleague, and multi-talented designer, Vittorio Giomo. Vittorio is the very colorful President of Color Coloris.
Grazia’s charming home is in the heart of the Brera district, the design center of Milan. Every year, the Brera bursts with activity and creative output as designers from all over the world who attend the Salone also find their way to the Brera. Grazia guides us through the hordes of people all anxious to see what’s new in design.
(Of course, along the way are the foods and flavors that Italy is known for.) It always amazes us that so many people have the energy to trudge the fair and then party into the wee hours, but everyone is exhilarated by the intimate connection to both design and color.
We also visited La Triennale di Milano, a design museum in Milan where Melissa could photograph even more images that would enable us to remember all that we see while visiting the area.
Just to give you a flavor of the Salone, the Brera, and the Triannale, we are sharing a few of the 1,800 photos with you. May be this will whet your appetite for your own visit to Milan…
October 4, 2013 § 4 Comments
October 4, 2013
Teaching my color/design class has brought me into contact with so many creative people who work with/in color. As a teacher and a lifelong student, I am fortunate to be in contact with a lot of amazingly wonderful and talented people.
Color is the binding agent for which these relationships are forged and it is the provider for the inspiration that we all bring into our daily lives as well as our careers. Color touches every part of our lives; from our surroundings, to what we put on our bodies, down to the car that takes us where we want to go.
Consciously or subconsciously we are having a daily color conversation with ourselves. It is the driving force behind our choice of what to wear, unless you live in a nudist colony. It is in these daily “conversations” that we discover the power of color in our lives.
It is my love for color that got me here, and into teaching about color. It was through teaching color that I come to meet other people who share their love of color and how they use it. How people are using color directly affects how I learn and teach about color, which is what inspired this (and all) of my blog posts.
One of the students from my summer 2013 color class recently sent me a very Emerald inspired link from one of her colleagues. Click the link below to take a look at how Emerald, Pantone’s 2013’s color of the year, has inspired the creative juices.
Do you have a love of color? Does color drive your daily decisions? Has your love of color opened up your world to new possibilities? If so, I would love for you to join me for my next color/design class this January in Burbank, California.
I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your love of color and how you use it in your daily lives.
September 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 10, 2013
As many of you may already know, I wear many hats as a color expert. I am the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, owner/director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and I am the author of eight books on color (soon to be nine, stay tuned).
As part of my work with Pantone I spearhead their Pantone View Home + Interior color forecast. In addition, twice a year, I am part of a team that creates the Pantone View Colour Planner, which is a color forecast that spans many fields, such as fashion, textile and industrial design. Both forecasts are a result of trends that are developing on all fronts from media, socio-economics, entertainment, the impact of the environment, travel influences and any other worthy subject or direction for all creative design fields. I then compile this information into imagery with color as the guide. I let color tell the story of the times.
These forecasts are coveted among designers and industry professionals as they plan each season’s new creations. They are filled with color palettes designed with a “mood”, a rationale and an inspirational direction. Whether used out of context or within the theme we set in the palettes, they are great tools and hold key design principles with texture and balance.
Forecasts are such an integral part of the color consulting world and intrinsic to the knowledge of color in the future. That is why this subject is included in the Color/Design programs that I teach twice yearly.
Could a forecast help you in your work with color? Does this sound like an interesting part of the color world and were you familiar with forecasts? Please take a moment to share.
August 19, 2013 § 7 Comments
August 19, 2013
How many times have you heard that “gray is the new black“, or “brown is the new black” or even “red is the new black”? I can tell you that in my professional career I have heard this said season after season. The truth is black is a constant, staple, mainstay, and essential to every wardrobe.
I just roll my eyes when I hear comments like these because black is part of the color foundation of material society.
Black is here and never went anywhere and won’t be going any time soon.
However, earlier this week I was going through my archives and found that I, at one time, had indeed written: “Black is Back!” for the first edition of a newsletter that I edited as the newly-appointed executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. But it was at a time (1986) when black had truly had been diminished for a short time, at least, interior and fashion-wise and was coming back in full force. The following is an excerpt that includes comments from some of the designers (fashion and interior) that I spoke with who shared their thoughts about black.
“Black has become the greatest neutral, it brings an accent point into a space. To me, black is a very exciting and lively hue. I believe it is also powerful and authoritative.”-Vicente Wolf of Patino-Wolf Associates.
Donna Karan believes black provides the perfect foundation upon which to assemble a wardrobe or single outfit. Black defines the silhouette and goes with everything. Like a painter’s canvas, it is the essential backdrop on which to build.
Designer Halston comments: “Black is the most classic and eternal-it is all colors. Black cannot be penetrated. It is the ultimate color in high fashion.” He states he could use it all the time. There is no replacement. The most important and interesting piece in his collection is always black. He likes to work while wearing black because it does not compete with other colors. As long as he has been in the industry, black has always been his number one seller.
The dichotomy of black is also shown through historical happenings. The Reagans, Princess Di and Prince Charles have helped to make black-tie formality fashionable again. At the opposite end of the social scale, young people, from beatniks to rockers to punks, have adopted black as a symbol of the negation of a society.
Whether the ultimate in chic, or in the expression of adolescent defiance, black wields a powerful psychological force in the current world of design and color.
These sentiments about black are just as true today as they were more than 25 years ago!!
What role does black play in your wardrobe? Do you use black in your decor?
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.
November 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
November 9, 2012
Debora House is a multi-talented artist and colorist now living in Stockholm, Sweden. Debora and I met several years ago when I first moved to Bainbridge Island, WA and we formed a fast friendship as we are kindred spirits in color (and a lot of other things as well).
We have worked together on projects since then. Her sense of color is impeccable – so moody and evocative. Of course I have several of her paintings – several in my office, as a matter of fact!
Debora decided to take my online Image Color Training a few years back and I am hoping that she can join us for a future Color/Design program, whether in Burbank in January or here on the island in July (where she still has a lot friends). She is truly a gifted colorist and I invite you to view some of her latest paintings.
I am an artist. To me everything is open to arrangement and interpretation, from clothes to food to garden bulbs. I like the moment standing before the emptiness of the white canvas and knowing the first strokes are like the first lines in a novel – they will lead me to an unknowable place. I recall another artist saying, “If you know the outcome why bother painting the painting?” That’s how it is for abstract expressionism, you don’t know but you explore with hope and energy.
I have had the good fortune of being raised by a designing woman who taught me very young to memorize color. I have practiced recalling color my whole life. It has been what inspires me and has led me to pursue work in fields where it was required: Interior Design, Textile Design, Colorist and now as a painter.
When I took a course in Color Image Training under Leatrice Eiseman, I was forced out of my own comfort zone and personal preferences into colors as they suit or affect others. When a colorist like myself goes through what basically amounts to retraining the eye to see whole color stories as they relate to others, I was made to explore my emotional reaction to colors in a new way because I had to include colors I didn’t like! In learning to assess how certain colors that challenge me might suit someone else perfectly, I opened my heart to a much bigger palette. Using that knowledge as a painter let’s me explore and accept colors that, in the past, I would have omitted without a thought.
Before I begin a painting I think of the narrative of the story I want to tell. In the painting Northern Lights I wanted to communicate the mysteriousness of the Northern Lights. I live in Stockholm which is as near to the Arctic as one needs to be yet the lights always elude us. The time to see them is precisely when there is too much cloud cover to observe them. We can have months without a single ray of sunlight. Naturally this drives some people mad and if you’ve ever seen a Swede on a beach and wondered how they can lay there like a lizard for hours, days, on end, it’s because they are storing up the light. You know, you just know, those magical colors are out there swirling over your head but you can’t see them. So the painting is my way to illustrate the color behind the clouds and a roiling icy sea.
Pi in the Sky is a landscape about infinity. In a blue band that separates heaven and earth are the beginning numbers of Pi. The numbers start off the surface of the canvas on the side and wrap until there is no more room for the infinite formula. The intention is that math (something commonly perceived to be anchored in reality) at some point, in higher mathematics, becomes an abstraction. In the skyline is a fixed and accurate constellation in gold metallic – The Big Dipper.￼
Spring is a part of a series of seasons. Living in a place where winter lasts almost half the year, spring is a longed for time. I used colors that were, to me, hot or acidic: The new green of the grasses, the riotous reds of tulips and peonies, quince in the horizon line and a sky filled with golds and pinks inside the blues.
Spring comes quickly and once it starts it bursts forth all at once with energy and beauty.
I painted this painting quickly as well. It came together with a minimum of washes and almost no struggles. The green is an example of forcing myself to use a color that fit the piece but is not a color I am drawn to naturally. In that way it is more a practice of color theory than intuitive thought.
I feel I am always learning to see things in a fresh way and to enjoy where these color stories lead me. I want to have an experience that is self-satisfying in the process of creation and to look back later and see the sense of commitment that went into every layer. But mostly I want to stand before the next blank canvas and make the first stroke.
October 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
October 5, 2012
In the October booklet from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences there is a wonderful promotion for the up coming screening of a Chinese classic animation called The Monkey King: Uproar In Heaven (3D). The images were so striking and colorful that I had to share them with you. Below is an excerpt from the booklet.
“The Academy is proud to participate in the first China Onscreen Biennial (COB), launched by the UCLA Confucius Institute.
In scope and design, the COB is an unprecedented four-week bicoastal collaboration among American cultural organizations to promote U.S.-China dialogue through the art of film. The COB will look at both the present and past of Mainland Chinese cinema, bringing some of the best examples of contemporary Chinese filmmaking, as well as archival rarities and film restorations, to American audiences.’
‘THE MONKEY KING: UPROAR IN HEAVEN (3D) A beloved classic of Chinese animation, Wan Laiming and Tang Cheng’s 1960s animated feature returns to theaters after a painstaking and dazzling 3D makeover led by experts at Los Angeles-based Technicolor. One of the most famous characters in Chinese mythology, the mischievous Monkey King leaves chaos in his wake from the Dragon King’s palace to the heavenly halls of the Celestial Emperor. Set to a blended Beijing opera-orchestral soundtrack, the film casts an enchanting spell.”
If you are interested in animated classics and the usage of color in that context you might want to check it out.
Watch a clip from the movie below.
January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
January 19, 2012
In my book Color: Messages and Meanings, I discuss color families and the messages they are sending. In color studies white is described as pure and pristine. As in the utter quiet of falling show, white expresses silence and the almost total lack of sound. It is a conciliatory color which is why the following study of the Milky Way is so fascinating.
In the article from BBCnews.com, Jeffrey Newman of the University of Pittsburgh elaborates on the importance of color to astronomers.
Astronomers have discovered that it is called the Milky Way for a reason. The actual color is white. Specifically a white “like spring snow at an hour after sunrise or before sunset.”
Jeffrey Newman states that; “For astronomers, one of the most important parameters is actually the colour of the galaxy.”
It isn’t just important to astronomers, it is important to color lovers too!
Click the link at the bottom for more.
December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
December 2, 2011
I think this is a brilliant idea. Color does, indeed, have a powerful presence in our lives. What a wonderful way to support a very worthwhile charity. What color will you pick?
August 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
August 26, 2011
My son Ben frequently sends me interesting articles on color from his neck of the woods in San Francisco. I thought it was a good time to share this as this exhibit will be ending on September 5th. If you have an interest in color and are looking to have a fun day out with the family go and check out Exploratorium’s Colorfest.
Colorfest includes “everything from the physics and perception of color to the use of natural ingredients to make dyes.”
If you have gone to this exhibit please share your thoughts and experiences here.