Color Schemes

You’ll probably notice if you look at my art that I love black. And I love bright colors. And I LOVE bright colors on black. How do I select colors for my work?

I want to say, I’ve studied color. Literally, in grad school (albeit a long time ago) I studied human color vision – how it works, why it works the way it works. And I’ve read a lot about color theory. So theoretically, I have a sound theoretical knowledge of color. But maybe you’ve heard, “In theory, theory is the same as practice, but in practice, it isn’t.” In fact, most of what I know about color mixing and colors going together and all that, comes from experience, playing, looking at other people’s color schemes, making things and liking or not liking them,…

Another way to look at how I choose colors is to say, it’s the same way I chose careers. I’ve done quite a number of different jobs in my life and as I moved along my career, I would look at what I was doing in each one and I would ask myself, what do I like about this and what don’t I like about this? And when it came to figuring out what to do next, I always tried to move in the direction of, there is more here of what I like and less of what I don’t like. It sounds sort of simple, but that’s more or less what I do with my art. Less study and analysis, more experience.

And I use my Inspiration file. (More on that in future posts, but just to say) I have a section that’s all about color, in which I’ve accumulated pictures of things that I like because of their color schemes. Just the act of selecting them, oohing and aahing over how much I like them, and asking myself, “What do I love about this”, helps me choose my next colors.

Lots of polymer artists have much more formalized and analytical approaches, but that’s mine.

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