Monday, April 14, 2014

A Color Controversy and Wheel

A Color Controversy and Wheel

There may be controversy over how many colors of dye are really "needed."  The simplest answer is that I don't know how many colors YOU need. But let me explain why I plan to use the 14 pure colors.

It is true that to create all the colors on the color wheel an artist only really needs red/blue/yellow or magenta/cyan/yellow, depending on the color wheel preference.  Some artists restrict their colors to only those three. The reasoning is that all the secondary and tertiary colors will be made up of the same primaries and will therefore be harmonious.  That makes sense when the pigments are bound together in a paint.

The procion dyes are not bound together. When I mix a red and a blue together to make purple, I still have red powder and blue powder rather than purple powder.  Each of those powders have their own unique properties meaning they will bind to the fabric (with soda ash) at different rates. This is what creates the "color splits" that we dyers talk about all the time.  The 14 pure colors won't split.  The 14 colors mixed together will split (give a different color aura) depending on each color's unique properties.

So, in low water immersion dyeing when I want a mottled fabric, I might choose to use more than one pure blue so that the blue dyes might split and add extra depth and interest to my finished fabric.  Just think of the possible splits you can get by using one pure red and multiple pure blues when mixing a purple.  I might even use the turquoise blue dye that has a bit of green in it in order to desaturate the red dye and add that additional element in the finished product;  I might end up with a turquoise split.  If I used a yellow to blend with the blue for a green, I might end up with a yellow split.  It is all about the possible splits.

That is why I will use all 14 pure dyes from Prochem and, if I were in Europe, I would be using the additional pure colors they  have access to. To better understand the properties of the pure colors  is why I created my own dye color "wheel" and will be making a color dictionary.

Here is my color "wheel."  I simply placed a few drops of each pure dye concentrate where I thought it would fall on the color wheel.  I could have been much more restrained and tried to constrain the colors but I chose to let them bleed together.  You will notice that I did go back in to circle and label where I thought the color was most true. And here are detail shots.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Color Study

 I love working at a University so that I can take free classes. This semester I am taking an art class named "Color and Light."  I thought I knew colors but I am learning a lot.  And now I am taking you on the journey.

Lesson one:  DYE COLORS

Let me start with the dye colors. Do you ever get confused about which blue, yellow, or red to buy?  I know that I did.  And then the zillions of colors that you can spend your money on.  Which ones are fabulous and which ones will sit on your shelf?  And how many of them do I need? Ann gave me some valuable clues.

Did you know there are only 14 pure MX Procion Dyes?  At first I thought that meant "pure" like you use the term for colors on a color wheel.  I was expecting a color wheel full range of colors.

Not quite.  The MX pure dyes are those made from one substance.  ALL of the other colors are mixtures of the pure dyes.  You will  notice when you see the list that there are 4 yellows, 1 orange, 2 reds, 2 purples (neither of which is called purple), 5 blues and NO green.

So the answer to which colors are necessary is 14.  All other colors are mixtures of these 14.  Now that doesn't mean not to ever buy any other colors.  I love Chartreuse and find it more practical to buy it mixed than to mix it each time.  You might have favorite mixed colors that you want to keep buying. But do start your buying with the 14 pure colors.

Here is the list of the pure colors from Prochem.  You can order similar ones from Dharma but Prochem was nice enough to post a list.  I was going to copy and  paste the list here but it copies poorly.  You will have to use the link to read the colors. The list from the Prochem site does print very nicely.

My first step when I learned that fact was to go through my dyes and find out which ones of the pure dyes I had and then order the rest.  I won't bore  you with how many OTHER reds, greens, oranges, pinks, etc I had.

My  next step was to go to the store and buy containers to mix and store my dye concentrates in.  I dye often enough that I can store some dyes already mixed with water (NOT soda ash water) in the fridge without worrying about the dye's losing their strength.  Now when ever I want to dye, I don't have to hunt down my mask to mix the dye powders!  One messy step already accomplished! The dye concentrate recipe is: 1 Tablespoon of dye powder/ 2 Tablespoons Urea/ enough water to make 1 cup of concentrate. Shake.

Just a note:  I wish that I had a separate fridge for all my dyes but I don't.  I store my dyes in the same fridge with my food.  The mixed dyes are clearly labeled, in similar containers, that container shape is not used for anything else but dyes, and they are in a designated location in the fridge.  With those rules I don't worry about my  husband and me mistaking the grape dye for grape juice.  But I don't have kids at home anymore either.  If you have kids, you might think about how to handle that problem before storing your dyes.

My  next project is to develop a color wheel of the pure dyes.  That will help me decide which of the 4 yellows and 5 blues I want to mix together to get green.

Note: Part of this post was taken from my post on And Then We Set It On Fire.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I am on Jane Davies's blog and Friday Favorites

Remember my telling you that I went to see Jane Davies's art show opening in VT?  Someone took pictures at the opening and Jane posted one that included me, my daugther Ellen, and her mother-in-law Cathy.  Here is the link to picture.  Ellen and I are on the right leaning against the jewelry case. Cathy is center left with short blonde hair and wearing a blue shirt. Abby, my 9 year old grand-daughter, was with us but is not in the picture. The picture was taken at the beginning when the Director of the gallery was introducing the artists.

And speaking of Abby, she made this cute little purse for me while I was visiting her. Cathy found the beads in her attic. They probably belonged to Cathy's mother, Abby's great grand-mother.  Cathy's aunt,  which I think makes her Abby's great-great-aunt, gave Abby an old book on how to make tiny purses with beads and ribbons.  Abby has spent her vacation time handsewing several of them.  She can hand sew as well as I can and also loves to sew on the sewing machine.  Abby is blessed with creative people on both sides of her family who encourage her.  Isn't that wonderful for her!

Friday Favorites

Lynn Krawczyk is offering a workshop on color theory.  Looks very good and is a fundamental skill all artists need.  I especially like the method she is using with making the same image multiple times in multiple colors to see the difference that different color combinations make.

These are oldies but goodies from  Terry Garrard-Dimond's blog. This one is the recipe for a flour paste resist. This one is where a reader has sent in her results.  I have yet to try a flour paste resist but this might be the weekend.

As I have been working on finishing some of my fabric monoprints, I came across this blog post.  Susan Christensen is doing the same with her monoprints.  Here is part of her profile:  "Textile artist with background in painting and printmaking."  Could almost be me!

 After struggling with the composition of one her art quilts, Terry Grant decided to lop off the bottom half--not a little bit but the entire bottom half.  It was the right decision and the piece is much stronger as a result of Terry's courage. Terry then came up with a list of guiding principles to follow.

Have a creative week!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I take no responsibility for Blob Animal #5

What does it say about me that I make really strange imaginary blob animals?


Bluebird of Happiness
He spreads joy everywhere cause we know he is toilet trained and we don't have anything to fear as he flies over us.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013