International Colour Day, 2014

Today is International Colour Day – nicely chosen to coincide with the Equinox.  Around this date, “night and day are equally long which symbolically juxtaposing the complementary nature of dark and light, of shadow and illumination, that are expressed in all human cultures“, Colour Group GB

pencil shards

To celebrate, here are some of my photos where I think colour speaks for itself. I know, I know, white isn’t a colour but I view it as utterly magnanimous because instead of absorbing or snatching wavelengths, it reflects and shares them straight back again thus becoming the most pure, peaceful and generous ‘colour’ in my mind…

White Peace

White Peace

Beautiful, Elegant Green

Beautiful, Elegant Green

Warning, Agressive Red

Warning, Agressive Red

Endlessly Creative Blue

Endlessly Creative Blue

Ray of Yellow Hope

Ray of Yellow Hope

For more colour inspiration have a look at the  Dulux Colour Awards 2014 which is run in partnership with The Guardian – definitely worth a look.

What colour are you feeling like today and how will you celebrate today, March 21st 2014, International Colour Day? 

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Requiring the Nothingness of White

Having spent the summer pouring over my Pantone  Plus Series fan deck, I have reached a point of complete colour saturation. I feel totally unable to work with colour today which is deeply frustrating as I have some important colour work to finalise. However, it’s not an unusual situation for people working with colour and thankfully there are two routes to “recovery”.

Often a walk amongst green foliage can rebalance ones ability to look at colour with “fresh” eyes and is a technique I often use. Today though, I can’t even take green so I have opted for my second route to recovery – strip everything back to black and white.

Although black is fully saturated i.e it absorbs the whole spectrum and bounces nothing back, it forbids any of its captured colours to dominate. White on the other hand absorbs nothing and is therefore the cleanest and most pure backdrop on which to start. This tells us that black  has a very low  reflective”value” and white a high light reflective value (LRV) allowing high visual contrast when looking at black and white together.

High visual contrast allows the shape or form of the image to be more dominant and that is exactly what I am looking for in order to make good colour choices.

So I am stripping off colour and slowly adding it back in, a process that is making me fine tune every element in a measured and considered way. A spontaneous process no it’s not, but this is just the fine tuning at the end of a long process and it’s definitely working.

One word of warning though, you cant just convert a coloured image into black and white and gain a high visual contrast. If the original image is say, red and green, even though they are “contrasting” colours, convert it to black and white you will discover red and green have a similar LRV and therefore will give you very little contrast indeed – more about this in my previous  post.

So befuddled with colour don’t panic, enjoy the nothingness of white with the contrast of black and you will find yourself back on the colour trail shortly.

Classic and Cool

The signal has been made. It’s official. It is blue and white season. It takes the place of vibrant spring greens and citrus yellows. It happens every year without fail and is actually the only truly timeless combination I can think of. It’s not a trend it’s a national treasure.

So versatile you will see it in classical interiors as well as ultra-hip hotels. It was popular in Britain as early as 1750 to decorate pottery. It’s fresh, it’s cool and it’s classic.

Shop windows are stuffed with blue and white combos – clothes and home wares, and not many of us can resist. Perhaps it allows us to shake off the last of that winter feeling or dream of summers on Greek islands or picket fences in Maine.

Whether you paint your floor boards white or spray some old wicker furniture blue, it’s a budget combo that won’t let you down whatever decade we are in.