Autumn is a wonderful time to reignite your passion for colour inspiration, the colours in nature can often be truly spectacular. However, when it is cold, or wet, and the clocks go back, it is so easy to leave for work and come home from work in darkness and spend most of your time inside with artificial light. Taking the time to go outside and look for bursts of natural colour can be truly uplifting.
I have a natural curiosity about many things, but one ongoing fascination has always been about the impact of colour. This fascination is part of a lifetime of interest in creativity and coaching creative people, finding different ways to fire a creative spark. It saddens me to see sparkly bright personalities being forced into situations where their energy, imagination and joy de vivre is being dampened by their surroundings.
I love pops of colour, which can lift your mood, but I equally recognize that too much colour can be exhausting. One way of discovering the right combination of colour choices for you is to take the time to explore which colours really resonate with you. One of the first steps is just to look around you focusing on the different colours and your reaction to them.
Wherever you are reading this, there will be colour; just take a moment and acknowledge the key colours; from the items on your desk, to the walls and furniture in your kitchen, or lounge, in the train compartment, in the restaurant, to the colours you can see outside the window, to what you are wearing, or even in your bedding, Colour is around us all the time, we just may not take active notice of it as we spend so much of our time absorbed with other things.
As you made this quick tour, depending on your environment, the colours you noticed may have evoked an emotion; a desire to go outside if the skies are blue, a fondness for some of the items that you cherish, even a recognition that you are living with someone else’s colour choices whether at home or at work.
Like an interest in creativity, I think if you are genuinely interested in colour, you often have an underlying passion for it, but this can so easily become smothered in the wrong environment, or the day-to-day pressures of life and work. So it’s important to take time to rediscover how finding the right combination of colours in your life can provide inspiration on a dark and dull day, make your wardrobe choices so much easier and provide you with a welcoming sanctuary in your home.
If your curiousity about the impact of colour is aroused and you would like to discover more about your own colour preferences, I would recommend starting with The Little Book of Colour – How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life by Karen Haller.
As a far-reaching book about colour, this book examines the history of colour, how we perceive colour, and the relationship between colour and how we feel. What I also loved about this book is that it not only charts previous research about the history of colour, it provides a dynamic opportunity to contribute to the ongoing debate about the impact of colour in real life.
One of my favourite parts of this book is an absolutely fascinating chapter on Colour and Your Personality, including a Colour and Design Personality Quiz. From the results of this Quiz you can then discover How to Wear Colour, Colour in the Home, Colour at Work and Colour in Relationships.
Images courtesy of The Little Book of Colour – How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life by Karen Haller, published by Penguin Life
Reading Karen Haller’s book immediately engaged my interest again in colour, finding like-minded people who have a similar love and interest is like sunshine on a cloudy day.
If you want to experiment more with colour, another exercise that I highly recommend is from Conscious Creativity – Look, Connect, Create by Philippa Stanton.
“Collecting colour through observation is another simple way to lead you into the daily practice of actually looking at what’s around you and loosens up your ‘noticing’ skills….. There is always ample opportunity for colour collecting. Whether you’re out on a walk or just doing chores at home, you will be surrounded by colours that most people don’t even notice. Once you start ‘collecting’ them, this can become informative and incredibly satisfying.…Colour collecting is something that a camera phone is really useful for, because when a colour jumps out at you, perhaps when you least expect it you have an instant way to ‘capture’ it.”
Philippa then suggests a Daily Practice of choosing to focus on one colour in a whole variety of contexts both outdoors and indoors.
This is an absolutely fascinating activity, and will heighten your appreciation of just how far-reaching colours can be and also inspire your creativity.
As you can see from the beautiful collections below, the richness of the colours when all the items are gathered together is absolutely amazing!
Images courtesy of Conscious Creativity – Look, Connect, Create by Philippa Stanton, published by Leaping Hare Press
The Use of Colour in Your Home
When you are choosing colours for your home, many other factors may come into play, in a partnership you may have to compromise on colour preferences, as parents recognizing that you may be enhancing or restricting the colour choices of your children.
If you are renting a property there may be restrictions on the colours that you can have on the walls. But as more and more people are renting there are very creative ways around this, from using wall hangings, to gaining permission to paint a statement wall with an agreement to repaint it at the end of a tenancy. But the colour of the walls is only one part of the story; there are many other ways that you can introduce colour into your interiors.
One of the things that I have always enjoyed when decorating a property is the use of colour when you link from one part of the house to another; so that when you open a door the colour combinations really blend from one room to another as the eye travels.
How you accessorize your home with colour can provide you with so many different ways of using colour in your home, from the fabrics that you use, to collections of favourite items, to flowers and books, every item has a contribution to make.
If you like to regularly change the ‘look’ in your home be aware of investing in expensive items like sofas if this is something that you have to live with for several years. This is where creating a mood board and working with different combinations of colours and textures can be really helpful so that you can see how all the elements can work together.
If you are interested in creating original pieces of artwork for your home in Colour Confident Stitching – How to Create Beautiful Colour Palettes Karen Barbé demonstrates how to create a colour palette in order to understand different colours and their relationship with each other. She examines in detail, colour theory concepts like colour schemes, hue, value and saturation and colour moods. This is followed by colour sensitivity as a means of training your eyes for spotting colours in your everyday life, in nature, your surroundings, or your favourite objects, and learning how to extract and integrate them in a fresh and original palette.
In a fascinating chapter on how to Create Your Palette, she illustrates the key stages of capturing the colours, registering the mood, creating a colour chart, creating a colour plan and choosing your preferred colour plan and finally choosing your preferred colour palette for your design. The initial inspiration for the palettes comes from a variety of contexts, fabric collections, materials, table settings, areas of your home, in your neighbourhood, or places of special interest.
Images courtesy of Colour Confident Stitching – How to Create Beautiful Colour Palettes Karen Barbé, published by Pimpernel Press Ltd.
When you focus on, or isolate particular colours you become much more aware of them and their impact; surrounding yourself with your favourite colours can be uplifting and a wonderful way to incorporate colour into your home, your daily life and your creative designs.
Here are the detailed descriptions of each of the books:
The Little Book of Colour – Karen Haller
How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life
Description: The definitive guide to using the power of colour to improve your happiness, wellbeing and confidence.
What if I told you that all around you is something that can increase your motivation and positively influence how you feel?
It’s called colour.
Building on over 20 years of experience, Applied Colour & Design Psychology Specialist Karen Haller puts this life-changing solution in your hands. With her unmatched expertise, she demonstrates the many practical ways in which you can use colour to transform your life. In the first book that mixes the science, psychology and emotional impact of colour, Karen Haller takes you on a journey through rediscovering the joy of colour.
Conscious Creativity – Philippa Stanton
Look, Connect, Create
Description: How often do you notice the texture of a painted wall or the scent of a friend’s house and, importantly, how they make you feel? Connect your observations and your emotions and transform your creative practice with this essential toolbox packed full of exercises, tips, stunning images and personal experiences from dynamic artist Philippa Stanton.
There is creativity in all of us, but it can easily be buried beneath our everyday concerns, or need a spark to bring it back to life. Whether you’ve lost your mojo or just need some fresh ideas, artist and photographer Philippa Stanton’s lively guide will stimulate your imagination and reinvigorate your creative life.
Conscious Creativity will help you fully appreciate what is around you, opening all your senses to the beauty you may not notice every day, and showing you how to capture it. Simple, engaging exercises that encourage observation and experimentation will give you an insight into your own aesthetics as you take a conscious step to note the colours, shapes, shadows, sounds and textures that fill your world and how they make you feel.
Bursting with practical ideas and inspirational images, Conscious Creativity shows you how to unlock your potential, learn to use your natural curiosity and take a leap into the most creative time of your life.
Colour Confident Stitching – Karen Barbé
How to Create Beautiful Colour Palettes
Description: Choosing colours for a crafting project can be daunting and creating colour palettes is a design task in itself but textile designer Karen Barbé’s explanations makes it a fun and enjoyable part of the process.
Whether you are a beginner or more experienced, any stitching project, no matter how simple, can be enhanced by a well-chosen colour palette, however, many people are nervous or even scared of colour. Textile designer Karen Barbé regularly teaches embroidery workshops and knows first-hand the fears and frustrations of beginners – as well as accomplished crafters – when starting a new project. Karen makes choosing and creating colour palettes a fun and enjoyable part of the design process.
Colour Confident Stitching is divided into three parts: Understanding Colour; Feeling Colour and Stitching with Colour. The first two sections guide the reader through colour theory as well as choosing and using colour more instinctively. Stitching with Colour includes five stitching projects that will encourage the reader to explore colour and build confidence through exercise and experiment. All colours are referenced to DMC floss colours.
Inspirational photographs are accompanied by stitching illustrations and step-by-step photographs for the colour choosing process as well as stitching projects.