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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Langenfeld from Landscapes in Fabric

Which Fabrics/Colors Do You Choose?

Updated: Nov 30, 2019


What about all the fabrics you love and those go-to colors that jump out at you? Whatever you've spent on them or how much you love them doesn't help when you need to choose the right ones for a piece with a certain mood. Mood? Isn't it hard enough just to choose something that looks like the picture you're recreating? Well it kind of depends on what you know about color. If you love your starter picture exactly the way it is, just copy it. But, really, how creative is that? It's a way to get started, copying, but if you've got some experience, you may want to try to adjust the drama, the atmosphere, the mood.

It's not hard, it just means you need to consider fabrics and colors other than the exact matches.

Think about colors on the color wheel You know that primaries are red, blue and yellow (common names not official names-I taught first grade!). They are equally spaced on the color wheel.

Three colors next to each other are called analogous. They can be warm, like reds, oranges, yellows, and some greens, and some violets. Cool ones are blues, some greens and some violets. Grayish shades of any color can make it cooler.

Complimentary colors are opposites on the wheel, one is always warm, one always cool.

OK, so what? What about the feeling in my picture? In broad generalizations, cool tones, even cool tones of red or green (they have more blue in them) or ones that are grayish can make your picture feel calm, quiet, damp, or make the area they are in, recede.

If you want an area or picture to 'pop' warm colors are the way to go, as they are active feeling and make areas advance visually. To emphasize depth in an area, use warm and cool colors near each other.

Finally, you don't need to exactly match what you see in a picture (thank goodness, right?) because that's very hard to do. So give yourself a break and give yourself credit for being creative. Change the mood, change what you actually see with color. Look at your favorite fabrics and colors with consideration of the mood they convey.

In these pictures, I created simple scenes which are nearly the same except for the fabrics I chose. Actually this is an attempt at showing the four seasons, I like the concept but not the pieces. So what is wrong? How would you change them? What about the mood?


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Coming soon, using value to change the effectiveness of your pieces.

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