Thursday, 22 December 2011

Colour from the season - Mistletoe yellow

In winter once the leaves have all fallen, you can see the Mistletoe hanging in ethereal almost perfectly circular balls from the branches. A partial parasite, it provides the host with energy (through photosynthesis) but it also takes food from the plant and eventually is destructive to it.

There are numerous and varied explanations where the custom of kissing underneath it came from on the internet. It has certainly long been a symbol of peace and also fertility, but if it's difficult to be absolutely sure when the custom started, its not hard to understand why its still going strong!

Its delicate structural form casts wonderful shadows. The berries not white at all but the palest green/grey, vibrant yellow buds blending down into the stems and leaves.

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Colour from the season - Hawthorn berry red

Lining the lanes here in the Shire at the moment, I notice the red of the Hawthorn berries, starting to blacken with age not falling but desiccating on the branches. It's a rich subdued red, perfect for this time of year. I love the Hawthorn, I love its leaves, its berries, its folklore, perhaps this should be the red of Christmas rather than (to my mind) the more garish red of the Holly berry...

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...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Colour from the Season - Hydrangea petal red

Hydrangeas (I believe) are at their most attractive as the flowers start to fade and become skeletal. I was in a very frazzled mood the day I drew this. It's captured in the drawing and it perhaps has more vigour and expression because of it. It may not appeal to everyone, I know that my mum wasn't overly keen(!x) but I rather like it. The faded colours reminiscent of the natural dyes, Brazilwood, Walnut and I'm pretty sure that Weld over-dyed in a weak Indigo vat will produce that green...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Colour from the Season - Rose hip (Maigold) orange

Recently I had a letter from a student asking me about my 'interpretation of details extracted from the landscape' and how I transfer them to textiles. I thought this was an interesting description and certainly beats the clich├ęd expression ..inspired by nature (which as a rule I try never to use).

Originally I began writing in this blog about seasonal colour because I was tired of the increasing influence of the global trend forecasting industry for colour and design. My designs have at times been in trend forecasting magazines and used for trend forecasts. Although these publications can be very inspirational, they are also self fulfilling. Designers follow the colour and trend predictions and therefore the predictions are fulfilled. I felt there was an alternative story to be told and I decided to research seasonal colour from plants, which I have been doing for the past 13 months.

As the notebook has developed it is increasingly a useful resource book of colour and imagery. I document all the colours directly from the plant and I record them in CMYK, RGB and NCS colours - which are the colour systems I use. It's meant I am continually drawing, developing creative ideas through drawing and 'extracting details from the landscape' to build a personal visual language for my creative work. If it also inspires other people then that's even better.

Here, the intense and fiery hip colours of the Maigold Rose outside my front door at the moment - it's the upside of not getting around to dead-heading..!

P.S. ..just posted on our silk screen blog ( how to...coat a silk-screen!

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.