Coursework Part 5: Project 2: Building A Response: Colour Palettes and Paper Manipulations

 Colour Palettes

I painted six proportional colour palettes inspired by drawings from Project 1. I have shown them next to their relevant drawing in an earlier article, but here they are all together. They have quite different associations in my mind (left to right, top, then bottom):- soft, muted Spring-like; Japanese, masculine; Summer deckchairs; flower garden; romantic eveningwear; and this final palette reminds me of a Paul Smith striped shirt or scarf.

My husband, (being a software engineer), wondered if there was a programme that could carry out this analysis (to produce a proportional colour palette) automatically. He found TinEye Labs Color Extraction, which I used to analyse Drawing #6 (the collage). The software limits the palette to the most featured nine colours and it can be set to ignore the external and internal backgrounds. (Here it is ignoring the external background, but has been unable to judge the edge of the image because the colour differentiation is small). It has not been 100% accurate, but it is a quick way of generating a proportional palette from an image.

TinEye Labs - Color Extraction Lab

Inspiration

The artists I researched for this Project, may inform my work in the following ways:-

  • drawing first hand from source materials and using drawing for further development
  • making representational drawings, that can be simplified into more abstract forms
  • considering the associations that a chosen colour palette may evoke
  • use of layering
  • making a piece of work from smaller units, that are combined
  • the inclusion of geometric or other unexpected elements with organic forms

Developing Textile Concepts

The first task was to review and evaluate my drawings to see which ones I would like to develop.

I liked the linear marks in Drawings #12 and #13 and particularly liked the colour palette of #13.

I felt that the layered aspect of Drawing #11 had potential for further development.

The mixed marks found in two areas of the largest drawing, #14,  were interesting, and I could see them translated into stitch and surface texture.

The suggested textures in drawings #15, #17, #10 and #8 were possible candidates for taking forwards. The puckered nature of the chard leaf could work well as a textile, for example.

At this stage, I opted to use papers with the most appropriate textures that I could muster, and re-introduce colour at a later stage in the development process.

Paper Manipulations #1 and #2, inspired by plum tree Drawing #12

#1 Japanese rice paper with folds

#2 black card and copier paper with areas removed, layered, one sheet in reverse

I felt that both of these manipulations represented the stark lines of the original drawing well. The folded piece would take stitch well, but if worked on textile, I think it would need to be pre-stiffened to hold the creases well, or maybe pinned in position with stitch to hold the creases in place. Having layering in mind from my research into Leisa Rich’s work, I tried two of the paper cuts layered and thought that it worked well, and could even have more layers added with different textures included.

Paper Manipulations #3 – #5, inspired by the blossom in Drawing #13

#3 punched and torn tissue paper, kitchen towel and copier paper

#4 machine sewn pierced holes on tracing paper (no thread used, reverse of piece shown)

#5 folded and cut tracing paper

The tiny fragments of paper in #3 could work in textiles, and would need gluing or sewing into position, or could be machine sewn between layers of tulle netting or translucent fabric, or soluble fabric. Both the punched dots and paper left after punching had a light and airy feel to them; the torn shreds were feathery and ephemeral, so represented the ‘blossom’ marks in the drawing quite well.

The machine sewn holes were not, I felt, a success. The oil from the needle marked the paper and the texture looked and felt ‘gritty’ and too fine – maybe useful in another context.

#5 was the most successful texture, with random ‘petals’ cut into the folded paper, these could be opened out and cast interesting shadows and could also be used in a layered construction.

I made a two evaluative drawings of #5 and decided to try two more paper manipulations with a more formal composition: one folded into rectangles with a larger five-petalled flower, and one with rows of large and small petal shapes.

#6 folded and cut tissue paper

#7 as above

The tissue paper gave more ‘drape’ to the sample than using tracing paper, and the larger petals of #6 gave more movement to the ‘petals’, paired with larger holes, which might allow layering options. I felt that this sample could be successfully translated to fabrics – either a fine silk or chiffon (for accessories such as scarves and shawls, wedding veil, or evening tops); or made in felt for a completely different weight (maybe for a bag, or home decor feature such as a lamp shade).

Paper and Plastic Manipulations #8 – #10, inspired by Drawing #15

#8 Plastic from a mailing sack, stretched and sewn

#9 Plastic as above, melted over a candle

#10 Scrunched tissue paper (also tried wet – sample not shown)

The plastic gave the result most like the marks in the drawing of the chard leaf, particularly the melted version. Stitch can be added to accentuate the ruching. I made two evaluative drawings of #10, looking at the highlights and lowlights, in felt pens (made looking at the plastic, not at the drawing), then in ink and masking fluid.

I think that this texture (as seen in the plastic manipulation), and as a print like the drawing, has potential as a fashion textile, or perhaps in performance costume where a dramatic effect is called for (the villain’s outfit). I feel that it would work in any combination of a bold colour (red, green, blue, white) with white or black marks. The puffy, 3-D version could be self coloured. The ‘blind’ felt pen drawing, or a detail of it, could be made into a tufted rug.

Plastic and Paper Manipulations #11 – 15, inspired by tulip Drawings #8 and #10

#11 wooden tool embossing on glossy photographic paper

#12 various tools embossing on glossy photographic paper

#13 various tools embossing on wax coated copier paper

#14 cuts made in plastic (from a carrier bag)

#15 embossing on plastic

Trying to capture the linear marks from the source drawings: the embossing on both types of paper worked well, and I even preferred the reverse (repoussé) effect. The fine regular slits in plastic were a good match for the felt pen lines in one of the drawings. The irregular, short cuts made little impact. Embossing the plastic made small drag marks in the material, as well as the lines, which gave an interesting texture, but not like that of the drawings. The red plastic had a very tulip-like colour and texture, giving associations with sexuality and ‘danger’. I can imagine punk-style fashion made using this material. Layering would again be possible. The embossed paper and card should take stitch well and could be an interesting background texture: it reminded me of abstract landscapes or wood grain.

Paper Manipulations #16 – 18, inspired by the stitch-on-photograph Drawing #17

#16 long cuts in copier paper, with some areas removed

#17 short cuts in thin card, one side knotted, one side dipped in melted wax

#18 fine, long cuts in thin card, folded in a spiral at base and glued

The copier paper version was drapeable and not very much like the drawing in ‘feel’, apart from the line directions

#17 had more body, and the knotted ends reminded me of the stamen in the catkin. The waxed side had the waxy, succulent look of the white part of the catkin.

#18 was my favourite: it was like a stiff natural brush, but the tips of the ‘bristles’ curled over and made for a texture full of movement and interest. Thinking of how this could be further developed: finding a textile or thread with similar properties, and making small areas of this texture against a plainer background could work well. It reminded me somewhat of Wanshu Li‘s beautiful jewellery that I saw at the Edinburgh Degree Show last year.

I made three drawings of aspects of the three paper manipulations. The drawing of #17 (white on grey) reminded me of frayed fabric; while the drawing of #18 (yellow on brown) made me think of batik marks or slashing, or loose, large stitches. The white drawing feels limp and languid, feather-like and wispy (lines like this could possibly be printed onto fabric), while the yellow marks feel more vibrant, lively and energetic.

Paper Manipulations #19 – 20, inspired by Drawing #14 (mixed media distant garden foliage).

#19 – sanding, cuts, gouges and piercing using various tools on watercolour paper

#20 – scrunched tissue paper and wool balls on sandpaper

I looked at two small areas of the drawing, using a viewfinder, imitating ‘marks’ in the first piece and texture in the second. The cuts and gouges gave interesting, fairly subtle textures, the pierced holes were more interesting on the reverse, where little mounds formed around the holes. These subtle processes might be useful for transforming a piece with a simple, monotone palette to create areas of different ‘perspective’ or focus.

I liked the variations in texture and the colour palette in #20. I think it could take some stitch to add further textures. I felt that the asymmetrical appearance and blank, ‘quiet’ areas worked well in representing the textures found in the drawing.

Drawings of the paper manipulations: of #20 using graphite, eraser marks, chalks and carved-sponge-printed gesso; of #19 using various felt pens and markers.

The piece with many small marks would convert to textile and stitch quite well, with overlapping marks, possibly on a patchworked ground; the tree/blossom drawing could work in a textured appliqué with large stitch on a finely textured background, or maybe on a tulle netting ground. I could imagine this design on eveningwear, or as a wall hanging.

Paper Manipulation #21, inspired by one layer of Drawing #11

#21 – scalpel cuts; and pierced holes made with needles, pottery tool and scalpel on Japanese paper.

The drawing that inspired this paper manipulation was made up of stylised shapes with different pattern infills (lines, dashes, dots) and I tried to recreate those patterns without outlines, suggesting the shapes of the flower heads. For the pierced areas, the reverse of the paper shows the most texture. The scalpel cut areas were the most successful, giving clear lines that would allow a second layer to show through and they had a bold, graphic feel to them. The paper is drapeable, semi-opaque and has a delicate look and feel. The simple, off-white palette (shown here against a black layer) would be suitable for home decor, or in silk or organza as scarf or blouse fabric.

I will now try adding stitch to some of the paper and plastic manipulations as the next stage in the textile development process.

Summary

What have I learnt during this process?

  • using a simple palette at this stage keeps focus on the marks, lines and textures made
  • drawings may suggest further developments
  • the reverse of a piece may be more interesting that the front
  • my first time using the paper cut technique
  • taking away areas of a paper, or using a transparent or translucent paper gives an opportunity for layering, which may be useful when translated to textiles

References:-

Websites:-

http://labs.tineye.com/color Accessed 19/04/17

https://www.liwanshu.co/graduation-collection Accessed 24/04/17

2 thoughts on “Coursework Part 5: Project 2: Building A Response: Colour Palettes and Paper Manipulations”

  1. What a feast for the eyes. I love your ‘simple’ palette and the inspiration from the catkins drawing. the cut-papers are so delish. Your Hubby did a great find there. I love how that feature is free of all the fuzz of the the normal designer apps. I did not know that the guys over at tinEye also did this. I have bookmarked this – I think you’ve found a super tool. And you have a great starting point for MMT if you go that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I think I have something to work with for the next stage of development. It is somewhat daunting to work your way through the process, making only your own judgements, so your opinion is very useful – thank you! Yes, I had not thought to look for a proportional palette creator before this, so I think I will use that option again.

      Liked by 1 person

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