ATV 3 colour studies EX. 3.2 Translation through yarn

Ex. 3.2 Translation through yarn

Work on ways of interpreting colour and colour proportions from a 2D image, through yarn and material selection and placement. Extract, explore and present a palette of colours.

The painting I chose was Woman in a blue dressing gown torso exposed by Edgar Degas. It is an impressionist, nude painting done with oils on canvas between 1887-1890.

woman-in-a-blue-dressing-gown-torso-exposed (Small)


I chose this painting because I liked the combination and depth of colours used. There are lots of smaller dabs of colour which create different tones and shades of the same colour.

I printed the image on my Dads printer as his is better quality than mine but actually the colours came out very differently from the original image so I then tried printing it on my Kodak printer and the colours were a lot truer.

Project4 (Small)

I used Adobe Color CC to choose different areas of the painting to extract. I did this four times, each time trying to capture the same colour but in a different shade. This gave me a huge range of colours and tones, more maybe than I might have distinguished just by eye. I took the smaller 4 images and the larger image with me to the yarn shop to match the colours. I felt I had made good colour matches in the shop, even taking the yarns to the window to see them in natural light, but once home some of the colours looked totally different. Again, the light you are working with greatly changes the way we see the colours.

I started by making mini wrap samples for my sketchbook of the colour choices on each of the 4 images. There were 5 colours per image so I had to match 20 colours in total which actually was easier than I thought once I pulled out my scrap box to combine with the new yarns I had bought. I made a note of each yarn used in my sketchbook, including the colour code if available, where I bought it from and price, if known. For these 4 small images I didn’t concentrate on the proportion of colour, just the correct colour match.

Project1 (Small)

Project5 (Small)

I then moved onto a larger wrap using all the colours in the image that I could see by eye (not picked out by digital resource) and wrapping them in proportion to the image. I layered different yarns to get the different shades in some cases. Again, I made sure to record all the yarns in my sketchbook for future reference. I used a total of 29 colours on the larger wrap to represent all the colours I could see. It would be so interesting to know the names of the colours Degas actually used in his painting and how many mixes he made.

I really enjoyed the yarn wrapping but wanted to see if I could take it a step further. There was so much texture in the Degas painting that I wanted to see if I could try and capture that as well as the colour. I chose to look at four areas of the painting- the bottom left background, the dressing gown, the top left background and the torso. For each of these areas I made squares of mount board and used the chosen colours of yarn for that area to wrap and weave in different ways, expressing the texture of each area. I was really pleased with these mini wraps and felt they reflected the colours and textures of the painting.

Project2 (Small)


I enjoyed this task even though I was quite daunted by it at the start and didn’t think I would be able to match the colours so accurately. I enjoyed going through my yarn stash and my scrap box and mixing yarns together to create the right colour. I think that using Adobe Color CC to take colour swatches in the first instance really helped me to see the range of colours in the painting and be confident enough to extract them in yarn form. It also made me look closely at the balance and proportion of colour used within the painting, seeing not just how many colours there were but all the different range of shades and tones of the same colour and the mixing and layering it must have taken to obtain that colour. I am really pleased with the wraps, they look good, the colours have been matched well and I am pleased that I took it a step further with the mini squares to create texture as well as colour. I feel that yarn wraps will be a good tool to use in the future when selecting colour and materials to use with my own images.