ATV 3 Colour studies EX. 3.1- Gouache studies

ATV Part 3 colour studies

Project 1 colour palettes and proportion

Ex.3.1 Gouache studies- part one

Collate, observe and record colour palettes from a series of textiles

I had never used gouache paints before so the first thing I did was make a colour reference chart to refer to throughout this exercise. I had thought to just use acrylic paints for this exercise but the students in the textiles Facebook group advised me to go with the gouache. To be honest I found the texture of them similar to acrylic paint.

I started with the printed fabric samples. I used fabrics that had a good range of colours. The gouache colour would match ok but when it dried it would go chalky and throw the colour off so I needed to wait until samples had dried before I could get an accurate colour match. I found it useful to make a chart stating which colours I had mixed together to get the final colour and I have included these in my sketchbook. This has also led me to start keeping a smaller colour reference journal when I am painting and for recording colours from new paints, pencils and pens. I am hoping this will become a useful asset.

Project1 (Small)

For the neutral fabric I used a calico with a repeating stitch. I actually found this one a little easier as there were more variances of colour and tone. In some light the fabric had a slight orangey hue, in others, strangely, slightly green.

I feel I matched the colours well and am happy with the results I achieved. I think a lot depends on how you personally see colour and the light conditions you are working under and also to a small degree the paper you are using.

Ex. 3.1 part 2

Extending the design- printed fabric

I chose a lovely vintage piece of printed fabric for this part. The fabric reminded me of a particular designer, which after searching through google and looking at Mackintosh, Skandia retro and 60’s and 70’s retro, I finally realised it was reminiscent of some Clarice Cliff designs (not important to the project, but bugging me!) Again, I started by mixing samples and noting down the colours used on a colour chart. I broke the fabric down into what colours there were- 5 colours, 2 shades of greys, 2 shades of purples and 1 pink which highlighted and balanced the rest of the colours, all a repeating pattern on an off white background. I had to wait for the paint to dry again before seeing if it was a good match. I feel I matched the colours and the pattern well in this exercise so I am pleased with the result.

Project2 (Small)

I have to say that I am not loving the gouache paint. Maybe it’s because I bought a cheap set but I am finding them very chalky and I am not managing to achieve a good flat colour with them. Having to wait until the colour dries to see how it changes is time consuming as well. If I was to do this exercise again I think I would use acrylics.


Ex.3.1 part 3

Extending the design- neutral fabric

I chose a sort of cheese cloth fabric with lines of thicker slub running through it. I found this piece more challenging which surprised me as the neutral fabric in part 1 I found easier. I think this was to do with the texture and open weave of this fabric. Because of the open weave colour could be seen underneath it creating shadows and it is quite a shiny fabric which caused lots reflection off of it which constantly changed the colour and tone of the fabric. I did my colour samples first and waited for them to dry. I applied a base colour and then used a fan brush to add in some darker marks. I went over it again with the base colour and then used titanium white on a dry brush to add texture. In my sketchbook I did try this piece on tan paper and black paper as I thought that might work better but I didn’t really like the results as the background paper changed the colours I was using.

Project3 (Small)



Having to break colours down in order to recreate them made me really look at how colour is made up. Some colours contained surprising colours- like one of the greys for the printed fabric had brown undertones and one had blue. The blue I expected, the brown I didn’t.  Learning how to mix and recording those mixes in detail I felt was very beneficial. Also light plays a huge part in how you see the colours. I worked in my studio under a daylight lamp, but when I turned the lamp off and just had the ceiling light on, the colours were very different. Because of this I made sure if I was coming back to anything that I got the light conditions the same as before otherwise my colours would be off.