ATV. Part 3 colour studies. Written reflection

Reflection for part three

The colour section of ATV was the part I was dreading most. I don’t know very much about colour theory, the rules of colour, and not much of a grasp on complementary, split complementary or triad. If I like a colour I like it, if I like it with another colour great! I always feel colour for me is more intuitive than based on any rules. I did purchase a colour wheel and a copy of David Hornung’s book, Colour-A workshop for artists and designers [1] prior to starting this course but I have only skimmed through a few chapters.

I learnt a lot from colour matching the printed and neutral fabrics. It takes a lot of experimenting to create a perfect match. Colours I thought would mix to create the colour I needed were often not the case but I enjoyed the playing around with colour and found it quite therapeutic to make up charts of colour with written notes on what colours I had used. As I mentioned above, this has led me to keeping a small colour mix book of my own to experiment with colour mixes and chart new colours.

Translation through yarn was my favourite part of this module and I know that I will use it again for future projects. I enjoyed matching the yarns and working in proportions and the end results of the wraps are so tactile and nice to look at as well as being an invaluable resource.

Working with watercolour to translate the colours in glass objects was challenging. It took a lot of focus to be able to see colours that my brain was telling me were not there because the object was clear! I was pleased with the results of this exercise and the opacities of colour I had managed to make.

The research on colour digital resources was very enlightening to me and because of that research I have used Adobe Color CC throughout this module to help with extracting colour from objects and to see the difference between what the programme sees and what I see. I also have an app on my phone now so I can take photos while I’m out and create colour palettes for that image.

I found it a little repetitive doing 6 collages of the same image and I think that may have taken away some of the creativity of the collage for me. Even though each one was a different exercise in colour I think I would have been more creative in my approach if I could have worked from a couple of different images.

I enjoyed making my colour studies book. I have made books and journals before but had never done copic binding so that was new to me. I liked the challenge of keeping a fresh, clean look within the book and worked hard to achieve this overall look throughout. I was happy with a lot of the work I had done in this module which made selecting work a little harder. The book brought together the lessons really well into one place and makes a nice showcase of the work chosen to be in it.

[1] Published by Laurence King publishing 2012 ISBN: 978-1-85669-877-1


ATV 3 EX.3.4 part one & two Collage studies

Ex.3.4 Collage studies Part one

Aims to help you extend your skills at working with collage, with a focus on colour and composition

I took a photo of one end of my studio. It’s always messy at this end as that’s where everything tends to get put when I finish with it before I can be bothered to tidy up! I printed the photo out and then wrote a list of all the colours I could see in the photo. This gave me a starting point and made sure I didn’t miss any colours out. I used my light box to make a drawing of the photo which I could then collage onto.

Project4 (Small)

The first collage was a ‘simple’ collage. My first go at this was to use the simple drawing I had done and just use purple, blue and white tissue paper, just 3 simple colours. I wasn’t happy with this as it looked ‘empty so I added brown and black into the mix as well. I still wasn’t feeling it so decided to start again. I interpreted this by using simple block shapes for the collage and using the seven dominant colours in the photo. For the papers I used gouache paint to achieve the colours I needed. I also did a smaller line collage of these colours to go along with the simple collage.

Project6 (Small)

For the second collage which was an unusual colour combination I used Adobe Color CC to look for the smallest areas of bright colours in the photo. I then used my Gelli plate to create the colours I needed. This also gave a bit of texture to the colour and I could mix different colours together on the gelli plate quickly to get the colours I wanted and create a whole page of colour I could then cut up. The only issue I need note here is that I mixed the colours by matching them to the colours picked out on the screen. Then when I later printed off that colour palette for my sketchbook the colours came out a bit darker.  In future I need to print the colour palette out and work from that so that my tutor and assessors are seeing the same colours I am seeing.

unusual colour collage (Small)

The third collage was a ‘complex’ one. I decided to use patterned papers for this one, staying sympathetic to the original colour scheme and making sure that I didn’t introduce any ‘new’ colours into the mix within the patterns. This is my favourite collage. Using the patterned papers really takes it up a notch and it has a clean fresh feel to it even though it’s the complex one.

complex colour collage (Small)


Part two

For the monochromatic collage I used magazine pages in black, white, grey and text and pattern. I used black and white ink to outline and highlight areas. I like the contrasts in this collage but I feel it came out quite messy looking so I wasn’t happy to put it in my colour book so I have put it in my sketchbook.

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Next was a single colour study collage. I chose the yellow ochre colour of the desk, Gouache paint box and the shelves to explore. I photocopied my earlier simple colour collage to get a reference for the tonal values. I used my gelli plate again with antique gold acrylic paint with various amounts of white, black and grey for the mixes. I liked making the mixes on the gelli plate because you don’t know what you are going to get and it gives you a large range of colours to play around with.

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For the multi coloured collage I made my own patterned papers with the gelli plate using a range of tools and different papers like cake cases, greaseproof paper, old ledger paper, creased packaging paper, copy paper and corrugated card. For the colours, I literally just grabbed a handful of colours that were pleasing to me and played with them on the gelli plate. I stuck to the simple block collage as I wanted the colours and patterns to be the feature point.

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I made the conscious decision to stick with 2 styles for the collages so they would be cohesive in the colour studies book. One style was very simple, using blocks of paper to create the collage and the other was more complex, using a drawing I did of the photo and tracing and cutting out each piece of collage material for a more detailed, composed collage. I feel I have chosen the right design for each collage and feel that they explore the exercise given for each one.

The single colour collage was a really good exercise in tone and shade. Mixing colours to get those tones and shades and trying to keep the same tonal values in the collage was a (good0 challenge. I am pleased with the monochrome collage and the papers I chose to use but I feel it came out a little messy and when placed next to the other collages it didn’t seem to fit in so I made the decision to leave it out of my colour book.

I wasn’t keen on the gouache paints because of the chalkiness and also the tubes are only small in the set I bought and I knew I would need a lot to cover whole pages of paint to cut up, so I went with acrylics for the collages. Mixing the colours on a gelli plate was fast, easy and created a huge variety of colours and tones. On some of the prints the paint hasn’t mixed properly so you can the different colours used to make that mix which was great for the single colour collage. And on others it has given a flat, even colour so there was lots to work with and enough for sample swatches in my sketchbook and colour book.

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.