Beth Markel

Opining on Color

Posted on November 11, 2013 by Beth Markel

I have a new, favorite black.  And green.  It’s easy when you are working on a textile or an art quilt day-in and day-out, to become bored with it.  Perhaps “bored” isn’t the right word…it’s more like “meh” – where you have to dig deep, deep, deep to keep working on it – when what you really want to do is start a new project!  Fresh color!  New ideas!  Endless possibilities!

For weeks now, I have been sewing and sewing and sewing a piece that’s the first in a new restructured series, and I limited myself in color choices to push the envelope of design, without being distracted by multiple colors.  Sometimes color carries a piece of art.  Sometimes color detracts from what the artist is trying to say – think of crisp or moody black/white photos – where adding color would be a loss of design or focus or foreground.  In Ansel Adam’s work, color would just have made his photographs postcards or beautiful landscapes.  But in B/W, Ansel Adams made statements about the grandeur, the awe, the magnitude and majesty in nature.

A simple example from some kitchen photos:


Now you see texture, not the color

Now you see texture, not the color







So, as I said, I have a new, favorite black.  It comes from AQS and is called “midnight” black, #978-1-232000.  It’s luscious!  Some dark blacks read almost blue – like Veronica’s hair in the old Archie comic books.  Don’t laugh.  They are a staple of my youth!  Some blacks have a gray/silverish finish or hue when turned just slightly to catch the light, while others are not a dark enough tint to really read black, but more like an intense, deep gray, almost blackish.  However, this ‘midnight’ black is just beautiful!  It’s like a walk in the dark, before the moon really starts to rise, or is just a sliver, and you’re away from the city, so no lights are within miles of where you are standing – looking up at the night sky as stars just begin to peek out.

My new favorite green – Cherrywood Citron.  Citron  It’s an acid green, without the annoying phosphorescence or other-worldly hue.  It’s delicious!  It’s more intense than a celery green, and more vibrant than a lime, but works beautifully with other shades of green, browns, yellow, and blues, without being garish, or shouting for attention.  It’s a very sexy color, but sexy in an assured and confident way – not a twerking sort of way.

So I have taken a break.  Made a fresh pot of coffee.  Opined on my new favorite colors.  It’s back to the digging DEEP to finish a piece that seems like it’s 100 feet long, when it’s really only 5’ square, or close to it.  What I can say, is that I think this will be a significant piece.

Look for something which inspires you, everyday!





alison schwabe on December 3, 2013

Hi Beth, I saw your intro on SAQA's list, and came to looksee. I am so glad I dipped into your interesting blog, because the little citron square totally caught my eye - I totally agree with your description and it is one of my preferred colours, too - one I'm running out of but have a few little bits in the scrap bag, eeking them out .... well naturally I followed the link, discovere Cherrywood, ordered some citron of course!!! and a couple more plus a grab bag which really suits the way I work - ie. lots of many many colours pieced into large areas of background. I'm in Uruguay but will be coming to the US over Xmas and NY so will collect my fabric order from our son's place then. Good cotton fabrics are hard or impossible to find here regardless of colour, so I stock up selectively when the opportunity arises in either USA or Australia.

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