I took a trip to Pantone, Inc. last night to see what they had of interest. For 40 years, Pantone has been recognized as the global authority on color. They (not Martha) dictate what colors the cars, carpet, & pillowslips will be this year, and 10 yrs. from now. As I understand it, the whole thing is based on what used to be a big book of enameled color chips - each with a number, and the fact that it allowed a company in Alaska to send that number to a company in Tasmania and order colorant for their product.
Times are fancier now, but the idea and the color chip system is still as grand. Eons ago, I took Wilcke Smith's color workship twice! Once to do the intensive 3 day color exercises and again to sit and take notes on the gems she dropped while participants slaved. It was worth it.
Among the projects we did was a series of color runs that make a mini color chip system. It's 1 of the 2 most valuable things I ever learned. To have a tool for smooth color transitions that I can actually hold yarns over is worth every bit of sweat & tears. Since Wilcke is no longer teaching, I'll share some of the exercises. You may want to brush-up on basic color terms.
What you need: 1) 1 large pkg. of really good quality white uncoated sticky labels about 1 1/2" by 1/2", 2) a set of gouache or student quality tempra paints in the 3 primary & secondary colors plus black and white. Life is easier if you can also add tertiary colors. You will need about 4 fl. oz. each for tempra, less for gouache. 3) A little white mixing palette, 4) 1-3 medium brushes - sturdy enough to intensely mix thick tempra. 5) Good lighting... preferably indirect daylight. 6) black paper and clear page protectors, 7) compass, ruler, pencil.
Exercise 1: Paint 12 colors on labels to make a 12 step color wheel. Don't thin the tempra, it causes problems later on - it's should be thick like honey. Mix intesively, it sharpens color sensitivity. Then choose one color hue straight from the bottle and paint it evenly from white to black in 15 to 20 even steps, using a seperate label for each set. See color terms: color wheel, grey scale, value.
You will never want to do this again, so get out the compass & ruler. "Neatness counts." When the chips are completely dry, mount the 1st 12 around the wheel with violet on top. Rule a line down the page side & choose your value scale chips. Overlap them just a tad. Stand. Take a bow. End of Exercise 1!
In the famous words of soaps: to be continued. Upon completion of these exercises you'll own a tool similiar to the Pantone color chip system. By visiting Pantone, Inc. and joining their "myPantone", you can access a small library of color information.
For some insightful comments on color, visit Danny Gregory's weblog "Everyday Matters". He's witty and well-versed.
*Note: I will get back to this! Health intervenes just now.