Color Research and Poll Update

This week, I completed my color experiment, did a little research on color and gathered up some books on the topic.

Let's start with my completed color experiment. Last week, I created a portrait painting using 4 different color palettes. I was curious to know: what colors I prefer to work with, what colors viewers gravitate towards, and how much of our color preferences are marketed to us. I took a poll on several social media platforms asking viewers which image color palette they prefer. I received hundreds of responses (super big thanks!!!!). Here are the results:

I was surprised that the Pantone colors didn't do better since their color choices creep into all sorts of products and really influence color trends. I also thought that piece has a really interesting mood that I like. I was also surprised that the palette I've been using did so well. It makes sense that since I've been using those colors that I'd be more comfortable drawing with them but I got numerous comments based solely on the visible colors themselves. As mentioned in the original article from last week. I've been just selecting colors as I see them so I am relieved that viewers don't find them unattractive and offensive to the eyes. This process has taught me to trust my gut, appreciate that viewers aren't swayed by underlying trends, and some colors from the D option might be nice to include in my regular palette.

I've also been researching the web to learn more about color. While I was exploring Adobe Color for the above project I found they have some really awesome tools. For example, I loaded up one of my drawings and the site produced a 5 color palette with Hex codes that match the image. This would be really helpful if you want to work with a limited palette based on an image you love. 

The Adobe site also has an interactive color wheel that functions sort of like a color wheel masking tool as described by blogger Gurney Journey.  This is how I like to think of the color wheel masking that Gurney explains. Take a traditional color wheel where the outside edges are the most saturated colors and they become gray as they enter the center of the wheel. Now take 4 push pins and a knotted piece of string. Move those push pins wherever you'd like on the wheel but they must keep the string wrapped tautly around all the pins. What you'll be left with is a range of colors that produce a pleasing harmony. Below are some illustrations from Gurney's blog.

It all becomes an issue of Color Harmony as opposed to Color Theory. Now that I've had a chance to do some research and reflection I now want to read some popular books on the subject. Here are the three I've selected that I'll review in future posts. The Betty Edwards book is currently being reviewed by my artist-friend Angela Moulton. Check out her findings here.