Inspiration through Exploration – confined colour palettes

Inspiration point Blogtoberfest 2012

Technically speaking this is tomorrow here, but somewhere in the world it is still October 2nd, so I’m sticking with that excuse and riding with it.

In this series I am focussing on finding inspiration through exploration of media and the world around us. Most of the time inspiration doesn’t hit us out of the blue, we have to go looking for it.

I love colour, always have, always will. I love it in the sunset, I love it in the grass, …in eyeballs…have you seen the beautiful colours in the iris of the eye? It’s everywhere.

And it is a classic tool to for inspiration. Over the coming four or so weeks, colour will be on of my main themes in seeking inspiration. I hope to go through a bunch of ways using colour can spark your creative fire.

First up I want to look at restricting your palette.

Confining your palette to either a chosen set of colours or a random set can great increase the challenge and your interest in creating a piece.

The very first challenge I entered when I discovered the creative blogosphere back in 2010 was the Creative Color Challenge hosted by Louise Gale. At the time I was on maternity leave with my second little girl (she was about six months old at the time) and after many years of artistic frustration where my visual arts were concerned, I was desperately looking for a way to break out of old, depressing habits with my work, and find a freer style and way of thinking. Louise’s challenge came to me at the right place and the right time.

The objective of the challenge was to create a piece of art using only one colour plus black and white. Me, being the pedantic I am, took this literally.

Blood Lily

Juggling a baby and a toddler I was determined to complete this challenge. There was one colour per week and I did them all. I was so happy when I finished that. It was the start that has led me to here.

But I ramble…the restricted palette gave me a starting point. If you only have certain colours to play with, what can you make with them? Do those colours work well together?

Restricted palette

I started a random painting the other night (still sitting on my desk incomplete). Much like my Toucan piccy, I was wanting to throw down paint just to see what would happen. So what paint? I chose the colours above because earlier in the day I had been playing with chalk with my youngest daughter and we had drawn a rainbow. The chalk colours, while basic, did have a nice set of the green through aqua to blue range and I made a note in my head to remember them. So here we have those colours, and I played with them to see what I could do. They served as a starting point, which is often all that is needed to find inspiration. For the Toucan piccy I only used three colours – a blue, a yellow and a magenta. I added other colours later as the painting evolved it demanded it, but without those initial choices, I wouldn’t have made a start and the painting wouldn’t have gone in the direction it did.

There are also many aspects of colour theory that can be applied to which colours you should choose to use, some of which I’m hoping to discuss in a later post, but really? Random is often all you need.

You need a start before you can make a finish.

Pastel closeup

And this is proof that I really shouldn’t write after midnight, but hey I said I’d do it and I have. Happy Blogtoberfest everyone 😀

See all my Blogtoberfest posts!

Best wishes,