Lately I have been indulging my color-loving self and discovering joy in the process of juxtaposing and mixing colors, both on paper and in painting furniture. My method is just to sort of fling colors together until they work for me, and not worry much about it. It’s fun in an experimental way, like the way a child paints. Today I made colorful collage hearts using up old scraps (some of these 2″ bits of paper I have been holding on to since high school…it is funny to have memories associated with bits of paper). I think I’ll mod podge them and then string them up to decorate the house for Valentine’s day.
I glued pretty scraps of paper and old calendar pages onto small pieces of leftover matboard. It’s fun to find unexpected color combinations that work, like using a sliver of red and gold origami paper over a berry-pink. After all the gluing, I ended up with all these mini collage artworks. I kind of wanted to leave them just as they were, but they seemed pretty useless that way so I forged ahead with the project and cut them into hearts with a regular old pair of scissors. Here are the little mini artworks before I cut them up:
It felt good to use up some of those tiny bits that were taking up space in my scrap box. And It required almost zero thought. I played play-dough with my daughter simultaneously while I assembled these little collages. I don’t ever agonize over color choices, even with paint on the walls. I just do what feels right and leave it at that. I know people who buy 15 paint samples for their walls and still cannot decide. That’s not me…I have never bought a paint sample. Mostly because I’m too impatient for paint samples; I’d rather just get started and deal with mistakes as they come.
For example, here is a color-mixing project gone right without much planning ahead: my bookshelves. I was tired of looking at the old dark knotty wood bookshelves–they were trying to be formal but they weren’t nice enough to pull it off, so they just ended up looking secondhand and old. I wanted to paint them, but I didn’t want to pay for paint, or find time for a trip to the paint store. So I just poured a bunch of old leftover wall paint colors together and stirred. They became a light blue. I wanted it to be a little more toned, so to grey it up I added some black ink (the watery kind that they use for writing Chinese characters) that I had leftover from the one art class I took in college. The process of mixing colors, adding a little of this or that color and seeing its effect on the bucket of paint was unexpectedly exciting for me. So exciting, in fact, that I did it again a couple weeks ago when I wanted to paint the stairwell (which also turned out a similar blue-grey to the bookshelves, but with a little more green in it). And both projects turned out perfectly, exactly the color I would have picked out at the paint store–or at least a color I might have picked out and can certainly live with, which for me is the same thing as perfect. Immediate gratification, for free. Here’s a photo of the bookshelves (it’s a little more grey in real life than it looks in the photo). You can see there are two identical shelves, but for now they are in separate rooms.
What is your approach to color-mixing, in art work or in choosing colors for your home? Are you paralyzed by picking out your paint, are you by-the-book, or do you just fling the colors together and see where it leads, like me?