Archive for the 'Colour extract' Category

Another colour exercise

colourp_20090413It’s close to the end of the long weekend, the afternoon sky has darkened and it is pouring rain. I’m inching ahead on my next weaving project, busy winding 20/2 silk ready for dyeing. The dyeing itself is delayed, due to the previously mentioned bad light and flooding (literally, in my garage) rain.

colourg_20090413In the meantime, some brave flowers found yesterday in my neglected garden, and the colour grid based on it

The tutorials on continue to absorb me. I used a technique (episode 43??) to create colours_20090413this version of the flowers. It makes me want to cut some stamps and start embellishing fabric! This is a very rough and ready version – less than 5 minutes. It could be a really powerful tool with a little practice…

GIMP detour

I’ve continued my exploration of gimp this week, enjoying lots of back episodes of Meet the GIMP, a video tutorial podcast about the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Non-textile life continues to absorb pretty much all my time and creative energy, so a predominately passive activity that still builds useful skills and knowledge is just what I need.

colour_extract_3pI took this photo a while back at the Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens. I’ve done some “post processing” of the photo (practising GIMP) and am not sure how close the resulting colour is to life…

As well as the pixelize and smooth palette tools I used before here, I’ve tried converting the photo to indexed colour and then creating a colour map. (I’ve upgraded to Gimp 2.6.6: convert to indexed with menu Image/Mode/Indexed; create colour map using Windows/Dockable Dialogs/ColorMap or add it to your tool box; the Palette is now under Colors/Map/Palette Map).

colour_extract_3_colormapThis is the generated color map. In the end I used all the software generated extractions when creating my grid, but still referred back to the original (well, doctored) photo for specific colours such as the rust red specks (stamens??) on the flower.

20090404_gridThis is my final grid. As with my previous attempts, it looks very flat and lifeless. At some stage I am likely to change my grid format, probably to fewer colours. If I want to use these as a guide for dyeing yarn I would probably want fewer base colours, then mix them and play with dilution as I am painting the yarn.

fire_colourmapI went back to my fire photos and did the indexing/color map trick with those. This first example is from my own photo, shown in this post. It has a lot of the flickering flame combined with charcoal, smoke and ashes that I first wanted, although not the glowing red.

fire1_indexThe second is from a photo of a more brightly burning fire (from a photo I found on the web, so I won’t reproduce it).  I’m surprised by the pinks and purples that the software found – not at all my idea of “fire” colours.

There will be weaving soon, I promise! I actually have some Finished Objects from a few weeks ago, waiting for their moment in the limelight. In the meantime, Monday morning is approaching and my weekend list of chores still looks like Mount Everest.

Commitment problems

Sometimes when I’m surrounded by wonderful possibilities I freeze. Making an initial choice is difficult but it’s the first few steps after that which are critical. A point comes where I have an emotional attachment, a commitment, to a project – but getting to that point I can dither and dally and thoroughly irritate myself.

So this post is really about the current top contender – let’s see if working on it “out loud” helps make it real.

The Reluctant Dragon in her lair has given me a Kreativ Blogger award, which is very nice and much appreciated. I’m going to save it up and pass it on a little later. It came with a question about my recent experiments – “Is the grid of colors the finished piece, or a step in preparation for something else?”.

Partly  the colour extracts are intended as an exercise to build my skill with colours. I have a stack of books about colour theory and it fascinates me, but at some point I want to go further. I want to develop a fluency with colour, to be able to create a sense of mood or of place with colour in textiles. Some of my earlier attempts have been very literal (you can see a few in my member gallery with ATASDA). Also I live a busy, urban life and sometimes seem to be racing along on the surface of life. I want to learn to stop and not just look, but see.

Weaving brings exciting additional elements with the interlacing of colours, the textures of yarns and weave structures, the tactile draping cloth…

I have taken some baby steps. The first was my autumn scarf. The image in my mind was a still-warm autumn day, the sun shining in a cloudless blue sky, the drying leaves fluttering down and the skeleton of the trees being to show. Next was the ocean scarf. My mental image was of standing on a cliff on the Sydney coastline, watching the waves run across the rock-shelf below, looking out at the container ships on the horizon, the amazing range of colours in the water, the smell of salt in the air. For both I studied life, photos and memories, trying to look beyond the obvious in colour, and then dyed yarns and chose weave structures to try to express the idea.

collapse_v2_2collapse_v2_1Back to the present. In weaving class we’ve been exploring collapse weaves. My first attempt was a stumble. Here’s a couple of sections of my second attempt. The photos don’t show the world of difference. Almost all the weft yarn choices collapsed well across all stripe widths (stripes were 3/1 and 1/3 twill, with sets of 8, 12 and 16 ends). The first photo shows left to right a silk sewing thread, Ixchel laceweight Cashmerino (70% merino, 30% cashmere, felts beautifully) and 10/1 silk noil (from Walters Imports). The second photo, top to bottom: superfine merino (non-felting, left over from this scarf), 20/2 silk and a buttonhole weight cotton sewing thread.

The non-felted sections in particular are inspiring. There’s a bounce and movement that photos can’t capture. The bright red of the superfine wool flashes then is hidden, especially in the narrower stripes, and reminds me of glowing embers in the logs of a campfire. This is very different to the towering walls of flame which brought such grief to so many down south (close to Ixchel bunny – see her photo here).

colour_extract_3_fireMy much more benign photo is this. Not a great photo, but what I had. It’s cropped from a larger photo, taken a few years ago on a weekend in the mountains (Megalong Valley) with friends.
colour_extract_3gHere is a grid, based on my photo – plus some others on the web and my memory. Possibly here is my problem. The grid is different colours taken from the fire photos, but the proportions are all wrong and it doesn’t look reminiscent of a camp fire at all. Not inspiring.

The current plan is – dye a warp in the colours of the glowing logs – browns and greys, hints of some others. Dye weft yarn in colours of flame and smoke and the general glow. Use stripes of 3/1 and 1/3 twill. A camp fire scarf??

The other question is yarn. The collapse sample is bendigo mills 2 ply wool – not what I want for my scarf. I’d like to attempt a pure silk scarf and was considering 2/20 warp and hand-(over)spun silk hankies for weft, but without conviction. Looking at ocean and autumn has reminded me of the 50/50 wool/silk yarn. Maybe that for warp with 2/20 silk for weft would work…?

This post is certainly long enough (and thank you those who made it this far!). Is the idea strong enough? Am I committed enough?

Colour extract experimentation

Last week I tried my first “colour extract”  – click here to see the original photo and the grid of colours I came up with.

Over the past week, in little corners and oddments of time pilfered from my non-textile life, I’ve been experimenting with the software. I’ve been using gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program – freely distributed software) on and off for over 10 years, but know only a few of its many features. Here are some new-to-me ones.

colour_extract_2pI used a cropped version of the same photo as last week. The one here is also reduced in size for the blog – I found it useful while playing to try things with both the high resolution version and a lower one. It was a balancing act between quality of information (colours not too blended and muddied) versus quantity (overwhelming). I also went into Tools/Color Tools/Levels and used the slider where the histogram was flat (based on this tutorial which explains  “making full use of our available dynamic range improves the overall contrast of the image” ) – to my eyes giving richer colour.

Filters/Colors/Smooth Palette gave me “bar codes” of colour. First 256 bars:
colour_extract_2_bar1 then 100 bars
colour_extract_2_bar2 then 100 bars with increased search depth
colour_extract_2_bar3They look like warp yarn wraps, all set to go…

colour_extract_2_mosaic1Next is Filters/Distorts/Mosaic. This has a lot of parameters to play with – the sample here is rectangular tiles, no splitting, high tile neatness, 0.0 light direction, 0.00 color variation, color averaging… The tile size was chosen with an eye for use on the blog and it gives a very dull and muddied result.colour_extract_2_mosaic2

This second mosiac, just the front flower, was created with all the same settings except for tile size.

These make me think of bead weaving – there’s an interesting article in the current (March/April 2009) Handwoven magazine “Add Beading to Fabrics for One-of-a-Kind Art Pieces “. Something for another day.

colour_extract_2_pixelize1Ucolour_extract_2_pixelize2sing Filters/Blur/Pixelize  gives these results, first focused on the front flower then the larger picture. I like the separate blocks of colour, not too muddied.

I feel this gives me the best result for my purpose. It gives me colours still in the pictorial context, unlike the barcode palette. The colours aren’t averaged into non-descript mud, but retain a range of value and hue. It does help me by reducing the choice, simplifying colour selection both in the sense of deciding which colour and in the physical picking up the colour with the mouse.

colour_extract_2So why am I hesitating to produce “my” palette, using the same grid as last week? Partly the layout of the grid itself – large flat blocks of colour. Mostly because I don’t have an end purpose in mind to guide the choice… except of course the practise. So here is today’s effort.

Extracting colour

I’ve written in the past about colour and back here talked about doing some exercises on colour in paint. I have to admit I haven’t gone far. Clearing a space to get out the paper and paint just doesn’t happen. So I’m shelving that for the moment and on to plan b (or somewhere further down the alphabet) which is to encourage myself to look, to focus on what’s in front of me. What’s in front of me most often is a computer screen.

Inspired by Ruth of Impulsive Arts, eg this post, and Kris’s Color Stripes I’m aiming at one “colour extraction” a week.

Attempt 1 is based on a photo I took in January last year in the front garden of May Gibb’s house in Sydney. It was research in preparation for ATASDA’s exhibition Inspired by May. (I made a section of the collaborative piece, but not an exhibition piece in the end. I attempted to weave – a raw beginner at that point – and it just didn’t happen).

colour_extract_1pThe grid of colours based on the photo:

colour_extract_1Not as easy as it looks…

which hopefully will encourage me to practice!


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