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March 27, 2010

Back on the Wagon

It's only been a few weeks, and already I miss my Winter Colour Diet, so I am shifting my gears back to where they are more comfortable grinding along. This time, however, it is not really a diet.  I'm making a bigger commitment to myself this time, and I expect this to be somewhat long term.  The rules are a little stricter this time, too, and it all starts today!

I am allowed to use the following colours as 'staples', and replenish them as I run out. These will not be subject to change, and are to be considered a permanent part of this new palette of mine, for as long as I'm using it.
  • EFF White
  • Black (The last of my Vetrofond for now, to be followed by Tuxedo and then Hades)
  • Clear (REI Crystal for now... I may have to change it up as I don't have much left)
  • EFF Ivory
  • EFF Dark Ivory
  • EFF Copper Green
  • EFF Opal Yellow
  • CiM Adamantium
I am allowed to use the following opaque, transparent and silver glass colours. I am starting with around 1/4# of each colour, and can choose to either replenish them as I use them up or switch them out for new colours once I've depleted that initial amount:
  • EFF Silver Pink
  • CiM Canyon de Chelly
  • CiM Commando
  • CiM Poi
  • CiM Sepia Unique
  • EFF Dark Grass Green
  • EFF Ink Blue
  • REI Mystic Grey Blue
  • DHX TerraNova2
  • DHX OK326
  • PRC Abe's Ivy
  • PRC Sasha's Silver
I am allowed to use metals, dichro, goldstone, and the miscellaneous shards and frit I have on hand more or less indiscriminately.

Once things get going, I need to switch things out with enough regularity that I test at least one, and preferably two colours per week.

Here's a family shot of all of the colours together, but they're not in the same order I listed them in above. Normally this would bother me, but I'm feeling sort of relaxed today.

Why am I doing this?
It helps me to focus at the torch to not have a lot of colour distraction. Limiting the number of colours I am 'allowed' to use forces me to be more creative in other ways. It also gives some structure to my learning process and helps me to determine which colours I will do testing with. I get to be a little flexible, since some of the colours are only in the palette temporarily, which should help me not to get too bored with it all.

Getting to know the colours really well is super-important in this art form, because if you can't predict what they will do with one another, it's impossible to reliably make things that don't look like crap.

Why am I telling people about it?
I just like to share. Also, secretly, I hope that someone reading this will choose to play along with me, and we can share war stories about colours that don't behave very nicely together, and choose the next colours to enter the palette together. Fortunately, I'm willing to settle for just blasting it into the blogosphere.

How did I choose the colours?
I'm not really sure how or why, but every time I make a palette out of my head, it seems to have a similar composition to it.  Some general guidelines that I use (consciously or unconsciously) seem to be as follows:
  • Because I chose eight colours as 'staples', I needed to be strict with myself and not build on that too much in order to keep the set manageable.  I decided I was allowed four additional opaques, four transparents and four silver glass colours.  That gives me 20 colours total, which is my working maximum at any given point in time.
  • I need at least four different transparent colours in the palette, with a good range of saturation. For example, Sepia Unique is fairly light, Mystic Grey Blue is sort of light but also semi-opaque, Ink Blue is of medium saturation and Dark Grass Green is a little more dense than that.
  • A mix of light and darker opaque colours. For instance, Silver Pink is pretty light, Canyon de Chelly is sort of a medium, and Poi and Commando are both a little darker.
  • No hue overlap. I chose the opaques first, and then chose the transparents to 'fit' with them. I deliberately chose transparent colours that were close but not identically hued to the opaque colours I'd already picked. 
  • The rainbow. I always seem cover the whole rainbow in my own muted way, selecting at least one colour from each rainbow hue group. I don't know why I do this, and I never do it on purpose, but I can't seem to help myself. (Silver Pink, Sepia Unique, Canyon de Chelly, Opal Yellow, Dark Grass Green, Commando, Copper Green, Ink Blue, Mystic Grey Blue, Poi)
  • The staple colours are all colours that I just can't see living without right now, whatever else changes. I'm sure everyone's 'staples' are different, and mine will probably change over time, but this is where I am right now
  • I am afraid of bright colours, so I only use a few of them at a time. So silly.
  • Perhaps most importantly, the eight 'rotating' colours are all colours I'm interested in testing and learning more about for one reason or another.


  1. I love that you are doing this! Having to work with a color or group of colors helps me to be more creative also. Looking forward to your discoveries

  2. I'm looking forward to them too! I am finding that it really helps me to work this way. The first couple of sessions with new colours are always a little rough, but then it all levels out.