Nature's Color Palette

At the very beginning of the school year at the Inchbald we went to the Tate Modern for a color exercise. Part of our task was to create a color palette from a painting - to study what colors the artist had used and combined to create the effect they did. Part of the motivation was to help us see how we could develop color palettes for gardens we would design. 

What became apparent as I looked at several paintings in depth was what you think you see isn't always what is really there. Not a new concept, but when recognized the real work of seeing begins. Sometimes it took me great effort to really see the color as it really was. And even then…(as color is affected and appears to change depending on the color it's next to).

When I was at the National Portrait Gallery a few weeks ago sketching, the tutor came around to my area and started talking about a particular painting and referred to the shadows as being very blue…I strained my eyes to see. Hmm. I even went up afterwards to get a closer look. Hmm. His trained and practiced eye could see something I couldn't.

I would like to develop a keen eye for color - and create fascinating combinations. I have always thought nature would be an exceptional source for this and have paid attention off and on to nature's palettes - especially when it comes to lichen and bamboo.

When I saw these examples of quite literally creating color swatches from nature, I was on board. I think it will be a great exercise and design tool for future gardens and paintings.