Monday, May 14, 2012

A Tetradic Color Study

A nice study group that I am in focuses on various aspects of color.  Our latest study has been about tetradic color schemes.

A tetradic color scheme is basically two pairs of complements on the color wheel. The scheme I chose is a square one, in which the four colors are equidistant around the wheel. It's supposed to be a difficult scheme to work with, and after my experience I think I agree. My first approach was to pick four colors from my existing yarn stash that met the criteria in hue, i.e. their position around the wheel was close to the right spot.  I thought the blue I had on hand was too dark in value, so I dyed a medium-valued blue and substituted it in my sample piece.

For my sample, I used a portion of the Black and White schematic but added my selected colors.  Unfortunately the color I had the most of was orange. Now don't get me wrong; orange is a nice, happy, comforting color. I like orange. Orange is the favorite color of one of my sisters-in-law. But it was not good in this sample.  If you think the color combination in this photo looks garish, believe me it is worse in person!

Analyzing it, I think it is not working for several reasons.  First, orange-dominant is just too much: it is half orange, one quarter yellow-green, and about one eighth each of red-violet and blue.  Another problem is that the red-violet is too red, and the yellow-green is too yellow, so they don't really meet the colors I was trying to get exactly.  Also the values (light vs. darkness) of the colors are contrasting a lot: although I did do something about substituting for the really dark blue, the red-violet now stands out too much value-contrast-wise.  I think with such an "aggressive" set of hues as a square tetrad (where no color is analogous or close in hue to any other), it may help to get the colors closer in value, and maybe also all lower in saturation (make them more subdued).  So I applied all these observations in making my full-size piece for this study.

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