Sunday, January 22, 2012

the color of sand

Recently I read that scientists have figured out the precise color of the Milky Way and the color is--and let me quote:

"fine-grained new spring snow seen in the early morning light, about an hour after dawn"

You can read more about it on  Isn't that wonderful? So precise. Such a specific--well defined moment in time. Can't you just picture it in your mind's eye? Even add the freshness of the snow. The sparkle in the sunlight. The shimmer on the trees. Even the warmth of the sun. Amazing isn't it--how one statement--one color can evoke so much. But isn't that just what color does. Of course, as scientists are wont to do--they also come up with a more precise definition of the color--but I digress.

Instead I was thinking of color when I started my latest quilt. I knew I wanted a dreamy quilt--the ocean in the fog--when the possibilities are endless and undefined. One of those quilts I can picture in my mind's eye and so I begin. First I pin up the colors that I want--just a few fabrics. Then I start to sew. As always I tell myself to make what I know.

And that is where the questions begin. I try the first block of sand. Now I know that sand actually comes in absolutely gorgeous colors. Indeed I had just seen a magnified image of sand--so jewel like. But that wasn't what I wanted this time. Now I just wanted the sand to exist in the same dreaminess as the fog and the sky. So I got out lots of tan fabrics and made a block.

Stood back and looked. Squinted and thought. Close I thought--but not quite what I wanted. Too intense. Too yellow. This sand would dominate the quilt. Make the sky be brighter than I wanted to balance the sand.

I pulled out more fabrics. Looked in my drawers of greys and taupe. Resorted the browns and tried again. Can you see the difference?

Just a hint of the grey. Toning it down. Yes. This is more what I want.

I play with breaking it up. Still not sure if I like that. May need a few more tweaks. The teal on the right may be too bright. Not sure of that yet either. But I don't have to decide just yet. I know what I want the next row to look like.

Isn't there a wistfulness--a longing in this piece? Not sure of the colors for the next row--but I will see if I can do that today. What do you think? How do you use color? Do you ever use it to convey a feeling? What colors do you think of when you think of sand?


  1. I'm speechless! Your quilts are amazing! Congratulations! I'm willing to try it too! Would I be able? Brazilian kisses...

  2. I invite you to browse my flickr gallery of seascapes, all paintings taken from the famously foggy San Francisco ocean beach, to see if you pick up any color ideas from them.
    For what it's worth....sand and mud were always the most difficult natural phenomena for me to mix decent looking colors for!!!

    1. Thanks Janet. Yes, I will check out your gallery. I agree they are hard colors to work with.