Saturday, August 12, 2017

We can't all be stars...consider the bit players

Doing the Rainbow Scrap challenge at SoScrappy is always stimulating. Many people choose a few blocks to make in each color/month. They choose some backgrounds that show off their color and pattern.

Nature is my inspiration.

 Note this palm in large, and graceful.
What a study in leaves...

Angela threw me a bit by choosing neutrals at the focus color this month.
But, neutrals are the background not main color! Right?

Then I began to think about them more, and had a very interesting discussion with my scientist husband who sees color in terms of wavelength. A neutral blends with, and supports a more saturated color. It's the bit player allowing another color to star.

It's not the same as low contrast although using neutrals to be background and star requires a bit of contrast.

Some designers don't even use neutral backgrounds, Kaffe Fasset comes to mind... Or Laura Ashley who obtains contrast through pattern change instead of color or saturation change.

I wanted to do some leaves, but didn't want pale leaves, and had to consider how neutral leaves would blend in the end with the brighter ones, and whatever setting I choose. If they are to go together in a tree of life, then these lighter neutral leaves can be the ones sunlight hit. One needs light, medium and dark to really pop.
Note the middle leaf is from Egyptian print fabric... little feet?

One could do a tree in only pale neutrals and it would still be interesting.
Notice, I pieced the bottom leaf before basting it. The one behind it has intense gold metallic paint.
The batik is a Washington DC special edition from Ginny Beyer.

Look again at the botanical prints. 

Look again at the sun-washed leaf at the start of the post... still awesome right? Even if it's pale?

So even if a color isn't your favorite, and beige is my least favorite color, there is much to be learned and enjoyed by exploring colors each month. Thank you to Angela for providing prompts, and a place to gather each week.

Linking to among others:
Esther's blog Wednesdays 
Let's be social Wednesdays 
Midweek makers wednesdays
design wall Mondays at smallquiltsanddollquilts
Main Crush Monday
 scrap happy Saturdays
sewcanshe Saturdays


  1. Your leaves are just lovely--I like the one just after the Columbian palm leaf...very low key, but warmed by that cocoa color...very nice hugs, Julierose

  2. Wonderful leaves! And who says neutrals can't be the focus? You've got some great prints there!

  3. I love your reflections on using neutrals - thought provoking and some very pretty leaves too.

  4. Your last few photos remind me of ancient leaves captured in amber! The idea that these leaves are the ones in the sunlight is wonderful, too. I enjoy your posts so much - your artistic conversation with us and talk about how you go about your process is so much fun to be a part of!

  5. Great post - lovely leaves. xx

  6. Your use of the warm beige fabrics is lovely. You are right, there is a difference between neutrals and pale or low volume, which has had me confused. Thanks for showing it with your leaves.

  7. Leaves are lovely and how interesting to see them on the different backgrounds.

  8. A thoughtful post, Lee Ann. I love the points you make and your examples support and enlighten them so well. Thanks!

  9. It's so interesting to see a bit more about how others think about color. Thanks!

  10. Thanks for sharing your Color Study in NEUTRAL!!

  11. I don't have a lot of neutrals - I'm trying to build up my stash in that, because I've seen some really neat neutral quilts. I like your leaves!

  12. Thank you for pointing out that there are variations in all colours, even in neutral. I haven't made anything in neutral yet this month; it seemed such an impossible task, but you've helped me on my way!

  13. Warming you up for the glorious change of colors that will be ablaze in Colorado soon. 🍁

  14. I've really learned a lot about color this year just from watching you play with your leaves. Thank you!

  15. I enjoyed your thoughts shared in this post and was especially drawn in by the title. It's great that you are challenging yourself to use the neutrals. Your leaves look fabulous!

  16. I don't have a lot of neutrals - I'm trying to build up my stash in that, because I've seen some really neat neutral quilts. I like your leaves!