Monochromatic Color Scheme

The color wheel is a vital tool for artists of all kinds – including quilters.  It can be used to develop color schemes based on the relationship of colors around the wheel.  This week, we will be considering the monochromatic color scheme.

Monochromatic colors are derived from a single base hue, and extended using its shades (the addition of black), tones (the addition of grey), and tints (the addition of white).  This scheme is considered peaceful, soothing and balanced but care must be taken to maintain contrast and diversity.  Neutral colors, such as black, white, or grey may be included in a monochromatic scheme.

One of my earliest quilts, Miles To Go Before I Sleep, is a good example of a monochromatic color scheme in blue.  The contrast between the light and dark color values creates the pattern in this scrappy quilt.

Color Games is an exercise that was introduced in Quiltmaker Magazine a number of years ago and then reprinted in All About Quilting from A to Z (C&T Publishing, 2002).  The goal of the game is to learn about color relationships while making a block using different color schemes.

Artist Color Wheel

The game begins by choosing a focus fabric in one of the three primary colors (red, blue, yellow on the Artist color wheel; cyan, magenta, yellow on the Ives/CMYK color wheel) or one of the three secondary colors (green, orange, violet on the Artist color wheel; red, green, blue on the Ives/CMYK color wheel).  The fabric can be solid or tone-on-tone and should be a pure hue without the addition of white, black or grey.

Artist Color Wheel with Tints, Tones and Shades

I played using my favorite color, green.  On the Artist color wheel, green is a secondary color formed by mixing the primary hues of blue and yellow.  To make the block in a monochromatic color scheme, other lighter or darker or greyer fabrics could be added to the focus fabric.

Here is my resulting block.

Want to play Color Games too?  The block is simple:  just 2″ (finished) squares and half-square triangles.  Choose a focus color fabric and audition your monochromatic scheme on a black felt design wall.  Or, join us at Quilters Cupboard starting October 6, 2011 for our first Color Games class.  Then check the Photo Album on my Facebook Page to see the results.  Hope you can play along!


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