Color Nerd Musings

Color Nerd Musings

As has already been established, I can get really nerdy when it comes to color theory. Depending on what mood I’m in, I can also get very witchy when it comes to color. Color Theory and Perception is both art and science. It is something that I have studied and experimented in for many many years, and in my color journey I am constantly running into phenomenons that feel like a surprising and unexplainable trick of physics and perception, and a little bit of magic.

I learn something new every time I mix colors together. My eyes play tricks on me. The art of it feels completely boundless and connected and visually stunning and process-oriented. When mixing color, all roads lead back to the this truth: Anything and everything is possible. I mix intention deeply into my color concoctions because the act of it feels like prayer itself. This feels like Witchcraft.

I remember being a kid and watching the show of color and lights like fireworks behind my eyelids as I tried to fall asleep at night. It would keep me up for hours and I wondered how I was supposed to sleep with such a great show going on. I remember learning about the color wheel in beauty school, and how opposing colors, called complimentary colors, balance each other out.

We were tasked to memorize and understand how to determine which colors were complimentary, and I remember thinking easy! When I look at a color, and close my eyes, its complimentary color is the first color to flash behind my eyelids, clear and bright as the sun. I never had to use the color wheel, really. The knowledge was so intuitive. This knowledge felt like a special power. A super human power. Color vision.

Some of us may have the color vision genes of a bumblebee and see a million shades where another person might just see one. Color is intangible, visual, relative, limitless, ever-changing.


Color Theory with Color Warlock and Fine Art Landscape Painter Dave McGranaghan

 

A few weeks back, ( a particularly gray week ) I walked down to Greenlake with Jonny and the kids. It was a Sunday afternoon, and the sun was breaking through diffused clouds, sending sideways golden early-evening light across the gray-green lake.

As we walked the path around the lake, we stopped to watch a man paint on an easel. I had seen him many times before on walks at the lake, always stopping to admire his work.

I loved how his paintings really capture the color and light of this lake I grew up at. I have seen many painters paint this lake, but his paintings do it the most justice. As I studied his paintings a bit deeper, I marveled at his use of color was so surprising in capturing a scene that is truly green and surrounded by lush greenery all year long.

How was it possible that he used so much yellow and purple and pink and orange to communicate something so green?

His name was David McGranaghan, It turns out. And he is true warlock of color.

As my kids jumped in a pile of sand and Jonny scoped out the gender non-binary brass band playing Madonna songs to a crowd of walkers down the way, I got my mind blown on color theory by this warlock.

 

My brain is as pregnant as my body, so please forgive me for not explaining these lessons in great detail myself……Take these words directly from the artist!  (You may need to be a fellow color nerd to understand the following lessons…….But maybe not. Read on and see what you can learn.)

I will put it simply: First off, the RGB/CMY Color Wheel is the truth, more accurate than the standard Red/Yellow/ Blue primary wheel. Most of us learn the standard R/Y/B but it is only because that standard was made before there was near as much understanding of color as there is today. So shift your color perception 30% if you learned the old standard.

Still with me?


Purple/ Green Mystery

This one has always confused and dazzled me. Why do I sometimes look at the color green and see purple? What is this Witchcraft? Am I colorblind or just so over-color-saturated in my vision that colors start to become each other?

David explains it here. Blew my damn mind to know that there is a explanation for this miracle.

Mind blown yet?

Magenta Mystery

Lastly, magenta. Still largely unsolved. David says the reason I haven’t succeeded in mixing it from primary colors is because (as we just learned) it is itself a primary color. So it’s impossible to mix out of other colors. It is a holy grail color, a Klondike color, a color we can try our whole lives to achieve but never quite reach it.

I believe you David. That by the rules of the modern color wheel, it is impossible to mix magenta.  But, as I have recognized is a fundamental trait of my personality and soul, I cannot accept that as final answer. Because I love magenta and I want to conquer it and I cling to my belief because I want to keep believing that when it comes to color, anything is possible. I will continue to try until I crack the code. And my guess is that the answer lies in some magical rule of perception mixed with a little bit of red, a little blue, a little yellow, a little mystery, and a little witchcraft.

Click over for more lessons from David here, and if you are looking to adorn your home with fine art and support local artists,  buy a painting to illuminate your space. He is a true master.

My lessons with David inspired me to go home and paint hair in layers and layers of different colors.


Environmentally Responsive Hair Color

 

On another color nerd note- Yep. You heard me right. Hair Color that changes with temperature is now a thing, and it is science, art and witchcraft. Stumbled upon this shortly after my color theory lesson. My mind Is blown again. Read on through this link and see videos of the miracle in action. It is called ‘Fire’ and created by The Unseen Alchemist Laura Bouker.

Inspired by occult glamour – a spell cast on somebody to make them see something the spell-caster wishes them to see, T H E U N S E E N have developed the world’s first colour changing hair dye. The F I R E dye is responsive to you and your environment by changing colour to passing temperature fluctuations. Available in multiple colour ranges from bright red to subtle pastels, launching at London Fashion Week in collaboration with Storm Models. The application of the dye is currently semi-permanent lasting over a few washes and the brand are currently looking for commercial partners to help take the innovation to market.


This concludes my monthly musings on color. Oh wait! One more thing. Visited my Grandma Suzi and took this picture that illustrates her eternally pink and green life. 

Sending out love and hope for the true colors to shine in all of us.

xo, HTHG

Finger Painting Haircolor: Curly Prisms

For my curly sisters out there, here is a post about prismatic hair color and curls……I had been wanting to paint rainbows into curly hair for quite a while now. I wanted to see what it would look like to hide some little prisms within the wild texture of natural curls.

During the Summer, I went to a little Island called Lopez to take a Flower Magic essences and arranging workshop. While I was there, I met a flower farmer named Lindsey who taught us how to arrange flowers and make beautiful flower crowns. I remembered how she had mentioned wanting some rainbow color in her gorgeous, thick natural curls.

I posted something on Instagram about wanting to paint some curly rainbows, and she responded. Within a week, she was in the chair getting her hair finger painted with little rainbows and chatting with me about flowers and grandmas and Island life.

My intentions for her haircolor were to add some brightness and some color to her hair in this grayest time of year, to hold her over until her flowers began to bloom. Also, I wanted something that would be subtle enough to grow out without any fuss, and not scare her grandmother.

I wanted to show her some simple color skills to bring to the Island to share with her friends should they ever want rainbows too…..You just never know when someone is going to want a rainbow in their hair! And all you need to do ’em is veggie dye in primary colors ( I use Manic Panic) and bleach ( I use 40 developer generally for lightening bits of natural hair.

Here is how I did it…….I first mixed bleach and 40 volume developer in a plastic bowl, with a large paint brush. Then, I randomly painted the bleach onto individual curls, working and saturating it into the ends and softly feathering the color up the strand for a seamless transition. I let her sit for about 45 minutes with the bleach in her hair, then rinsed and washed her hair. I had her rough-dry it while I finished up Elke’s rainbows (from last week;)

Then, I worked through her hair to find the lighter pieces and then I used my fingers to paint the colors in, blending each shade into the next down the strands of lightened hair. I wasn’t too picky about it. I wanted some rainbows to bleed into her natural hair too, so as to add more dimension and tone. She sat for a half hour or so, and then I rinsed her out. As her hair dried, we marveled at the pretty colors popping into the light. Her hair came alive, even in the less-than-ideal low light of sundown. Can’t wait to see her rainbows in the sun!

Thanks for stopping by! If you are curly, I hope you never feel excluded from the fun of rainbow hair.

xoxo, HTHG

Finger Painting Haircolor: Rainbow Hurricane

Hello friends ! Here is our next installation of Hair Finger painting.…….This is what happens when one gets frustrated by both applicator brushes and gloves, and just goes all in with the hands applying color.

Meet Elke. She visited me from the rural, snowy woods of Oregon. I just really love this picture of her:)

She came to me with her hair DIY bleached, ends still violet from previous color a year ago that didnt want to budge through a bleaching. Totally workable, because my goal with Elke was to get as many shades of color into her hair as possible, highlighted with many pops of ruby red. Because saturated red is underused in hair color, since the 90’s made people scared of it.

Here is a little video of the application. I started with applying Tinge Pastels to the roots. I used all shades, marbling them together as I worked. I did use a color brush for this part.

Once the roots were colored, I worked my way from the nape of the neck up, using my hands to smudge colors in to every piece of hair, in different sizes and levels of saturation.

I left out some of the mid-sections on random strands to add dimension, as you can see here.

Here are the custom-mixed colors I used on Elke…….

She processed for 20 minutes, and then I rinsed her out and gave her a rough blow-dry.

Naturally, I had to crimp her just for fun. We played around with a few quick hairstyles before she left to celebrate her birthday with friends.

Her hair made me think of a hurricane of color.

xo, HTHG

Finger Painting Haircolor: Rainbow Locs

Hey babes. The next 3 weeks will feature a different finger-painted hair creation every week. This came about because I wanted to challenge myself by letting myself do what I always want to do but has felt like breaking the rules…….Losing the tools that sometimes feel like they disrupt the flow between hands and hair and the process/creation of art. So I went all in with my hands.

Meet TT. She is a fellow hair artist, who specializes in Dread Coloring and Curl Cutting at Vain in Seattle. Please read up on her and her hair here.…..

She came to see me, having been feeling in a rut with her own natural locs…….They have been growing for 2 years and she is stuck between wanting to shave her head and grow her locs out.

Naturally, my remedy for this hair conundrum is to bust out some color and go all out. Stuck in hair, Stuck in life. Also because Winter is a lovely time to brighten up.

She sat in my chair with most of her dreads already dark green from a previous color, some dreads natural, and several in the front were bleached and ready for me to paint on.

Her roots were her natural, sparkly salt-and pepper.

I began by applying a dark blue veggie dye (Manic Panic) to her roots, and pulling through a bit farther into some of the dreads. Then, I refreshed her green roots with a brighter green, and added some yellow to brighten up the ends. I did a few random purple ones just for fun.

I applied the color with my fingers, rolling it into each dread. It was a full on finger-painting hair job.

Once I got to the bleached out dreads in the front, I applied the color in a rainbow to each one, blessing it with the entire spectrum of unified color.

After 20 minutes of processing, we rinsed her hair out in the sink. The colors ran together, making a beautiful rich brown.

The, she let me braid her crown up. We giggled and chatted about our kids and life. Twas a wonderful time.

True hair love sees all color and texture. I would like to manifest some more natural textured woman of all colors in my hair chair. Just putting it out there.

 

xo, HTHG

 

Winter Color Musings

Hi dears. In the spirit of bringing color to these dark days, I busted out my color kit this week and started mixing. Working with extension hair to practice my technique, I experimented with painting circular portals and mandala-like designs using Manic Panic color and Tinge Pastels.

As always, playing with color shoots me back into student mode…..as I create, I learn. The rainbow is the best teacher I have ever had. This time, we added more black into the mix, exerimenting with shadows and layering tones very intricately.

I kept finding myself irritated with the loudness of the color, it was not reflecting what I was feeling or seeing around me. It felt dissonant and grating. So, I covered everything in a cloud of dark gray and took a sigh of relief!

As I painted, I  listened to talk radio and reflected on the Bill of Rights, something I am interested in understanding better. I drank dark Coffee mixed with Chaga tea and Cacao. Twas a dark and dreamy day.

What do you do to get through the darkness of Winter?

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