Age: 14-18 Years; 18-24 Years
There are no rules to be given as to colour schemes which may not be broken with legitimacy. All depends on the proportion in which contrasting lines or masses are arranged, and the quantity of space these occupy.
And here it is well to make clear a too frequently mistaken use of terms, namely, the confusion between the words " tone " and u colour." These are not in any sense synonymous. " Colour "is the general term for the varying pigment or dye, or the spectroscopic quality of light; and "tone" is applied to the quantity, the lightness or depth of the colour. u Colour " may be said to be equivalent to " Key " in music, while " tone " has also its corresponding meaning in the technical phraseology of the kindred art.
If we are planning the colour scheme of a piece of work, it is well at the outset to consider first the colour of the material with regard to that of the place where it is to be used, if we know of this definitely. Then we must make up our minds as to what colour we would wish to preponderate in the scheme, and whether the tone of the pattern is as a whole to be light or dark against the background.
A very excellent plan is then to fix on some combining " atmosphere " of colour with which all the larger masses of the pattern may be blended. We take the three primary colours, Red, Blue, and Yellow. Say that we take red for our combining colour, then all the blues we use must be tinted slightly with red, which makes them purplish ; and all yellows will become somewhat orange with the admixture of the red, any greens used should tend to be rather grey with this added colour.
In like manner if we take the blue as an " atmosphere," then reds must be purple, and yellows must be greenish. This arrangement need not apply to very small points of colour, but it is a fairly safe plan to guide the beginner to good harmonizing of the main masses of ornament. Greys, which are combined of all three primary colours, may partake of any one or two in greater proportion than another, and thus greys may be reddish, yellow, blue, greenish or purplish, and the choice in such intricacies of colour combination must depend on their general relation to the other colours employed.
On white or very light grounds the colours used should be clear and bright, and save in slight and somewhat linear patterns, they should not be too deep in tone.
A ground of medium tone, neither very dark nor very light, may be decorated with a pattern which includes both lighter and darker tones ; but it is well that the main masses of such pattern be kept either entirely lighter or entirely darker than the groundwork, and only small points of detail should differ from the general tone of the whole.
It is rarely wise to make a design which has an equal quantity of extremely light and extremely dark colour evenly disposed over its whole surface. This tends to give the painfully dazzling effect shown in some of the now somewhat out-of-date foulard silks which were used for ladies' dresses, and which were far from pleasing to look at. "All over" designs are best carried out in tones which do not greatly contrast from their background.
In planning coloured designs it is well to bear in mind that the variety of stitches employed should not be too great. Embroidery does not exist to show off our knowledge of stitches. It is in all-white or monochrome designs that the play of varying stitches is needful, just as we require greater variety of texture in modelled or sculptured surfaces, as opposed to the even, smooth surface of a painting.
As a general rule, a certain reticence is desirable in the use of the more assertive colours, such as hot browns, terra cottas, scarlet or orange. These do not readily fall into scheme with the general colouring of the average room, if they are used in large quantities. A fairly safe range of colours may be found if we confine ourselves to those generally seen in the landscapes we look at, where (like mercy mixed in everything) blue preponderates, in the greens, greys, and purples of its foreground and distance.