This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
Memorize color by classification, that is, look at a color for a minute and notate mentally - produce from memory - then compare.
Reproduce color from dictation.
Using gradated colored paper samples select values, hues and chromas from dictation.
All of these suggestions may be enlarged upon, making innumerable short exercises and greatly increasing the interest in the subject.
Practice in color perception is most necessary, for upon it depends the training of the eye, which is the source of joy in color. The development of the faculty of seeing and feeling color repays one richly, for the world takes on a new aspect when the eye is able to discern the beautiful qualities of color in the simplest objects as well as in the greatest works of nature and of art. A city roof view becomes a vision of loveliness. The gas tank in the distance which was simply red to the young painter has possibilities of opalescent splendor for the colorist. Passing a green cabbage-patch an artist once exclaimed, "What a beautiful purple glow on those cabbages !' while his companion replied, "I see only green." The wonders of the artist's brush may be recognized as the realities of nature by a seeing eye.
"For, don't you mark ? we're made so that we love First when we see them painted, things we have passed Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see; And so they are better, painted - better to us, Which is the same thing. Art was given for that; God uses us to help each other so, Lending our minds out."
After one has become familiar with the properties of color, by learning to see them, one should practice the grouping of colors by making color schemes. This is the great test of one's sense of beauty, whether natural or cultivated. The instinct for using color will not develop by following dictated formulas - it grows through experiment guided by basic principles.
Design in color is the rhythmic or orderly arrangement of its properties (hue, value and chroma), in regard to relative position, area or quantity, and contour, and according to the principles of art, unity, variety and balance.
But in order to achieve a beautiful design one must have artistic impulse with a fine feeling for beauty. By " plunging in" and surrounding oneself with good examples of color design a sense of appreciation develops, which helps in recognizing and understanding the rhythmic relationships of the color qualities according to unity, variety and balance. Art training only provides the means of expression through which the creative impulse is to act, though sometimes through expression artistic impulse is awakened and nurtured.
Examples for the study of color design may be found in reproductions of paintings in art publications, illustrated magazines, books,1 good modern posters, Japanese prints, figured textiles (Plate II), (the best of which are to be found among upholstery and draperies in larger stores), rugs, pottery, stained glass, old embroideries, illuminations and the realm of nature.
1 The work of Brangwyn Dulac, Bakst, Boutet de Monvel and Howard Pyle is suggestive.
The aim of the following exercises is to direct the observation and to suggest color thought.