This is a very simple experiment layering the 3 primary colours, very simplistic and pretty crude, no subtlety employed at all. The sequence of the layers is the same, cycling between blue, yellow and red, with the amount of each roughly similar. I usually work intuitively, thinking from the bottom layer up to the achieve the tone and hue desired but thought it was time to try the basic mixing exercises I get my painting pupils to do. Threads do not mix physically like paints, the layering means it is a visual mixing a bit like pointillism, so it adds the extra complication of texture. Joy.
This first set is just 2 colours layered.
The first is yellow on blue, they have ‘blended’ so it is hard to tell which is on top and do give the idea of green quite well. The yellow even looks greenish, which is cheating. The second is red on yellow. It should be orange but perhaps there is too much tonal difference. The red has lost its brightness and the yellow its sharpness but I still see the colours as separate entities. As for the third…. blue on red. Where has the red gone? I expected it to dominate! Certainly the blue looks darker but not really purple.
With paint mixing in the remaining primary should give varieties of brown, usually ranging from mud to slimy-greeny brown. Would anything like this happen with layered thread?
On the first the red thread does look brown but not because of blending with the colours underneath. Colours are never seen in isolation, they influence each other significantly, in this case the colours are muddier and less distinct. The middle one I read as blue-with-bits-in. The red and blue have blended a little better. And the end one? Again the joker in the pack, the blue and yellow have not blended as before and the flecks of red break it up further. By standing a long way away and squinting fit to get a headache the first did look slightly brown, the middle purple, and the last no known colour at all (okay maybe a mid beigey greeny grub).
So much for standard colour theory!
What it does illustrate is the vast range of colour and effect that can be obtained from the most basic starting point. The next logical step is to stick to those 3 threads but play around with them more. Might be fun, may end up with lots of shades of beigey greeny grub. Watch this space!
If you are interested in trying, extending existing skills or just stitching with me, please check my facebook textiles page for formal and informal dates.