header photo

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Exception to the "All Greens Go Together" Rule

Just a little giggle and some food for thought to start off the week. I've never been much of a rule follower, more like a rule questioner.  When it comes to rules for color, I tend to use some of them more as guidelines.
   Like most rules, there are exceptions and gray areas.  One of my favorite looks is the layering of different greens.......yellow based greens with bluer based greens can be so lovely together.

 Tobi Fairley Interior Design

One of the general sayings is to look to nature for inspiration. The rule: All greens go together.  All greens in nature work together in harmony so they do in design as well.  

Love the color play of moss, leaves and greenery:

This is lovely:
 1912 Bungalow Blog


 Rosalie Fienes Design

 A Modern Twist

 Lyrics Dramatics

As always, I love finding an exception to a rule, even one I use and believe in. It keeps me on my toes. Coming back from a recent long bike ride, I think I found an exception to the green rule.


This building was practically screaming at me when I drove by so I had to document it as my idea of a rule breaker. Maybe it's just me, but perhaps the lower green just doesn't exist in nature?

Have a fantastic week!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Colorful Music Inspired Art of Tim Bavington

Image: Mark Monroe Gallery

A little eye candy for your enjoyment. For anyone like me who is a color junkie and rock music lover, Las Vegas artist, Tim Bavington has managed to meld both into astonishing works of art. Bavington uses auto paint spray guns to visually create songs from bands such as the Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses, The Clash and Jimi Hendrix. Matching the 12 tones on a musical scale with the 12 main divisions on the color wheel, he translates the songs into abstract neon colored displays which practically vibrate with the music they are transposing.

Long May You Run-Neil Young

The process is more emotional and suggested rather than rigorous interpretations. While the color patterns appear sharp at a distance, the bands of color blur dramatically as one takes a closer look at each painting. The boundaries of color blurring and layering like the notes in a song.

The End-The Doors

Judy is a Punk-The Ramones

Bavington at one time was involved with drawing for The Simpson's on everything except the animation (comic books, etc.) But he was drawn towards mid-century abstract art as well as music spanning the ranges from jazz to alternative rock. He likens the starting point in each piece to that of a guitar soloist fleshing out a simple song and adding layers to it.

Blue Monday-New Order

He currently has an exhibition at the Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City, California. Many of his pieces are part of collections at many museums including the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Love on the Rocks-Neil Diamond

Bold as Love-Jimi Hendrix

Up in Suze's Room-Paul Weller

Physical S.E.X. by Darkness (collection at MOMA)

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Architectural Color Quandry in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Handout Photo

I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses the week between Christmas and New Years to totally check out, am I? I simply stop reading e-mail, doing blog posts, exercising, etc. The one thing I've always done since childhood is to visit Carmel by the Sea sometime during the holidays. The last few years it's been after Christmas. We'll rent a house near the ocean and play around on the beach as well as sight see for a few days. (See my post last year on Storybook architecture and Carmel here).

My husband is very patient about going to Carmel each year even though there are no “guy stuff or stores” there. He patiently drives me up and down each street to ogle the homes and see which remodels got finished from last year, what colors we like and don't like, guessing about the price tags of such homes. Even my two sons have gotten into offering an on the spot critique!

Although the rest of me is on vacation, my eye for looking at colors seems entirely unable to rest. Picking up the local paper, The Pinecone, I noticed an interesting story involving architectural color. It was about a color quandary the city planning commission was having with famed Tiffany's Jewelry. Tiffany's is a newer business to Carmel and is anchored at the street end of their outdoor mall called Carmel Plaza.


Called into question was the desire by Tiffany's to put up awnings on some of their windows in their trademark and iconic blue.

This clashed with the strict color code for Carmel. The code states: Color must be....

"Muted paint colors which blend with the natural surroundings. Bright and primary colors should be avoided. Contrasting colors should be saturated and earthen."

Very specific design/color codes are not unusual for historically unique tourist areas such as Carmel. They also have detailed guidelines for windows, landscape, doors, roofing materials and so on.

Tiffany trademark blue was custom created by Pantone and given the number 1837, which is the year Tiffany was founded.

Not all storefronts possess the decorative awnings as seen here.



Madrid, Spain

Beverley Hills

Notice the beige awnings instead of blue here?

Union Square San Fransisco

Newer designed stores like this one in Seattle, below, are departing from their well known storefront design and doing away with the blue altogether on the exterior. This is said to be in an effort to feel more accessible and less intimidating to shoppers.

Here is a picture of the storefront in Carmel. Sorry for the poor quality. As you can see, they have a decidedly low key profile with just a smallish sign out front. .... All of which are dictated by Carmel design codes. Outside the Plaza, there are very few chain stores with one of the exceptions being Coach. Obviously not all of the windows would have awnings as some of the windows are too tall for them.

Here is some of the feedback from the commission on the matter:

Plaza operations manger Jim Griffith said his company was OK with the departure from the center’s design rules.

We support the color, even though it’s a bit of an exception,”he said. “It is their marquis color, so it’s hard to consider any other options.”

But Carmel planning and building services manager Sean Conroy disagreed, reminding commissioners that the town often contends with businesses that have signature looks they want to include on their storefronts.The city has tried to avoid these kinds of notice-attracting features,” he said.

Commissioner Steve Hillyard agreed the teal would be too eye-catching, and commissioner Steve Dallas, who said he appreciated the store’s presence in town, suggested OKing just a couple of the awnings.

Chair Janet Reimers liked the color.I think the color is fine,” she said. “I like looking at it, especially on little boxes. I don’t see them very often.”

The commission ultimately voted 4-1 in favor of the blue awnings, with Hillyard dissenting.

By the way, did you have any idea there were so many types of awnings?!

I think a great alternative solution would have been a silver or grayish awning with Tiffany's blue just in a stripe around the base. Not quite as noticeable but still in line with Tiffany's corporate branding. Thinking along the lines of the "Bullnose" stripe style above but in Silver/Blue.

If your city council has a color dilemma, if you own a company that requires some color branding or architectural color solutions, I'd like to help! Please contact me: Marie@ColorMarie.com

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gratitude and Welcome 2011!

The New Year rites of reflection, celebration and resolutions are obvious parts of stepping out of one year and into the next. I also add to that a healthy dose of gratitude. I've had fun watching my small blog grow as well as meeting other bloggers and color enthusiasts.

I learn so much from reading other design blogs and coming up with inspiration for my own posts. I may not blog as often as other bloggers are able to, but I enjoy that you check in and I appreciate your kind words and feedback.

My colleague, designer extraordinaire Kelly Berg, was given the Stylish Blogger Award from The Decorologist.

She went on to name three of her favorite blogs and I was honored and flattered that mine was mentioned in these three! Kelly's blog is always fresh, visual and thought provoking. Hope you will check out Kelly's Arte Styling Blog and see for yourself.

I hope 2011 is a year of amazing creative growth for all of you! I look forward to bringing you more posts on color and it's use in design and architecture. I'm also hoping to revamp the design of my blog and thinking of changing over to Wordpress (any thoughts or insights on that?)

Our family in Maui celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in November

Happy 2011!!!!!!
Walk into the New Year and be open to the wonderful opportunities that are waiting!