This weekend I went to a very interesting exhibition at The Design Museum (Kensington High Street), called Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius. A very thought provoking take on colour. Colour is a huge part of my work. Wedding work and flowers for photo shoots demand working to a customers colour brief. The best situation is when a client has identified a broad brush colour scheme and we can work with it. More challenging are situations where clients want to exact colour match colours of their flowers to fabrics or colour charts etc.
Flowers are natural products and as such they are rarely single colours. If you look closely at flowers they often have different colours through the flower, sometimes in the centre or outer petals, sometimes the colour changes from base to tip of petal. This can be subtle changes of tints and tones and sometimes it is an altogether other colour. This is particularly true of garden or outdoor grown blooms. They are influenced by weather, water, soil minerals etc. and as such the flowers can vary in colour from bloom to bloom even from the same plant. I like to use flowers which I think of as transitional colours which move from one colour to another as they include more than one shade. These flowers are fabulous flowers which link blooms of different colours together.
If you look closely at the flowers below you can see examples of colour variations within the same flower head and within the same petals.
Some flowers are more difficult to be certain of colours....white Roses and white flowers in particular are difficult. They are often white plus green, pale yellow/cream, white with a very faint hint of pink....pure white is almost impossible to find. Take a look at some of the "white" flowers below.
Hydrangeas are well known for colour variations dependant on soil acidity. The effect I understand is caused by the PH of the soil affecting aluminium availability. The Hydrangeas being blue in acid soil and pink in alkaline soil.
In addition people not only see colours differently but also describe colours differently and in my experience this particularly applies to more subtle shades of colour e.g. blush, nude etc. How would you describe the colours of the flowers below?
Colours look very different in different lighting conditions. Morning, afternoon, evening, summer, winter, inside, outdoors etc. Photography, the internet and filters also alter things...Colours are not always what they seem on line. Take a look at the dark Dahlias below...photographed in different conditions.
Plants grown in less natural conditions...hydroponically and undercover can have less colour variation and therefore be more consistent from bloom to bloom. This is because there is less variation in their growing environment which is highly controlled. In my view this tends to make them look more solid in colour and have less subtlety. They may also have been bred for specific colours sometimes those less easy to achieve naturally e.g lilac coloured Roses. There are situations where this is useful. However from the artistic point of view there is nothing to compare to the gorgeous colours created by nature.
Colour combinations are a whole other consideration....what looks good together and why. When I was training we were encouraged to work with very restricted colour palettes...e.g. Pinks, purples, creams...I love to work with unusual variations in colour palette and can honestly say that most of my work is never repeated on the colour front as each combination is unique. Perhaps something for another blog post!!
My story in flowers started as a child growing a tiny patch of London Pride Saxifraga...also known as Whimsey or Look Up and Kiss Me! Fast forward to 8 years ago when I started a City and Guilds training in floristry. I qualified as a florist and then to deepen my growing knowledge and skills I trained in horticulture as well. I trained under a WRAGS scheme at Darsham Nurseries and at Somerleyton Hall. Developing a passion for both growing and designing/arranging British garden flowers, I planted a cutting garden. Having become increasingly concerned about where and how flowers are grown, coupled with a love of British grown flowers. and natural styling, I now specialise in growing and using beautiful British grown flowers to make romantic natural designs. for weddings, events, gifts and much more.