Yellow the color of… A Challenge

Yellow the color of…. What is yellow? Recently on the Quilt Art List we have discussed the color yellow. Yellow has many meanings to different people, and in different cultures. It means life, it can mean violence, and universally it is the color of warmth and of the sun. What does yellow mean to you?

This challenge will comprise several portions, with some due prior to the May 15, 2004 deadline. The Color Studies will be due February 15, 2004, jpegs will be fine, and your finished piece will be due May 15, 2004. I am acquiring a domain name for this challenge, and will set up a website for the challenge. I will need all finished materials by May 15, 2004, in the form of 35mm slides so I can post them on the web. I am also looking for venues for this challenge, so slides are necessary for gallery and museum presentations.

Color studies portion:

In this portion you will create four 8 x 8 inch color studies for the color yellow. You will create a design to fit within the 8 x 8 inch format, leaving a one inch boarder around the edge of the square; this border may be white or black. The color studies should be the same design, this actually works best for this type of exercise. If you need to deviate, or need to add more to acquire the color scales, this if fine.

The First Study will be a black and white value study. You will create a black and white value scale within your design, using all 10 values. All 10 values must be present. A ten step value scale comprises 1 as being white, 5 as being pure hue, and 10 as being black. When using black and white color scale 5 should be an evenly balanced proportion of black and white together. This is not necessarily 50% black and 50% white, as this depends on the medium you are using. DUE DATE: February 15, 2004

The Second Study will be a study for the hue of yellow; you will take yellow and combine it with your black and white scale. Meaning: pure hue yellow is a 5 on the value scale, 10 is pure black, and 1 is pure white. All 10 values must be present. DUE DATE: February 15, 2004

The Third Study will be a study of yellow with its compliment, Violet (purple). You will mix yellow with violet and create the value scale of 10 within your piece. You may add white, but not black to this mixture. DUE DATE: February 15, 2004

The Fourth Study will be a study of yellow with any of its compliments, Split Compliment would be one example. Colors used could be: Violet, Yellow Green, Yellow Orange, Orange, Red Violet, or Blue Violet. You may add white, but not black. You must exhibit the use of the value scale 10 within the piece, but you do not have to use ALL of the colors listed. You may mix with one or with all of the colors. DUE DATE: February 15, 2004.

This is where you will have to check out some books on color and artists, do a little research on your color choices.

NOTES: You may use any technique and medium you desire, as long as it is 8 x 8 inches, and if you’re feeling 3D it needs to be an 8 inch cube. Hints of stuff to try are fabrics, dyes, paints, paper(s), pastels, and color pencils, anything that you can blend, collage to acquire the color scale.

Design Suggestions: This study does not have to be your final piece, but is an exercise that counts towards your final piece. Make your design, for the color studies, simple, yet complex enough so that you may acquire the 10 step value scale within your design.

Artist research portion:

In this portion you will choose an artist, any artist, other than a quilter, to study their use of color. How they used the color, example: as a highlight, the main color, to convey emotion or events. Why you chose that particular artist. Include a photocopy of the image you are studying, place in notebook. Color copies would be best, but black and white are fine, if you don’t have access to a color copier. However, you must look at a color copy of the image you are working with.

Pick any time frame and culture you wish, please note the artist you chose, the time period, the name of the piece, and the technique/medium the artist used. I would also like to know why you chose this artist/piece. Suggestions look at tapestry, altar pieces, paintings, kimonos, sculpture, etc.

Note Book Portion:

Keep a notebook of some sort, it can be a folder with pockets, a sketchbook or what ever you can find or afford. In this notebook you will write down who your artist is, the period you are studying, and why you chose this artist. Also included in the notebook you should have samples of the color yellow, found from magazines, books (make photo copies), paint chips, etc. Write down what the colors value is, what other colors may have been mixed with this particular color, and how the color is used. You may want to write down where you found the color, and why you chose this example. You may also want to collect samples of other colors as well, you can then use this notebook in the future as a reference guide.

Take pictures of your work in progress, any type of photo is fine, place these in your notebook. This will be your reference guide for future works. Also include pictures of your final piece in the note book. You will note that I did not include sketches, as I know many of you don’t draw, or are not comfortable doing so. Place sketches of studies and finished piece in the notebook, if you draw sketches prior to working.

Finished piece portion:

The finished piece MUST contain 25% yellow. The piece may also contain any of the compliments, plus black and/or white. Your finished piece may be an exact copy of your color studies, but does not have to be. The finished piece CANNOT be one of the color studies. You piece MUST contain fiber within the piece somewhere. You may work with paper, metal, fibers, glass, lighting or any combination thereof. Your finished piece may not weigh more than 25 pounds.

Finished piece MUST be larger than 8 inches square, but cannot be any larger than 36” in any direction. It may be square, rectangular or any shape that fits within the size constraints. It must be new work, created no earlier than November 7th, 2003. You may not show (exhibit) this work(s) or publish them prior to June 15, 2004.

It may be 3D as long as it can be mounted on a wall, and does not protrude more than 8 inches from the wall. It MUST be able to hang on the wall in a normal fashion, i.e. using hooks, nails, screws or wire..

The Name of your finished piece:

Your name MUST be a variant of yellow, i.e. you found a historical text containing color names, and one such yellow was called Mango, but another called it Canary. If find a text calling yellow Jumping Jacks, then please list the name of the reference, and if possible, why the color has that name, was it due to a particular event, place, or person?.

Artist Statement:

Please note in your statement why you chose your particular yellow, and how you used this color, and give a description of your yellow. What mediums and/or techniques did you use to create this yellow piece? Also note the artist you studied, the time frame of the artist, the name of the piece(s) studied, and why. One or two sentences will do for this portion. Lastly I would like to know what you learned from this experience, and how this does/may affect your future work.

Your total artist statement should be no more than three (3) paragraphs, one paragraph is fine, written in size 14-16 fonts, Times New Roman. List your name, city, state, and country.


Color Books:

Check with your library first, if you do not have books on color, I strongly suggest inter-library loan, or even suggest to your local library that they want to buy the books.

Delmare, Francios and Guineau, Bernard. (2000) Colors: The Story of Dyes and Pigments. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York, USA.
Eiseman, Leatrice. (2000). Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color.
Finely,Victoria. (2003) Color: A Natural History of the Palette.
Itten, Johannes.(2001) The Elements of Color. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, USA.

I don’t’ have a complete bibliography, yet, but these are some suggestions to get you started.

Artist Books:

Pick any artist you desire, remember no quilters! I am taken with the early Renaissance, and the Gothic Periods. If you are interested in Folk Artists, this is fine, or modernism, or Russian, etc. these are meant as suggestions to get you started.

Challenge Rules:

Complete challenge rules will be posted on my website, under the Yellow Challenge link. The challenge will also be posted on the Quilt art List site, however the entire rules will not be posted on QA. Or you can email me to acquire the rules. This challenge is limited to those who subscribe the Quilt Arts Digest, or List only. NOTE: Any cross posting of this challenge to other lists only serves to lessen your (and your list buddies) experience. I lurk on a lot of lists so I will know.

If you are late with your piece due to illness, or death, please contact me directly at


I never claimed to be an eloquent writer, and am severely dyslexic. So if there is some confusion about the challenge, please contact me.

Thank you for participating in this challenge, I hope you enjoy the experience.

Kimberly Baxter Packwood