Paula Bailey

June 10, 2013

Vertical and vibrant garden

This is probably going to be my last garden blog post for a little while as the creative phase is pretty much over for this year. Now I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it.

At the weekend I finally lifted the pallet garden into place. My goodness it was heavy! My daughter and I just about managed to walk it up to the wall and we leaned it there at a slight angle. It looks great!

The pallet leans at a slight angle to try to reduce fall-out, and so that it won’t pitch forwards and fall (scary thought).

A few flowers are already emerging – some marguerites, marigolds and another yellow flower I have lost the card for so can’t remember what it’s called.

The gaps between the plants are larger than they could have been – lesson learned for next year. That’s a solar light and there are two more at the top. There are also petunias, ageratum, alyssum, lobelia, dianthus, geraniums and verbena in there.

I’ve watered it twice since it was lifted into place and I’m noticing some soil erosion so I’m being as careful as I can be. If I’d stuffed the plants in more tightly as I should have done (didn’t read the instructions as I went along – stuffed them in along the top and spaced them elsewhere) this would be reduced. Still, they should hold and I can keep an eye on them.

The plants will have to change direction now, having been moved 90 degrees.

Most of the flowers are starting to emerge – the orange and yellow ones are leading at the moment.

Elsewhere in the garden, some of the verbena and lobelia are venturing into bloom, and several of my rescuelings (50p bargains from the ‘almost dead’ shelf at the garden centre) from previous years are maturing nicely. I have two lovely lavenders, a sage that’s flowering now, and various trailing flowers which will come back year after year.

A lavender rescued from near death two years ago provides some maturity.

Verbena, marigold and the one whose name I can’t remember.

I bought loads and loads of lobelia – they’re one of my favourites and they flower for months. They should be out this week.

Tiny lobelia provide wonderful sprinklings of colour – and they’re beautiful close up too. This was the only one out on Sunday.

Alyssum growing in various places – including a boot-shaped pot that got smashed in the wind last year. The way this plant grows quite suits the uneven shape.

While the pallet was settling down after the shock of its 90 degree shift, I got to work painting the terracotta troughs I hadn’t had time to do last weekend. Again I very quickly painted decorations – this time using the twisted pattern moulded into the shape of the troughs. They don’t bear close inspection but they really brighten up the corner.

Simply mixing up the colours makes everything go together. There are potatoes growing in the jute bag you can just see on the other side of the bench.

And the bench finally got its facelift. For this I used wood preservative paint (Cuprinol Garden Shades – Iris). I’ve used this colour elsewhere in the garden, on the frames of some of the mirrors I have around the place.

So another afternoon’s work with striking results. Even though I won’t be doing a garden blog for a while, I will keep you updated as the flowers come out and post some photos of the pallet in full bloom.

I’d love to see your garden creations, and if you’ve made a pallet garden I’m eager to hear your maintenance tips. I’m definitely keen to do this again next year. So do leave a comment and why not sign up to hear about updates as soon as they’re posted.

A new bright look for a previously neglected corner of the garden

March 11, 2011

CMYK: The rainbow for geeks?

CMYK style

CMYK style by Mitra Mirshahidi

OK so it might not be a full rainbow, but it’s our rainbow and we love it.

As many of you will know, CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK (more properly known as Key) and these are the four colours used in the CMYK printing process.  You may have noticed them on the uncut edges of magazines or newspapers as a series of circles or squares.

On the other hand, the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colours are what happens on our computer screens. You can read more about all that here.

But who cares about all this? Well apart from printers, designers do. And these days that can extend to photographers and others interested in the visual arts.  Not because of the use of CMYK in the printing process, but because it’s cool.

You might be wondering what on earth could be cool about four colours that don’t seem to go together, that don’t flow from one to the other like a rainbow does, or that, on reflection are actually three colours and a tone (if we’re getting technical here).

This is where the print people sit

This is where the print people sit ... by vintagedept

It seems that CMYK has become a universal identifier for design and print geeks and their friends. Just take a look at some of the CMYK inspired logos that designers make for themselves, or the CMYK t-shirts that are out there to buy. It’s like a badge. It says “I am a designer” or “I work with print”. It’s a social signal for geek-to-geek coolness.

And then there’s the inevitable bandwagon. A couple of years ago, on the wave of renewed interest in lomography (essentially photography with cheap plastic film cameras) which extended, naturally, to the design world, the Diana F+ CMYK was launched. It was nicknamed the ‘Smeek’ because they thought CMYK was too cumbersome to say.  Basically it was another edition of the very popular Diana series but with extra cool. I still want one.

CMYK

Unplanned coincidence - when we realised what we were all wearing, we just had to do a photo

I think the colours look great together. They don’t jar even though they are very bright. I’m not sure of the dynamics but my guess would be that they work together because between them, all colours can be made.   It’s not a rainbow but if you’re working in print, it’s where your rainbow comes from. Having said that, I wouldn’t want a room done out in CMYK, and if I wore it then I’d definitely restrict it to a small size (like many of the t-shirts shown in the link above).

What do you think? Do the CMYK colours all in one hit appeal to you? Or do you hate them? Feel free to share any links to CMYK images of your own when you comment.

And in case you were wondering what inspired today’s post, well it was my newly painted CMYK fingernails of course.

CMYK

Are these the ultimate geek girl fingernails?

Why not sign up for updates on new posts?

 

February 4, 2011

Yellow Fever

It seems that everyone’s moaning about the winter at the moment.  The problem is, I think, that they started moaning about it in December when we were just getting over Autumn.  No wonder everyone’s so fed up.

So I thought I’d put out a cheerful and encouraging post today.  Spring is on its way! Yes I’ve seen the signs – little flowers are starting to pop their heads through the hard soil and buds and catkins are appearing on trees.

Yellow is a colour that is prevalent throughout the spring, summer and even autumn, and yet it is perhaps most closely associated with the onset of spring.  It may be because of the “host of golden daffodils” that appear in our woodlands, parks and gardens, and even on the high street outside florists, greengrocers and petrol stations.

Yellow is seen as a positive colour.  To me it lacks the warmth of orange, but it certainly does brighten things up.  On the other hand it can be a warning. We use it on our signs to bark instructions, warn of danger and send out signals at a distance. In nature it can mean poison, particularly when teamed with black.

Traditionally its ‘opposite’ (on the colour wheel) is purple or violet, but this pairing often jars the senses.  The orange/blue pairing works well, but yellow/purple and the red/green do not seem to share that harmonious relationship.  However yellow is complimented well by blue, as can be seen in the centre image of the yellow flower against a blue sky.  It’s all about light rather than colour wheels.

Yellow has a broad range of ‘types’ as with all the colours I’ve discussed so far.  It can veer towards orange or to green in hue. It can be a subdued ‘mustard’ yellow (supposedly the fashion colour this season) or scream at us with fluorescent versions.

Whichever way you perceive it, you really can’t miss it and I hope you find the collection below cheerful. Spring’s not far away.

Yellow Fever

I have curated a Flickr gallery to accompany this post.

Why not sign up for updates on new posts?

You might also like:

 

November 19, 2010

Oranges Poranges

I find orange a wonderfully warm and joyful colour.  I love red, but that sometimes can be a little cool or harsh.  Yellow is fabulously uplifting but for me it is a definite spring/summer colour and I am definitely not a spring/summer person.

Orange is rust and the beauty of fire; it is the colour of thousands of vibrant flowers; it is my favourite late afternoon autumn sunlight on a warm terracotta wall.  With its counterpart, blue, it really pops as part of the most successful pairing of complementary colours.

As mentioned in previous musings about colour, orange is no stranger to disagreement.  Is it yellow? Red? Brown?  That might depend on your mood or your outlook.  For some it is school dinner carrots, for others it’s golden syrup pudding.  I know which I prefer.

Native Americans associate orange with kinship and it is the preferred hue for Hindu swamis and Buddhist monks.  It has associations with Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving (is this because of the colour of pumpkins?), and is often regarded as a positive and optimistic colour.  There are some who would say it is merely the part of the spectrum that exists between 585 and 620 nanometres. #FFA500 to them!

Orange is also the favourite colour of fellow photographer and Flickr friend Jennifer König.  She is moving house and that’s why I’ve chosen orange today.  And if you’re wondering about the title, you may be too young to remember H R Pufnstuf!

I’ll let Wassily Kandinsky have the final word:

Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.

Orange

I have curated a Flickr gallery to accompany this post.

Why not sign up for updates on new posts?

You might also like:

October 2, 2010

Photographer’s Blues

I’m working on a new blog post but in the meantime I thought I’d share another colour collection with you.

Several years ago, when I was still using film exclusively and before I’d even heard of Flickr (can you imagine a world without Flickr now?) I started to photograph things that were blue.  It was the beginning of a new relationship with the colour for me.  I never really liked blue.  It was my grandmother’s favourite colour (we lived with my grandparents) and there was a lot of it around the house.  It was her colour.   Not mine.  I never wore it, never chose it for furnishings, never sought it out.  This wasn’t a deliberate shunning of blue, but it just wasn’t ‘me’.

In some ways, my ‘blue’ project was all the more interesting for that reason.  It was brand new to me and I collected it fervently.  For a couple of months it became a bit of an obsession – I saw it everywhere.

Proper cobalt blue is described as a ‘cool’ blue and technically it is.  However, as is the case with all colour perception, we are rarely (as observers) all that ‘technical’ about it, and my collection below inevitably shows some ‘warmer’ (towards purple) variations on the theme.  As designers or printers, of course, we need to be more discerning in our descriptions, but we’re not going to get bogged down with that here.

It seems a little clinical on school books and ‘important’ signs, but jollies up dull things like doors and machines.

This blue is now my blue. How do you perceive it?

Cobalt Blue

Some images from my blue collection. One of these was taken on film - when it all began.

You might also like:

September 6, 2010

Arsenic Green

‘Arsenic Green’ is not an easy colour to describe but for many years it was the very green which, according to John Lloyd and the late Douglas Adams was “supposed to make you feel comfortable in hospitals, industrious in schools and uneasy in police stations” (from The Meaning of Liff, 1983).  I’m not entirely sure it is even called arsenic green – but that is what I call it (and so do a company called Farrow & Ball it seems – actually check out their paint colour names, they have one called Dead Salmon too).

Pantone call it 557 U.

Many years ago, copper acetoarsenite was used to colour things green.  The resulting greens were variously called emerald green, Paris green or Scheele’s green (which is, in turn, also known as copper arsenite).  It was used to colour many things including wallpaper, clothing, paints, even children’s toys and as a face makeup to reduce redness. Of course it was very poisonous.  People died and often in quite alarming ways, frequently in green rooms, and usually by inhaling the toxic fumes that were emitted, particularly in damp conditions.  It has even been suggested that this green pigment was the cause of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte.

And we were worried about lead in paint?

For me, this colour (or more correctly range of colours) sums up dusty old school rooms and sensible books, soft furnishing materials and old biscuit tins at my grandmother’s house, and the thick layers of green paint peeling off my grandfather’s old zinc shed, showing the faded versions of the same colour below.  It’s a definite nostalgia colour – not only for my own childhood, but also for the earlier childhoods I read about in my story books. Faded summers.

In design work I would use it to convey a ‘classic’ feel, particularly in book cover design.

What does it mean to you?

Arsenic Green

I’ve curated a Flickr Gallery to accompany this post.

You might also like:

June 13, 2010

Turquoise is all in the mind

Business Card

Is this turqouise?

My sister-in-law recently asked me to make her a business card.  I asked her what she would like and she replied “simple butterfly, turquoise shades”.  So I started to look at ways of designing her card.

After a while, and when I was ready to send some ideas to her, it occurred to me that what I thought of as turquoise might not be what she thought of as turquoise.

How many times have you discussed the colour of something, only to have one person state that a thing is blue, and another to argue that it is green?  Does that make it turquoise by default?  It seems not.

Turquoise is a recognised colour related to the turquoise mineral, Pantone has declared the colour of 2010 to be 15-5519 Turquoise, and yet I have heard people declare that colours as blue as cobalt are turquoise.  So do we wrongly call something turquoise because we cannot decide if it is blue or green?  We may never know.  As my friend and fellow designer Naomi Finn has discovered through her recent research into colour, visual perception is very personal.

We will all have to agree to differ from time to time.  Oh, and my sister-in-law loved the card design.

Turquoise is all in the mind

You might also like:

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: