Sunday, March 1, 2015

Me and My Love of color

I am Alissa Marie Lapinsky. Sister, daughter, Lala, friend, hair stylist, quilter, dancer, artist, shoe lover, Southerner, mermaid, gardener, nerd, book lover, knitter, Floridian. I love to laugh, swim, laze in the sun, cook, take photographs, play at the beach, sew, eat good food, talk with friends, be social, play trivia, play board games, hang with family, and just generally be happy. I could go on and on about me and who I am, etc, but the last two sentences are pretty much everything you could learn without meeting me. I'm sure I'm missing some things, but thats me in a nutshell. If you want to see who I am, scroll down and I've included quite a few photos with the people who make me ME. (Those people include my mom, my sister, best friends, co-workers, and last but definitely not least, my favorite boys on the planet.) I've been an artist my whole life and have ALWAYS been drawn to color and making things. I've also however, always been a nerd. Albeit a social nerd, but a nerd nonetheless. The always got good grades, tests don't phase me, never study, took Calc2 in high school kind of nerd (I know, barf, it grosses me out too.) But reconciling those two worlds can be a bit daunting. There aren't too many artists on the academic team in high school! So I've done just about EVERY single craft on the planet, trying to reconcile the way I think and what I can make with my hands, and while I love to knit, make jewelry, and refinish furniture, nothing quite made me feel at peace with what I was doing. When I started quilting, it was like something clicked. I can take my love of colors and love of everything logical and make my colors have a place. A space for them, a place for them, somewhere they fit and should be. Quilting and sewing things out of fabric just makes me happy. 

Now that I got that out of the way.....color!

I love color; most any color really. Although there are some I'm not hugely fond of, if its colorful, I'm in. And in my life, the richer and more luscious ones rule. As a hair stylist by trade, I have to know color. (Well, I should know color, we all know some crappy stylists out there that don't. Lucky for my clients I do.) Thankfully, I've been good with color my whole life. My mom always asks me to help pick out colors for her walls and I always tell my mom she can learn, its easy....not that blue, its too bright, and that one is too green, and that one over there will be purple in the sunlight, so duh, its this one right here! I mean, how can you not see that?? I feel like if you practice, anyone can learn anything, so learning color, is just like anything else. Practice makes perfect right?? But when at Quiltcon listening to Jenny Doan, she said something that kind of resonated with me. She said she's a matcher. She's not good at pairing colors, or putting different colors together, she will just pick colors that match whatever fabric she is using. Her daughter is the one that helps her put "different" colors together, and coordinate colors, not just match them and it hit me. Not everyone is good with color. Some people are matchers. My mom is a matcher. You see, I"m a coordinator. In my head, how do you not coordinate that marigold with that peacock blue? It's obvious! But that is not how everyone sees color. And that, is why Jenny Doan says she loves fabric lines that already have the coordinating done. These amazing fabric designers have already put together whole lines of fabric that coordinate without "matching" and we don't have to think quite as much. That is also why a lot of our quilts always looks great! But for those of you who want to get better at color, I'll give you the first three ways I think of color when creating something. 

1) Level. How light or dark your color is. Generally light colors bring feelings of light, airiness, and brings things forward (think of floating white clouds). The deeper the color, the heavier the feeling, and further things recede (think of a cave). When making your quilts, look at the blocks. Whichever elements you want to bring to the forefront make lighter; conversely, any elements you want to recede use something darker. In general, I think each quilt has an overall feeling to it; decide what you want your quilt to feel like before you pick the fabric.
2)Tone. I think of tone as where in the color spectrum each color lives; warm vs. cool. Is the green a yellowy grass green? More blue like sea foam? Is the purple closer to a magenta? Or an Indigo? The tone is important when color coordinating. Even colors at a similar level, maybe a deep yellowy pea green, and a brighter indigo blue will have contrast because of the warm green and the cool blue. Pay attention to the tones of the colors.
3) Contrast. Do you want your quilt to have a lot of contrast? Contrast will make your patterns pop, and show off your blocks more. (it will also show mistakes more, so be forewarned) You can use the obvious level of colors, black and white, or light and dark; but another way to show contrast is by using tone, use both warm and cool colors. 

If you'd like to see how "good" at color you are, take the X-rite Pantone color test. 

I got a 14, what did you get??

-Alissa :)


Post by Alissa - Week #8:   Alissa is a hair stylist, photographer, crafter and quilter… Although she's a newbie, she is already proficient and ambitious! She brings her love for color in the salon to her sewing machine, working with bright tones, graphic shapes and modern design. She is also inspired by the bright colors of her home state Florida. You can find her at


  1. Hi Alissa! This is a great post! I often said to my students that everyone has an innate sense of colour but it has to be cultivated. You brought up a good point that people can be matchers or coordinators. Like you, I am a coordinator. It's good for people to understand where they are in relation to how they work with colour in order to feel comfortable putting things together. Also interesting hue test. I scored a 4, with low hue discrimination in the bluey greens. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  2. I'm also a nerd who loves color! I have color arguments with my husband all the time. I took the test and scored an 8. My 11-year-old daughter wanted to take it, and she scored a 27. I won't make my husband take the test...