Piece by Piece Study the Value of Color

The month of May was all about Color. We started with a workshop by local beloved artist Ellen Dinerman, who led participating artists in refreshing their color wisdom by creating color wheels and learning primary, secondary and tertiary colors as well as touching on value, hue and saturation. Like many mediums, the importance of contrasting colors, complementary colors and the vibrancy of color are all important factors in creating a mosaic.


During the month of May, we also had a visit from the wonderful and talented artist Carol Shelkin, who traveled from Philadelphia for the fifth time to work with Piece by Piece artists. In Carol’s class, the focus was on value—the light and dark of color, and the challenging technique of gradation. Unlike painting, mosaic cannot combine two colors to make a third. Instead, mosaic artists need to blend hard materials, such as glass and ceramic, to create gradation. Each participant was given a choice of three images to interpret into a monochromatic design. The results have been fantastic, and every artist has expressed a new appreciation of the value of color in their work.


The month rounded off with a review of lessons learned and a discussion around how grout – the material that goes between the pieces – also plays an important role in color theory in mosaic. Finally, there was a rousing game of Wheel of Color, a creatively hand-crafted spinning color wheel. Wherever color the spinner landed, participants identified the properties of that color. We are grateful to the instructors who brought their color muscle to the workshops in May!

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