I’ve been going through a revamping of the Sand & Chi brand since this past summer. I’ve really been trying to focus on a cohesive style instead of just producing a rather random mix of patterns and prints in various forms. One of the things I did in the process was to look at my portfolio as a whole and a few things stood out to me but the one that was most perplexing was why is there so much orange in there? I don’t wear orange. I don’t have a lot of orange items in my home. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a true orange color anywhere in my house. Not even a bright coral or citrus hue. I stick to neutral tones; I love a rich gray or a gentle cream. Those two colors are even better together! So why in my sea of neutral hues was I designing so many orange prints?
This has perplexed me for years until today, when I began decorating for my favorite time of the year. I love the fall in New England – all of the rich golden colors mixed with deep russet tones and brilliant reds. I decorate with huge vases of mums and pretty sparkly pumpkins that I place around my whole house. I don’t decorate for any other time of the year really, but when fall comes I haul out all of my wreaths and pumpkins and vases and go crazy. Then I sit back and look at all of the glorious color that brings such pop to my mostly neutral space. Amazingly, those colors fit right in with the slightly nautical (navy blues and misty grays) and earth tones (deep creams and wine colors) already in my home.
Today it all finally made sense to me. What I love comes out in my art. I love the colors if fall- rich reds, golds, and oranges. Those are the colors that bring me joy and fall is such a magical time of the year for me. I love putting a pop of an unexpected color in a neutral space. I am drawn to those earthy colors that really come alive in the autumn. But until now, I have been literal in my translation of those colors. I have used oranges instead of deep russet and rich golds. The more I create and the more I learn as an artist, the more color choice comes in to play. I had been literal in my choices – going for bright oranges and coral tones – but now my newly clarified aesthetic is more neutral and earthy and I need to refine my palette to reflect that.
In order to make my portfolio more representative of my style, I needed to swap out those bright hues for richer and deeper tones. I’ve been experimenting with this for a few weeks now and as a result, my work has more of a sophisticated vibe and while I am still working on getting cohesion in my portfolio I am at lease more conscious of the color choices I make. Bright tones aren’t who or what the Sand & Chi brand is about. An ultra luxurious shade of red is much more in keeping with my style than say a primary red.
So as the pieces come together, I am realizing that narrowing my focus has really enabled me to figure out why I am drawn to certain colors – and rather than giving up those colors I am learning to refine them so they are more in keeping with what I (and my brand) want to be known for. This has been frustrating for me because it took me MONTHS to be able to produce a print I liked – mainly because I was having to think my way through the design process rather than just letting it flow – but the results are coming together bit by bit.
In the coming months, there will be a shift in the vibe of this blog. I’ll be moving toward a more sophisticated color palette and away from the brighter hues of my previous work. I’m also refining my motifs a bit, but I think the major change will be toward a more minimalist layout in my patterns. This has been a process for me – one that was so frustrating for me because I have been used to designing lots of prints, but now I am trying to design them in a more thoughtful way. You can check out my portfolio site to see the new collections.