Discovering Color Trends by Chris V

FW 2017/18 Octopus Connection Color Palette done with the Procreate App.

Color is truly my happy place. With New York Fashion Week in full swing, color is popping on Twitter and Instagram like bulbs flashing on a camera. I think I am as intrigued with how different designers use it as I am with color itself. Like different chefs wielding the same ingredients in different ways, designers have such interesting color stories which they combine with shape and form.

Then there are the color designers themselves. Our heroes at Pantone are a prime example.  Without their diligent work what would we do to keep up with the color trends? In fact, I have recently discovered the Pantone App. Not only does it give you color trends, color stories for different combinations, but it also allows you to upload an image and give you the custom Pantone colors. Below is one of my paintings with its own Pantone color and palette.  I have featured color palettes before, but Pantone takes it to a whole other level…


I have also been following some color trend blogs. For example, Sarah Renae Clark has an amazing post featuring some of her own color palettes on her website. The Fashion Vignette blog shows a collage of the latest prints and how to wear them on a consistent basis.

My three new Pinterest boards are designed just for color trend tracking organized by seasons. Here is my new Spring/Summer 2018 board that I am now using to start thinking ahead on my art, jewelry and other projects. This is all thanks to Claire Picard, from whom I learned how to create a color trend journal.  She has been a ginormous inspiration to me. Without her guidance, I would never have been able to paint the cover art at the top of this post, as my own guide to my favorite Fall 2017 colors.

(A lovely illustration from

(A lovely illustration from

Claire is an artist/designer from the UK who has developed professional color trend forecasting techniques. She used them in consulting for several TV stations that relied on her expertise to stay ahead of the curve. I had the pleasure of taking her course on Skillshare, and it was life changing. I don't throw those words around lightly... I have begun to see the world of art and design in a whole new light. I can now recognize the color trends appearing at my trip to the furniture boutique, or in the paint tones on newer vehicles.

FW2017/18 Color Story from My Journal

Above is an image of my favorite fall color story from the journal that I learned to make in Claire's class. She has an Etsy shop where she sells her gorgeous collage style prints based on the color stories she puts together. They are truly stunning! I can't wait to see her color combos for the holidays. You can follow her Instagram and Pinterest if you would like up to stay up to date on Claire's color ideas. 

How do you use and forecast color for your projects? Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Travel Art Set by Chris V

I just got a new Winsor & Newton watercolor tube travel set. Yup, I'm pretty stoked! It's just in time for some summer adventure, so I'm inspired to bring up my travel game up.  I found a lightweight case, made by Yoobi, with tons of pockets for organizing. It seemed just the right size, and after a few switch arounds, I have it just the way I like it. Pencils, sharpener, paintbrush in top left zipper pocket. Gel pens, mechanical pencil, water brushes in lower velcro pocket. Paint set in large center pocket (it's starting to sound like a game of pool…) 


On the other side, there is some stiff backing. I am using it to store my paper in hopes it will keep it from getting bent or tattered. I have some small and large sheets of Canson watercolor paper, in case different sizes strike my fancy. I'm also bringing a Canson water color ringed sketch pad to keep some of the work as a journal, plus I threw on one of my signature Octopus Collection heart charms to the zipper pull for some personality.

Not sure if you've used brush pens before, but they are genius! They are synthetic fiber brushes, made by Pentel, in different sizes with a plastic tube of water at the end.  You can unscrew the tube and fill it with water for when your brush needs to be refreshed. All you do is squeeze the tube, and out comes the water at the base of the brush.  This minimizes having to deal with getting a cup of rinse water, which is a huge pain when you are on the go. 


Minnie Small's video of her travel journal video motivated me to try my hand at spur of the moment sketches that I could always paint later when I'm not on the move. Her style is so effortless, it's a great example of being able to capture some amazing memories while mobile.

How are you traveling with your art supplies this summer?  Love to hear from you in the comments below. :-) 

Understanding Abstract Art- My Journey by Chris V

From early on, my art style has always been that of a realist. Portraits have always been my favorite as you know from last week's newsletter, but I enjoyed still lifes and landscapes as well. I've always been standoffish regarding abstract styles, as it was an enigma to me. One that haunted me...

About 10 years ago, I had an opportunity to view an exhibit featuring Mark Rothko. I found myself standing in front of a vastly large painting, and I remember being lost in it for at least five minutes. I mean… I was completely speechless. The colors were soft and muted, one bleeding into the other the lower they went on the canvas. For some reason that I cannot explain, it touched me deeply. Because there was no distinct physical subject matter, I couldn't relate it to anything tangible, but it affected me deeply on an emotional level. That's when I realized I was missing the essence of abstract. It's a unique language, and it was finally speaking to me. I started to look at all abstract painters with a new respect and appreciation. They could affect people in a way that other artists couldn't, because they portrayed the ethereal. 

I wanted to connect with people on this deeper wavelength; to touch others as I had been. It took me a few years, but I started to dabble in what I thought was the unreachable. As I experimented, I began to find myself and realize it was not so hard. Although I was a realist, I had always sought to capture it and it's most ethereal form. I eventually was able to tap into that part of myself and voila! Now, it's one of my favorite genres of painting! Who would've thought???  

Since then, some of my most praiseworthy pieces have been... you guessed it, abstract. One of my favorite activities if to experiment with new techniques to see what I can evoke from it.  It just goes to show what an adventure art and life can be if you are open to the new. You may see me using my abstract work in new ways. I'm not giving out any spoilers just yet, as it's still in the planning stages, so stay tuned. As always, you'll be the first to know. ;-)