Colour Sharing

April 23, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

How do members of a Season borrow colours into their wardrobe successfully? All sorts of diagrams exist to assist people of certain colouring, or Season, in finding clothing colours that are not within their palette.

Examples you might see include,

- True Summer and True Winter – because they’re both very cool

- Dark Winter and Soft Summer, which have a similar relationship as Bright Winter and Light Summer – because all four begin with a cool palette and each pair adds the same amount of the same kind of warmth, Autumn gold and Spring yellow respectively

- Dark Autumn/Bright Spring and Light Spring/Soft Autumn – because if you map the Seasons in a progression around a circle, the same relationship exists between these pairs as the ones above. Both begin with a warm palette and add the same amount of the same type of coolness, Winter’s or Summer’s, respectively

stairway-on-the-beach-1-786532-m

Photo: elussich

 

These generalities are best applied only to certain colours. On the whole, I’m not sure how well they serve outside the theory. I don’t believe in second-best and runner-up Seasons. They don’t exist. Any Season could absorb various colours from various other Seasons quite nicely.

In the examples above, only the heat level is being factored in, placing too much emphasis on it. The other two dimensions matter will matter a lot when the medium-browns are put under the faces. Certain pinks might slide by though.

At least for Dark Winter/Soft Summer, the heat is the same type, Autumn’s. The third example is ignoring the very different kind of heat in Autumn and Spring colours. In many cases, the worst colours for one can be found in the other warm palette. A blue-eyed Dark Autumn can have some similarities with Bright Spring’s appearance, as can the green-gold eyed Bright Spring with Dark Autumn – if they read about them, but not if they wear them. Many of the colours can be weirdly unpleasant on the opposite person.

Even at a tiny level of Autumn, Spring warmth can look like an odd, greasy, abalone shell event on Soft Summer skin. Except the eyes. Eyes are always true. Soft Summer eyes just sit there in this iridescent face looking estranged. It’s as psychologically awkward as when I wear cat eye, glittery sunglasses, to which people react in most uncomfortable (and entertaining, if you like watching that sort of thing to illustrate a point, which I do) ways.

Photo: highland_s

Photo: highland_s

 

Why might broad guidelines only work for some colours but not all the colours? They make an assumption that every person inside a Season will react to every colour in the same way. Not true at all.

Three True Springs would have three different paths through the draping sequence. Not every drape in Test or Luxury is perfect on every person in that group. It is simply the best decision in a constellation of 10 – 15 observations.

To this day, about 300, maybe more, PCAs later, I still take time to write what I learned from each one. I had to see about 12, sometimes 25+ (Bright Winter for instance), of each Season to have trouble coming up with something new. For the Trues, I have seen about 6 of each, so each one is still quite new, not counting True Summer at 19. I will never stop learning from True Seasons.

Why shouldn’t every drape be our best drape? Because there is so much fluidity needed to perfectly repeat the millions of ways in which Nature painted all the people of any given Season. Because every instrument does not play an equal role in a symphony. A thousand reasons that this website has thought about, and many more that it hasn’t.

The natural order of colour

The world is full of concepts that have one meaning in theory and another in practice. As much as humans love to pigeonhole and predict, we live in a massively variable Universe. It might look random and messy. Humans devote large amounts of time to resisting this in favour of rules. We like the security of the restrictions and the ropes.

We understand that the Universe is neither messy or random. It’s infinitely organized, with complexity and levels far beyond anything our rules can capture. What we should be resisting are all the rules. They’re too simplified.

Photo: Ayla87

Photo: Ayla87

 

Amelia  Butler at True Colour Australia posted the series, Tonal Contentment vs Tonal Restlessness, in several parts, here to her blog at Colour and The Human Being. So comprehensively, Amelia takes us back to what the Sci\ART palettes were intended to be and reflects on their application today. Amelia makes many valid and useful points, covering a wide range of colour applications.

There can be much critiquing of PCA philosophy and method. What works for some won’t for others, the difference relating equally to the conscious and unconscious colour persuasions of the person as to their colouring. Some answers should be sought elsewhere.

The Sci\ART 12-Tone system really is the gold standard of human colour analysis, as Amelia says.  Once an analyst has worked with the system, there is not much traffic back the other way. Until an analyst, or anyone, has seen 10 or 20 PCAs, they barely scratch the surface of understanding it. I barely scratch that surface, in the same way that I barely understand how Nature is coloured, and am in awe of both. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know, right?

Perhaps, our Tone is more of an expression of our position and energy equivalence in the natural world. We are inextricably spun with wool from the same spinning wheel as all of Nature. Social conditioning pulls us in the opposite direction.  That’s fine. We live, work, dress, and learn our life lessons in societies. We are barely aware of imposing our social and psychological conditioning on our every decision.

Photo: bradimarte

Photo: bradimarte

 

The Natural world is not Fashion. They have so little meaning and purpose in common. Why did I use up energy trying to overlap them? It was exhausting, like forcing astronomy to be astrology. The harder I tried, the more I realized how different they are. There was no point. Now I’m coming out the other side.

I relax and let each fulfill its purpose. Nature isn’t right or wrong. It just is. We don’t talk about how tree leaves should be a different shade of green to fit the picture better. It is what it is. It follows a natural order. So do the Sci\ART palettes. If you’d like a fashion green sweater in your composition, wear it.

Today, the confidence of experience releases me from defending Kathryn’s colour system any more than I would any image Nature put together, though I used to when I was younger (as I will tell anyone who will listen, it’s because I rationalize and justify everything, including emotion and instinct, being an  Enneagram Type 1).

Enneagrams and watching Sherlock on BBC are my life right now. It might bore you if you knew me. I would try not to talk about it all the time, but then we’d talk about my other favourite topic, The Universe and Our Highest Potential, which brings us right back to E Type 1. How hard is it to hit the Escape key on ourselves? Quite. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. The best way to approach having your colouring analyzed is as a stranger to yourself. The face in the mirror is a woman you don’t know. She’s just a person picked from a crowd. You have no idea about what she likes, what she’s been told, how she’s been hurt, or what makes her feel happiness. Nearly impossible to do.

Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. Like being inside an ascending tunnel, you think you’re repeating and repeating instead of climbing because the walls always look the same. But we do mature, part of which is repeating the same lessons at higher levels. These days, Kathryn’s colour system feels to me like a true witness to how colour is in our world. To my eyes, that is more than enough, and more than enough privilege to bring other people closer to their place in the scheme of it all to last me the rest of my days.

We can look better, shop better, be more true to ourselves, and still find a thousand personal self-expressions without creating any disruptions in the Universe.  But then, we Enneagram Type 1′s who read on this page (under Adaptive Behavioral Schema) learn that…

They have a highly developed and practiced intuition for when someone or something is doing what it is supposed to do. A being is good when it is fully itself and when it is fully doing what it is meant to do.

If you can’t begin with an agreement that Nature provides us with the most perfect colour harmonies inside and around ourselves, and that our dress looks best as a faithful extension of that, well now, it might be best to get other opinions for your clothing colour system. Actually, it’s a good idea to get many opinions on anything.

Photo: sarahjmoon

Photo: sarahjmoon

 

The colours of objects are tightly related to the unifying properties of the light shining on them. You can only get back the wavelengths that you put in. If you put in more reds and yellows and less blues, that’s what’s going to come back. If you put in no light, you get back no colours, like the picture above.

First was the Light, which changed in a regular and predictable way. Then came the objects that developed as they did because they needed something from all the particular Lights. The Lights determined not just how they look but what they are, which energy level they hold. If the Lights had been different, the objects and life forms would have been otherwise. And then evolved the human sense of sight, also customized so perfectly to all the Lights. There might have been other possible anatomies to allow sight, but this is the one that is. And so it was from the beginning, you know?

Finally, came colour analysis. I love it most when it remembers where it began, as the beautiful partnership with Nature’s designs that became possible. Some of the landscapes Rachel is pinning on her 12 Season boards are blowing away anything I could have imagined.  That Dark Winter locomotive image, what a vision Rachel has. The Sci\ART system captivated me 5 years ago and it does so today, tenfold. PCA systems should not be adapted to fashion, just as women’s bodies should not be. That’s a mess on too many levels and can’t hold up to real world use. Start with the way light is, the way sight is, and the way real bodies are made. Build the fashion thing on top of that.

Although it translates completely to fashion, you can step outside it at any time. This is not a limitation of the palette. The palette is an intrinsic center from which you can radiate in beautiful and important expansions of yourself. We gotta start somewhere to sort out some kind of relationship between us and the colour free-for-all at the mall. The Sci\ART system is the one that is most rational to me.

Photo: lilie

Photo: lilie

 

Nature is at once the most soothing and the most re-energizing environment there is. It is a relief from the disharmonies to all five senses to which we are subjected for most of the day. The relief in natural compositions somehow leads to those that also the most exciting.

Could they be even more exciting? Sure. Nature constantly steps outside the colour charts. And yet, every colour is able to dissolve into the image. Artists do it all the time. An addition of outsider of colour can be more happy and auspicious, more evocative, both stimulating and very belonging.

Which brings us back to our topic. How do we add colour flexibility that feels passionate and exciting, but still relevant to the wearer?

The colours we are made of are so beautifully unique to us.  How can we bring that individuality into our self-expression?

Colour Sharing

I think that when color analysts talk about sharing colors, they have to specify whether they are discussing a technical situation, such as a draping, where no amount of colour compromise can be tolerated, or whether they are discussing a shopping or retail situation, where some compromise will have to be acceptable and could even be good.

I also believe that which colours are best borrowed are decided one woman at a time, with her analyst, after a thorough draping. I hope that everyone knows of Terry’s articles outlining the steps in a proper PCA, the latest installment addresses clearing the skin, linked here.

Let me think of some situations:

1. From above, and very common, Dark Winter and Soft Summer. When they shop, Dark Winter could manage some darker Soft Summer clothes. Overall, they would do better shopping in True Summer and staying with medium to dark colours. Pastel lights are not welcomed by Dark Season skin.

A Soft Summer keeps her darkness dusty or her clothes weigh her down. Of all the Summers, Soft will wear Dark Winter colours best, but because the colours are all more intensely pigmented than she is, this person will give some of their power away to their clothing.

2. If an important dimension of colour (hue/value/chroma) is satisfied, certain colors are quite tolerable by more than one group. There are yellows, oranges, and reds that could be worn very well by True Autumn and True Spring. Orange is especially easy, including many browns, brown being dark orange. These colours are inherently warm. From above, True Summer and True Winter could share some pinks and purples, which might appear dark and strong on True Summer and medium on True Winter.

3. The person’s inherent colouring should be considered. A blue-eyed person will be able to wear blue from a few more neighbouring Seasons than a brown-eyed person might. Just coming close to repeating our own colouring is visually effective for connecting us to our clothing.

Even inside a Season, a Bright Spring with cider, amber, and clear orange in the hair and eyes could wear their intense dark yellow much better than a Bright Spring who has silver hair and blue eyes. For the aqua eyed Bright Spring, those yellows might never be more than an occasional stripe in a tie or the thread to sew on some buttons.

Sometimes, Dark Winter has the very same yellows in the eyes as a Dark Autumn, or close enough to be extremely interesting. No Dark Winter will really wear a big block of Anjou pear or chartreuse excitingly, but a small piece of it somewhere near the face can be most intriguing.

Photo: createsima

Photo: createsima

 

4. Exactly which colour is it were discussing? Blue might be easier to share among True and Light Summer than yellow, which less of a meet-you-halfway colour for very cool colourings. The 3 Springs could move yellow around quite easily. It almost dissolves into them, so naturally does it occur. It soaks into the picture and the colours around it adjust it the rest of the way.

You’d think red could move across the Bright and Dark Winter, where it is very successful, red being a core colour for Winter. It can work but not easily. Your best guess at the Season a red belongs in is probably decent. Red has strong identity in our eyes and is reactive against skin. Beige, coral, and turquoise are harder to guess and are less dictatorial next to skin.

Light Spring and Soft Autumn could move some yellows back and forth. The rest of the colours, not so much, not even the neutrals. Lay the opened Soft Autumn fan book on a Light Spring fabric. The neutrals, loosely translated as many of the complexion colours, might turn peculiarly greenish. That’s exactly what that fabric will do to the Light Spring face. Yes, both are warm-neutrals, but they do not appreciate one another’s type of heat or darkness level.

5. It depends where the coloring falls on the Season continuum. Our colouring doesn’t sit on a dot in a clock diagram. It spans a stretch halfway between the neighbours on each side. At least, that’s how it looks on a flat map. Really, it swirls around inside a spherical structure. In a Season, parts of it switch on and interconnect just like in a lit-up brain scan.

We are so used to flat images that we forget how very dimensional our world is. Energy isn’t a wave. Look at the wave end on. It’s a spiral. Hence, that purple snail shell logo at the top. Maybe one day, they’ll find that it’s actually a spiral inside a spiral, a double helix, a Universe at the center of every cell. Very appealing to think about. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Trust me, you are not alone. I’m really quite medium and normal in person :) Really.

A warm Soft Summer and  many a cool Soft Summer could happily wear the cooler greens and blues of Soft Autumn. Their reds and yellows? Not so much. Neutral Seasons can wear some of the neighbour colours of close heat, but not all of them will do them favours.

Photo: tonygillo

Photo: tonygillo

 

6. If Dark Autumn and Bright Spring were to share, how would they do it? If we agree that the size of the color block is large and right under the face, it’s a bit challenging to figure out. They sure wouldn’t crossover in the light or medium darkness colors. There may be some dark forest greens that could work okay but not much more than that that I could see.

7. Where will the colour be worn? Gray and navy are very adaptable colours to begin with, and more so if you situate them in the lower half. If it’s footwear or sunglasses, the viewer implicitly factors in functionality and expects that they may be darker than a scarf would be.

8. Have confidence in your individuality. Enjoy it.  It’s the best part of this whole thing.

9. Where do you want your focal point to be today? Let the statement necklace or the violet purse own the day.

10. Get your lines right. This is quite major. Has anyone seen the pictures of Princess Kate that I pinned recently on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board? In the eyelet dress, colour correct, the image is clumsy. In the yellow dress, probably a Dark Winter yellow, she looks fantastic. The more bits and pieces of the whole are excellent, the more they draw in the rest.

You may remember the question from the reader who felt uncertain with learning that her colouring falls into the True Winter group, and how to reconcile it with the drama that is usually depicted for that group. As if ‘decadent glamour’ is the only kind of glamour or has only one interpretation. Pfff. Limited, limited.

Her question was a great one. Find it in the article, True Winter Sans Drama and A Gentle Dark Autumn. She recently visited Rachel to be draped, confirming True Winter, and for a PIA (Personal Image Analysis). As a Yang Natural, her version of glamour (and we all have one) is not Dynasty, which is the usual TW stereotype.

By expressing True Winter in certain textures and prints, the right cut of pants, belonging shapes and styles in jewelry, the True Winter palette has become a happy home. Snow leopard effects!? On a True Winter Natural woman? That’s so good, it shook up my world when I read it.

In her words,

So, I now finally feel like I know what to wear and what to look for and what to just ignore…it was difficult for me to figure out having a natural style along with TW, but now, I’m finally able to put it all together!

 

Photo: blary54

Photo: blary54

 

Like hair colour, sharing is a colour by colour, person by person, adaptation that a colour analyst can make for each client. All she needs to do is watch how their skin reacts to a variety of measured colours.

I send clients a nutshell digest of their draping experience, how their skin reacted to certain colours, addressing how they fall outside the majority of the written information for the Season, and any particular questions they had. The experience is just too big, too technical, too mentally stimulating, and too emotional to absorb it all and have it available 6 months later. It would be like hoping to recall every word the dentist said about all 32 of your teeth from your check-up last summer. For instance, I sent this little summary recently:

It is very common in all colouring at any age to find that the particular colour in the drapes for their Season is not necessarily their best version of that colour. This is especially so for Bright Winter. As testified by your eye colours, you are lighter and warmer than the average appearance and colour reactions in this group. Many persons of this colouring cannot wear the extremes of the palette till they have fully darkened with maturity, around the age of 30.

When Bright Winter colours were excellent, they were breathtakingly so, an effect no other Season could match in any colour. The usual caution exists for this Winter Season to avoid the blackest black, which will be especially relevant for you. Choose darkest charcoal instead, preferably with a slight sheen if the occasion permits. Dark navy did not have the darkening effect of black – it is common for people with Spring influence to be much more tolerant of ‘colour colours’ than of black (which gets too dark), white (which may be glowy unless right), and gray (which may lack the excitement of colour that you wear so natively).

You were easily able to wear the coolest positions in your Season and the warmest, as long as the colour were light to medium on a darkness scale. For these choices, always choose a Bright Winter colour. If the realities of shopping require some compromise, the darker Bright Spring colours might be the place to borrow.

 

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Hot Weather Colour for Dark Winter

April 2, 2014 by · 12 Comments 

The lighter and brighter colours for Dark Winter are presented today.

Why call the Season Dark? It’s a source of confusion because it so easily gives rise to misinterpretation, almost forcing the idea of a certain appearance.

I’m certainly guilty of using formulas in writing to try to come up with word pictures. Most industries have those “It looks like…”  and “Most…” analogies to help students understand and to share experience.

“Dramatic body types look like a statue.” (my invention)

“Most dogs with slipped discs that can still wag their tail will walk again.”

Yes, of course, some don’t. What’s a teacher to do? People want the learning from real life stories, pictures, and questions, but not theirs, even though theirs are far better than anything I can come up with. We find ourselves speaking in terms of bell curves. There will always be those who fall outside them.

What Really Matters: Do not let stereotypes, formulas, or “You look like a…” anywhere near the analysis process itself.

For the Dark Season colouring, the idea exists that the person has to look dark. Not so. I don’t. I could never get those belief systems to work when I tried to apply them to real people.

That they have to wear all dark colours. No. They could and look better than other types of colouring but who’s going to do that every day and be the best version of themselves? After a week of it, people will start ignoring your clothes for always being the same.

 

Light colours for DA, DW, and TW
Light colours for DA, DW, and TW by christinems featuring a semi sheer blouse

 

So why call them Dark?

It has to be called something. Dark, Bright, Light, etc, are historical terms in the PCA industry, dating back to I know not when or whom.

Should we change the word? No, I propose that we change the definition instead. Take the word Season. One could say that it’s outdated and not self-explanatory. Maybe, but it is recognizable in the natural world, short, spell-able, search-able, familiar, understandable (which does the public understand more correctly about a colour, ‘value’ or ‘darkness’?) and lots of other good things. We just need to take its meaning as ‘group of  natural colouring’. There won’t be one single perfect in every way terminology. Much more needs doing than re-inventing a wheel.

For Dark, Bright, etc., I make an argument in this way: I am of the belief that we cannot know which of the 3 dimensions of colour (light/dark, warm/cool, soft/bright) will matter the most on a person’s colouring merely by looking at them. There is no medium-medium-medium person. There will be 2 dimensions that are medium, or close, and 1 that will be more High/Low. Because we cannot judge the heat level or saturation of other people, we over-emphasize the importance of their darkness. Or else, we merge darkness level with saturation, since, when we imagine a saturated colour, we also tend to darken it. All persons must be draped, but even with excellent drapes, it can be difficult.

All of our faces are in perfect colour equilibrium by Nature. We see this perfectly tuned balance in every person and since nothing looks out of place, we assume that everything is medium. This is why folks are mystified when they’ve been analyzed as a Soft Summer and a Bright Winter. How could that be? Aren’t they opposites? Just because they lie opposite one another on a colour clock graphic doesn’t mean that they’re opposite. Those clocks are like a map.  Are Vancouver and Montreal opposite? Yes and no. Depends what the question is asking. Both cities are the same for being Canadian. Soft Summer and Bright Winter faces are the same for being as perfectly balanced as every face is.

Even speaking theoretically, they’re not opposite. In fact, they have some dimensions in opposition and some very similar when the colours are measured. Both are cool neutrals and both are medium-dark. That’s a big amount of similarity. Where they differ is saturation, the hardest one to judge. But you must know how to measure, and how to measure the 3 dimensions independently because that’s how they are set in our colouring. The 3 don’t go up or down together.

On a Dark Season, the High/Low is value of colour. On the Low value side, when a colour is darker, whether its warmth and brightness drift a little up and down doesn’t matter too much. The harmonic correlation remains quite agreeable as long as colour is dark. Value is the thing about them that is not medium.  In True Summer drapes, a Dark Winter can be truly weak until the colour becomes darker. Then the skin gets along. It finds a little muting that it likes, a trace of warmth (compared to True Winter) that feels right, and its beloved darkness. We see this again as we progress through the darkness levels of the Red Drapes. They never get too dark.

The opposite is true too. On the High value side, when a colour is light, it’s either right or the person is a washout.  It can be hard to read the lightest level of Red Drapes because the skin says, “Meh, meh, and meh.” since none of the colours belongs to Dark Winter in that set of drapes.  An analyst who knows how to read the Red Drapes, which are very different in their interpretation than the other drapes, gets along just fine.

Could a person be medium-high-high on the 3 colour scales? I’ve seen fabric would be close. Humans are not coloured with the same pigments as textiles so I don’t know if the same rules apply. Nature is a chemistry set of unlimited possibility and I’m certain that these people exist. I also do not  know if human pigment genetics must follow the rules of Munsell (or any) colour space, which are human constructs – but they’re human constructs about colour relationships where certain rules always apply. Blue does get darker as it gets more saturated.

Anyhow, I do know that in science and in PCA, how it looks is not data. If it were, the Earth would still be flat. We must measure something and know how to read our rulers.

 

Light colour for DW 1
Light colour for DW 1 by christinems featuring button down tops

 

 

A Dark Autumn asked,

I seem to always wear the colours from the light to center sections of  my fan. I don’t understand why the darkest of the Dark Autumn colors, especially the purples, seem to drain me.

 

Some suggestions:

If the dark colours being chosen are a bit too blue, which happens easily with purple, this will make shadows darker. We all have a native, normal shadow colour. If it’s distorted, as by making it too blue, the effect will not be flattering.

If the dark colours being chosen are less saturated than the lighter colours being worn, the darks might not be preferred, despite being a Dark Season. Depending on the person, Dark Autumn will not have the best quality of complexion in True Autumn saturation. With 2 dimensions (value and saturation) that can be on or off, the mix and match possibilities of what’s really the problem are bigger.

Lightness and clarity can appear to add some lift in many women, which is why so many of them get put into Spring. An untrained eye might see this and forget to take into account all the other factors.

Most of us tend to wear colours from the center of the fan. They’re easiest to be aware of. If your eyes are used to seeing you in these, they may have trouble making an objective assessment of darker colours.

If pre-PCA, you believed yourself to be a lighter Season, it may take time to become accustomed to the power of the darkness (no puns of any sort). Darkness resonates strongly here. It sends a special  message on this colouring more than any other. Amazing how long it takes to fully step into and claim our own power. We find all sorts of reasons why it shouldn’t be so.

 

Light Colour for DW 2
Light Colour for DW 2 by christinems featuring scoop neck tops

 

A Dark Winter asked,

I would love to see a post on using the cool, heavy, regal colors in a climate that’s melting with heat and humidity.

 

Dark Winter is like True Winter but a little warmer and duller, but not as much as if it were done in newsprint. To me, it looks more warmer than duller, but I’m no better at judging these little increments than anyone else.

There are a lot of neutrals in these Polyvores, because I like them on this colouring. I find them great in summer and to offset the ‘colour colours’, and far more interesting against summer backgrounds than winter backgrounds. The contrast between summertime and the “heavy and regal” is even more pronounced, which feels a little exciting.

Remember that we haven’t accessorized anything yet. Shoes, bags, jewelry can all add as much or as little colour as you like.

Many skirts and dresses. Colours and prints feel better here than in pants. I’m not a purple pants person, though anybody could be, especially a Gamine. White pants, ditto. Jacqueline Kennedy had white Capris that were good with her black T-shirt, huge glasses, and scarf.

The overall darkness level is up to you. My eyes prefer an overall medium to dark totality over an all light one. The coral dress in 4 below is as light as I’d go for an head to toe level (picture it on a B&W TV). The light pants and colour-blocked gray top in the bottom left of 4 is too light. The  model wears it well enough but I doubt that her native darkness level is that of Dark Winter. Nor do I think her inherent heat level is of the same type, level, or both, as Dark Winter.

When we train a colour analyst, the student learns to look at the image in the mirror in terms of 3 distinct dimensions. You could try this too. Don’t compare an person and their clothing and think in terms of Seasons. It’s way too convoluted. Think, “Would I adjust the darkness?”, “Does the warmth level feel like a match?”, and “How do I feel about the clarity?” as 3 separate questions.

The navy and dark brown in the 12-Tone palette are near black, fine colours but not a first choice in high humidity. I’m very partial to the dark tobacco colour as a neutral, even in hot weather, maybe because it’s jungly. Love it with yellow as the dress and the skort/tank set in 4 below.

 

Light Colour for DW3

Light Colour for DW3 by christinems featuring diane von furstenberg dresses

 

How much colour?

Up to you.

The blue/yellow/pink dress at the bottom left of 5 feels pretty good. I’m not sure it would be DW but it could be.

The strapless blue dress on the left side may be True Winter. Some Dark Winters are a little cooler. The graying and darkness of the skirt section help, compared to the entire dress being made of the bodice fabric.

At the center top of 5, the sleeveless top with tie might be Soft Summer. It’s dark enough, but dark and dusty, whereas a Winter is dark and saturated. Won’t matter. Dark Winter skin has a lot in common with Soft Summer. The contrast in the skort is Winter or close enough, and the top will balance Winter accessories. Some Dark Winters are a little softer.

 

Light Colour for DW 4
Light Colour for DW 4 by christinems featuring a blue strapless dress

 

For The Office

Below, a few work outfits. In warm climates, people can’t possibly wear all black to work to work, can they? If I lived in a warm place, I bet I’d wear more shine in fabric.

The flowered skirt is interesting. It shows how similar Dark Winter and True Summer are, but when an item goes to black, the True Summer person will lose energy. I pondered whether it was True Summer, in which case the black would be too strong next to the other colours, but I find it pretty well balanced. The black is in smaller areas – a nice way for the Darks and Brights to get black in their wardrobe without being overtaken by it.

 

Light Colour for DW 5
Light Colour for DW 5 by christinems featuring a peacock blouse

 

Introducing Colour Analyst Anette Henriksen

March 23, 2014 by · 15 Comments 

Today, it is my honour to introduce to you a very beautiful person. When we met last year, Anette already had a great knowledge of the history of colour analysis and many of the methods that have been used. With meticulous training and drapes of uncompromising accuracy, Anette will bring her intelligence and experience to the European client. You met Anette briefly in the article by Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky, Sharing A Colour Journey. To perform your colour analysis, you will find a woman of great compassion, kindness, practicality, and generosity. I love my time with her because she is openly committed to making the choices that bring joy into her life and to sharing that energy with others.

 

Anette1

 

In Anette’s own words,

In September 2013, I finally had the opportunity to travel to Canada to become certified by Christine as a 12 Blueprints Colour Consultant.

I have been interested in colour analysis for a long time. In 2009, I traveled to London U.K. to be certified as a Colour Me Beautiful (CMB) consultant. I thought it was the best colour system in Europe at that time,  the company is well known and has existed for a long time, so a safe choice for me and their drapes are beautiful colours.

After a while I started to feel, that something was not quite right for me. It was too difficult for me to work with the system, because I was missing a plan of action to go from A to B.

After seaching and reading all I could on the internet for answers, I ended up finding the Sci\ART 12 Tone system. I could not let go of that approach, as it seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

Turning to Christine for a second colour education was the best thing I could do. All my questions were answered and the right tools to get the most accurate results were given to me, which was my biggest concern in CMB.

The one thing that surprised me the most in all this and which I was not prepared for, was the fact that I was NOT a Bright Spring, which I had lived as in many years. I turned out to be a Dark Autumn in the 12 Tone System.

I am still struggling a little bit, but it is getting better every day and I am starting to see myself from a whole new perspective. Very odd, how easy it is to see others colouring, but not oneself, even after education ! Also very exciting and I have learned a lot about personal colouring and the beauty in yourself when your true colours are found. Even though I have lived as a Bright Spring, I now see that I actually had a lot of Dark Autumn clothes.

So why, do/did I have a hard time letting Bright Spring clothes go ? I think, it is because I want to stay young and fresh to look at (I am soon 50 years old) and my personality also feels very alive and optimistic. I do want people to “notice” me. I am not the kind of girl hiding behind my clothes, my car has always been bright red, and my home is full of bright colours. I think, that is mainly one of the reasons, why I wanted to be a Bright Spring.

Here are two photos. In the top one, I am wearing a Bright Spring blue jacket. In the second one, I wear a Dark Autumn colour.

 

Anette2

 

Anette3a

 

My own journey is the best example of why I love personal colour analysis. It can have a very strong influence in changing a person’s feeling about themselves for the better. People become more self-confident. I love to know that I can help them buy clothing and make-up more wisely. That is a really great thing.Why would we waste our hard earned money on something that is not our very best ?

My mission and hope for the people I drape are to help them discover the beauty they already contain. Every person can make this gorgeous aspect shine to their own advantage by using their best unique palette of colours.

An accurate colour analysis is as good and useful to a person as the struggle of a misjudged analysis is hard and difficult. I have seen this many times reading the colour groups on facebook. It makes me very sad.

I want to do whatever I can to find your true/correct homebase/season. I will not compromise on the time to get there together with you. If we have to use more than 2-3 hours to narrow down the right conclusion, we do.

Of course I can not promise you to be 100 % correct for the rest of my life doing this. Every human being can make mistakes (and they will), but I can assure you, that the Test and Luxury Drapes (I own both) from 12 Blueprints are calibrated and very accurate. This is very important, together with using Full Spectrum lighting, to get to the correct final result.

One thing I have learned over the years about colour analysis is that this is not always easy. Every human being is unique. But it can be life changing and that is the reason why I found this so compelling, exciting and fascinating. I knew that it had to be a part of my life !

 

Anette4

 

To share some of my background, for the last 14 years, I have had a professional career as a Medical Representative with a large drug and wellness company (Novartis Healthcare), visiting doctors with all kinds of medical products. Although this has been a lot of fun, I feel my time has come for new opportunities. I hope to be able to combine it with my colour business, where my real passions lies!

If you would like me to help you, we will work together as a team. I would be happy to invite you to my home in Bramming (Denmark), where I live with my husband (Steffen) and three children (Martin, Louise and Mette).

I have a nice colour studio in my home (in a separate room), where I will drape you. Over the years I have invested in a lot of colour equipment from all 12 big posters from True Colour Australia to differents kinds of colour wheels and colour palettes.

It may become an option for me to travel in Europa to bring you the method I have learned. It will depend on whether there is interest. I have begun a travel request file. If you would like for my business to visit your city, please send an email at the contact info below. Once there is enough interest, I will begin planning the visit.

If you want to, you can also travel by train or plane to see me and you can stay one night in our house, it is all up to you !

Yours sincerely,

Anette

AnetteLogo

 

Contact info:

Anette Henriksen

Bøgely 29

6740 Bramming

Denmark

Phone: +45 75101347

Cell: + 45 27851125

Email: anettehenriksen@outlook.dk

Website: (coming soon)

 

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Finding Best Cosmetic Colours for Your Season

January 5, 2014 by · 9 Comments 

The article , Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book, talked about the most effective way that I know of matching the colours in your palette. (Edit – about the link not working, very sorry, I fixed it twice and it’s working on my machine but nobody else’s. Here is a new link. Also the link to paste into your browser: http://12blueprints.com/getting-more-from-your-12-tone-swatch-book/)

Terry discovered it. Together, I think we’ve made it into an absolute art form, still recognizing that there may yet be a better way.

Your palette or swatch book is a diagram of the colours in your body separated individually. It’s the board the artist dipped her paintbrush in when she filled in the lines of the sculpture of you. Which is a beautiful concept, IMO.

In the same way that, when I look at you, I don’t see only your eyes or only your mouth, neither do I see only your blues or only your reds. I see everything all at once. Your pinks are not stronger than your greens. When the swatch book is fanned out, no colour is more prominent or more vanishing. Our attention is divided equally.

Looking at a painting with a more prominent colour block – that colour grabs our attention and won’t let go; that block seems to get bigger in our awareness. Black is not slimming on everyone.

Great makeup elevates the composition of your face like it’s been there from the start. Each colour enhances the woman and the rest of the makeup. Wonderful blush intensifies eye colour. Lipstick clears dullness out of skin. Foundation alone should strengthen eye colour. Eyeshadow and lipstick are beautiful together.

When I see you wearing a blouse, I see all of you in that blouse, all the colours in you together with the blouse, hopefully bringing out the best and most in each other. I don’t see only your purples matching the purple of the blouse. Trying to match a blue blouse to one blue dot or square of the swatch book will make a less-than-best choice most of the time.

For one thing, our eyes are not that good at matching colours from single, small samples. Our brains are not good at all at recalling colour accurately. We think we’re good at both but the fact is, we’re not.

Besides, we have many more colours than what’s in those books. iPods came along so you didn’t have to carry around 30,000 CDs. Until we get you the iPod version of your palette, you need a way to figure out all those other colours that either didn’t fit into the swatch book for lack of space or would have looked too similar to other colours to tell apart.

Secondly, the Season concept is holistic. It’s all of you at the same time. Not the blues in this shirt on Tuesday and the reds in your lips on Saturday. All the colours in your swatch book are together for a reason. The Reason for the Season is You.

The reason is your DNA. Applying colour theory to the measurement of human colouring results in 65 connected colours, just as your blues and your reds are strongly united in you by genetic inheritance. What begins our genes and the pigments they code, carries through until we’re dressed and painted.  As the visual manifestation of our DNA, we send out energy signals that others translate as beauty and harmony.

When you match a blouse to your swatch book, match the whole swatch book. That’s how we’re going to be looking at you in the shirt. Lay the open book on the shirt. Does one drain energy? Are they even? The  matching article linked at the beginnning outlines the rest.

The lipstick below next to the swatch book. How does it feel? Because that’s exactly how it’s going to feel on the face that contains those colours.

Cosmetic match 1

 

Cosmetics, like clothes, should be matched to the entire palette. Our eyes can’t match single swatches to cosmetics accurately. Between any 2 or 3 Seasons, there may be colours that appear similar if viewed individually.

They’re not similar when comparing the entire Seasons. If I transplanted a peachy orange from a Bright Winter swatch book into a Light Spring book, where there are many peachy pinks, I guarantee you’d see it. It would be the only thing you’d see, in the Light Spring book and on the Light Spring face.

Matching makeup to the whole palette works for eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, anything. I think it’s easier than matching clothing. It’s not just me, student analysts pick it up very fast and can place any cosmetic colour within a single Season. In our last analyst training course, a student had swatched one of those “lipsticks that match every woman”. We found that it matched nobody.

Smear or draw a fairly thick application on white paper in about a 2×2 inch area. Use more than you’d ever apply to the face. If a colour is right, it will belong perfectly on the face.

Hold the swatch book alongside the makeup. Anchor the bottom page with one hand. With the other hand, flip through book slowly, opening it up enough that you can see all the swatches. Watch from the side.

Cosmetic match 2

 

Do the makeup and swatches have your attention equally?

Are you looking at one more? If  yes, you will be IRL too.

Go even slower when you come to the most similar shades. Do they belong together? Are they truly beautiful, surprisingly so, even inspiring somehow, making you want to pause and look a little longer?

In analyst training situations, we are learning to place a colour in one Season so that analysts can recommend beautiful makeup to their clients. As always always always in colour analysis, you never cancel one till you have a Better-than. Once you think you have the best choice, be sure you’ve compared it to its neighbour Seasons. A colour analyst is always comparing. As Terry has said, “Compare everything to everything.”

The matching images in this article are all with Bright Winter. To make your decisions, you’d have to try Bright Spring for sure. And then you’d say, “Fine, but I don’t own a Bright Spring swatch book.” You don’t really have to unless you’re a colour analyst. If you’re a Bright Winter woman, you only have to decide if you would wear this lipstick, not who would wear it better. I do believe that owning the swatch books for one’s neighbour Seasons can be very valuable, just to have something to compare with.

Whether the identical colour is there or not is irrelevant, as it is with matching clothing, as it is with my drapes. That’s paying attention to the wrong thing. Back up. Bird’s eye view. Telescope not microscope. How does the whole thing look as one composition?

Cosmetic Match 3

 

This is Cover Girl 415 Siren with a Bright Winter swatch book (original Sci/ART). Here’s my read of this colour for this type of natural colouring:

  • Feels fine. This woman (the swatch book) could wear this colour nicely.
  • The pigment purity is good. The lipstick doesn’t look faded or dingy on this face. The dots are not overwhelming the lipstick. Neither are the dots looking weaker, where the only thing we’d see is the lipstick on this face.
  • The lipstick is a bit warmer (yellower) than the dots but that’s not necessarily bad. The type of heat is consistent with this palette. It’s pretty good with the center red dot. I like the blues with this lipstick. (The colours in these photos have been adjusted slightly.)
  • I would like this lip colour with these colour elements in a print.

Rachel, a recent student whom you’ll meet formally very soon, noticed recently at this line of lipstick holds its colour and saturation when swatched extremely well. Many brands fade and become truly muted. Do they do that on a face? I’m not sure but I’d bet yes to some extent. Another thing to make note of when you swatch on paper, especially if you’re a high saturation Season, and especially a Bright where colour purity is paramount. Does the colour look the same in 3 hours as when you first drew it?

Notice the PinIt button in the lower photo. My new obsession. If anyone uses the button, please do LMK if it doesn’t work. I’m just figuring this out.

My excellent web support, Rick, is adding a detail showing latest Pins in the right sidebar.

If you have a look at the Seasons And Styles board, you can see items chosen  for their colouring and receive direction from Rachel about which sculptures (Style Types) wear the designs most beautifully. Feel free to ask questions. You can be as impressed with how very smart and knowledgeable Rachel is as I am.


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Bright Winter Q and A

November 29, 2013 by · 19 Comments 

I seem to be in a groove of seeing so many Bright Winters lately that I figure I’m still supposed to write about it.

The reaction a person has to learning that their natural colouring falls into the Bright Winter group is either delight or despair. Seldom is there anything in between. The reason for most Season misgivings comes from misunderstanding the colours or the analysis process.

Some of the information below may be hard to imagine. It’s the only way I know to explain it. (Analyst who were trained by me will receive the discussion below soon in their Review Topics documents – and it will be even more technical.)

Here some come concerns Bright Winters may have:

Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look too blue in some of the Bright Winter drapes?

Short A: Because you’re warmer than the drape.

Long A: Depending on the person, this type of colouring is extremely finely adjusted and very sensitive to excessive darkness, redness, and or blueness. Some people handle the blue very well, almost as cool as True Winter can handle, but they become gaunt in black. Others can develop red spots in the cheeks, like a feverish face, in too much blue-red influence but they have no problem with darkness.

To match the exact coolness level of every Bright Winter, the analyst would need approximately 4 blue drapes. And then 4 reds, 4 greens. And then repeat that for all the possible tolerances to hue, value, and chroma of every person in all 12 Seasons. Not reasonable.

Also not necessary. The analyst with a comprehensive understanding of the analysis process is prepared to choose the Season because it’s better than the others, not necessarily it’s the best possible choice of this colour on this person. The client shouldn’t expect every Bright Winter drape to be perfection on every Bright Winter face. You find yourself inside your correct colour parameters. Sometimes, an analyst’s decision feels like a compromise and doesn’t make sense, but it’s still the best and correct decision of the comparison.

I am a Dark Winter.

I need makeup to wear black. Makes sense, black is only automatic on True Winter.

I can wear some medium and dark True Summer colour. Makes sense, True Summer is a little warmer and more muted than True Winter. So is Dark Winter.

True Spring colours clear my eyes better than True Autumn, if the two are being compared. Makes sense, Winter is looking for more clarity than Autumn provides.

I love and can wear Dark Autumn dark colours. Makes sense, I’m more warm and muted than many Dark Winters and darker colours are pretty easy on Dark Seasons.

None of that makes me a Spring, Summer, or Autumn.

If all people were exactly the same within one Season, then all the women of that Season could wear exactly the same lipsticks equally. Not the truth at all. My perfect lipstick colour is dull and disappearing on a cooler, clearer Dark Winter. There are ranges inside each Season. If the information clues were picked up along the analysis path, the right decision will be made at the end. The analyst doesn’t need to have my perfect Dark Winter blue drape in her set to know I am a Dark Winter. There might be versions of blue that I would wear a lot better than the blue drape she might have, but she learned my face, did her comparisons, knew what to look for and how to interpret it. A Season decision is a moving target until the very last comparison.

The Test Drapes are special. They’re measuring and comparing. Don’t look for home in them. Don’t expect to be finally and ultimately perfected. You need only be better than in any other. The same exquisite tolerance to colour parameters happens in all Seasons, but because Winter’s scale is so big and this colouring quite delicate, the disparity gets noticed more.

The public might not always understand. Don’t pay too much attention to the chat room group. They can’t know how it works because they’ve never been shown. All they see is the end result. One appendectomy can look like another if all you see are the people 3 weeks later. What happened in between may be wildly different. One person might never have had appendicitis in the first place. One might finally get rid of abdominal pain that’s haunted her for months. Another might be sure the surgeon made a mistake, but the fact is that sutures are more irritating to her tissues than the average while the surgical technique was exemplary. Her chat room group wouldn’t know any of that, but they’d make judgments and give opinions anyhow in an effort to support her.

 

Photo: helen25

Photo: helen25

clear water, close to white, more icy (Winter)

 

Q: Why is the bottom half of the face so darkened by black if I am Winter?

Short A: This is a WAY lighter Winter. Even True Winter isn’t all that dark. There are many blonde and light-brown haired True Winters with light eyes. Many.

Long A: Nothing applies to everybody. Some Bright Winters, even blonde haired, blue-eyed persons, are fine with darkness. Others who might be darker to look at will have a definite upper limit for darkness. Some can manage strong darkness in blue or green, but begin having detracting optical effects in the appearance at medium gray. Some are fine with shiny black, as long as True Winter blue is extracted, but are not good in matte black. Texture matters to a composition as much as line and colour do; therefore, texture matters in personal colour analysis (PCA).

The only more ghoulish Goth than Bright Winter would be the Light, True, and Bright Spring. All four types of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, look light, bright, and clean. What about that sounds Goth? They conflict with the dark, depressing, serious Goth look – OTOH, maybe Goth are supposed to look compromised. Glowing and Goth doesn’t match. Bright Seasons are glowy. That’s how their skin reflects light. They look too healthy and vital for Gothness.

From the document that I send my clients:

Bright Winter epitomizes the sugar frosting of snow and sunlight. The innocent fairy tale character could wear shimmery violet-pink eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss, adding even more crispness and show biz with near black eyeliner and big lashes.

Many Bright Winters are blonde and blue-eyed, with a feeling of girl-next-door, like the stereotypic Light Summer, except for the strong, clear, sparking eyes. Other lighter Bright Winters look Scandinavian/Nordic Ice Princess. Although some Bright Springs have the coolness that feels like royal distance, most are more informal, bubbly, chatty, rounded in their edges, and natural in their energy.

Photo: quil

Photo: quil

more pigment, more gray, closer to pastel (more Summer) – where does icy end and pastel begin?

 

Q: So Christine, you’re saying that all Brights can always take any level of saturation?

Short A: There is no Always, Must, Should, or Never in human colouring.

Long A: Textiles can be saturated beyond what you’d find in a human being. There are colours that will overwhelm even a Bright. I am saying that on a comparative scale of humans, Brights are most harmonized and flattered in the purest pigments.

Photo: noohoo

Photo: noohoo

icy grays made of B&W (Winter eyes)

 

Q: What if you said I’m a Bright Winter, which still I don’t believe BTW, and I look really dark?

 Short A: Then you are a Bright Winter who looks dark.

Long A: In the colour analyst training course, my students and I spend our first morning proving to ourselves that our eyes are rather clueless about looking at paint chips and knowing their colour dimensions. I guess we could see which is lighter between 2 colours of equal saturation. Change the saturation setting of one paint chip and we lose it. We guess wrong. If we can’t guess a paint chip, how much harder must it be to gauge a human face just by looking. You need a way to measure, a.k.a. drapes.

You look dark, fine. Your most important colour attribute is still that your pigmentation is very clean and clear. You are more clear than you are dark, but no rule says you can’t be both to some degree. It’s knowing the amount of each one relative to the other that’s tricky.

Photo:  mishel_sun

Photo: mishel_sun

pastel means more pigment + more gray (Summer eyes) – where’s the dividing line between icy and pastel? is there one?

 

Q: I read RTYNC and Bright Winter felt too zingy. I’m not electric and flashy.

Short A: You can’t see yourself. Compared to a range of other humans, your colouring feels more electric than a foggy day would. I was trying to make a comparison. Who do you know who looks foggy?

Long A: Ignore RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). I can’t write the sequel because I created what the colour world needed least, 12 more stereotypes. Back then, I knew half what I know today. Maybe there’s another book taking shape that describes the real world better, the enormous variety, how people of the same Season can look incredibly different.

Why write about Seasons at all? Because it’s fun and interesting for us humans to look at one another and see all the possibilities. The stereotypes are like your horoscope. Kathryn Kalisz (founder of the Sci\ART system of PCA) also wrote about how people in the Seasons can look. I asked her once what Season someone was. She laughed and said in the most cheerful voice, “I have absolutely no idea! Until they’re in my chair.”

That book was only intended to help you see who you’re not, give a sense of how those colour energies made me feel so you could ask yourself the same thing, and give you 12 approximate palettes to make comparisons so you don’t have to own 12 swatch books. It got used too literally. The disclaimer at the front says that you will not be able to find yourself accurately, or at all. Should have been in big red print.

 

Photo: robertovm

Photo: robertovm

SO CUTE!!!

 

The Light Summer to Bright Winter Spectrum

This picture of Julianne Hough (said “huff”) came my way. It reminded me of a friend.

After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the face is like an exaggerated Reese Witherspoon.

Thing is, Julianne can do this. Is the dress wearing her? Is the makeup stronger than she is? By a lot or a little? If the hair were deeper, would she balance the other colours better? The balance is a little off but it’s hard to know what needs fixing and what doesn’t. Too many unpredictable variables. Just like draping a face. Reese were done like this, would the balance be off by less or by more?

Julianne looks to be in that girl-next-door Bright Winter to Light Summer spectrum. Except the eyes. Those eyes are crystal clear. Who knows what her natural hair colour is? From the gallery of images, I see that too yellow hair makes her face too yellow. Too light hair makes her face look puffed with flour. If you think of Bill Gates as average Light Summer colouring, those eyes would be wild in his face.

Reese seems to me a Light Summer. This makes sense. Winter is like an exaggerated Summer. The Warm Seasons are different. Autumn is not a continuation of Spring. It’s a whole different type of warmth. In a Season circle or progression, I would not Spring and Autumn side by side; I’d put them opposite one another.

 

Photo: J-Stuart

Photo: J-Stuart

the blue – too much pigment for icy; too pure pigment for pastel > probably not strong Winter or Summer ; we see this colour in Bright Spring eyes

 

Q: If Winter is an exaggerated Summer, why not have a Season in between? Like a continuation between Light Summer and Bright Winter, or True Summer and True Winter?

Short A: You’d get no new colours that weren’t already spoken for in one of the Seasons. I see the brilliance of the Sci\ART method of PCA, a genius that I am more in awe of with each client, as 12 stand alone groups. It makes their unique radiances strong and distinct. Smudging them into one another would dilute that and make analysis decisions much harder. Can a client blur them into each other? Absolutely.

Long A: Because real people don’t drape in between Summer and Winter to my eyes, though other analysts that I respect gigantically might not agree. A Soft Summer still looks better in Summer drapes, just a little weak. A Dark Winter still does better in Winter drapes overall if you know what to look for.

Also, making a cool Season overlap into a cool Season is in contradiction with the physics of light. That’s not how sunlight illuminates objects on our planet as interpreted by our eyes and brains.

Would the Bright Winter person look better True Winter’s drapes than True Summer’s drapes? Not always that easy. The light Bright Winter person’s face loves the lightness of Summer.

We can’t look at faces and know if they’re lighter than saturated, more cool than light, more saturated than warm, etc. Our eyes are not capable. We have to put a quantitative measuring system in between. Those are the drapes. Even then, in the early part of the analysis, all the features don’t behave the same way. That only happens at the end.

You will be wildly surprised at what your eyes will see happen with the drapes. The rug will get yanked out from under the feet of what you think Seasons have to look like. There are a lot of technical reasons for decision-making that Terry Wildfong and I train our students in carefully and thoroughly because we measure many markers at once in each face, with each new colour change.

The analyst evaluates many markers, related to line, colour, and texture, and makes a better-than choice. The markers will not be the same in every face. A Dark Winter man may wear Bright Winter saturation fairly well if his colouring is intense, but his face might look very oily. Another Dark Winter  man will lose eye energy in Bright Winter drapes but the complexion reflects light much the same between the two. We take a lot of time to learn every face because each reacts to colour in a unique and individual way.

And it can still be very difficult. At this point in my career, although I retain near dismay for how complex a PCA can be, I’m usually pretty confident in my Season decision. I saw a woman recently. We went between Bright and Dark Winter. Back and forth, back and forth. Test Drapes, Luxury Drapes, makeup, back and forth, back and forth. In the end, I decided on Bright for a selection of reasons. Not just one reason. Many reasons, which I itemized in the documents I sent her. All the analyst can say sometimes is, “This is how I saw you today. And this why.”

Was I correct? I hope so. Was she so difficult because she was extraordinarily beautiful, like trying to make a child look bad? Was it because she was of darker complexion? I’ve invited her back to model for a training course because I need fresh eyes, a different day, and some outside opinions. Some puzzles are more enigmatic.

Sometimes, facial features are very tough to prioritize. We see good and bad things in 2 Seasons in most every comparison until we’re at or near the end. This is normal and expected.

Photo: idigital

Photo: idigital

many a Dark Season eye

 

Students ask,

Q: Which observation is most important?

Short A: Depends. Every face is different.

Long A: There’s no such thing as most important. Your eyes are not more important than your mouth. A jaundiced face isn’t more important than an unfocused face. It’s the totality of a face. The answer would be different for every client. Even a well-trained or very experienced analyst can be perplexed.

If a client is much more comfortable in one Season, the best decision might be to have them wear it for a while. Throw out nothing. Buy a gloss and a few inexpensive T-shirts. Adjust the hair colour. In a few months, have another draping.

 

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Different PCA Systems, Different Results

October 14, 2013 by · 290 Comments 

A  note before we start.

Personal Luxury Drapes

Buried in a lot of facts and numbers in the last article was a feature that I wanted to be sure everyone noticed.

Remember those Luxury Drapes that included your most beautiful colours, that you watched at the end of your 12 Tone  (12 Season, Sci\ART) Personal Colour Analysis (PCA)? You can now own your very own set.

The article with more information is linked here. Scroll down about 3/4 of the page, just after the picture of the blue and aqua waves.

 

Photo: briercrest

Photo: briercrest

 

How Can PCA Results Differ So?

Let’s talk about an issue that I’m e-mailed about over and over.

A woman has been analyzed by many systems. Could be North American or European. Could be recent or over 15 years. Could have been with a Sci\ART based analyst like me or not. In person and online.

Her colouring has been analyzed by eye, matching coloured cards and fabrics to form a colour booklet. She’s been draped in 20 minutes and in 2 hours, with fabrics pieces, large and small. One company matched her colouring to paint chips from which a computer generated a palette. Some considered skin alone, some hair and eye colour. All of this in 4 Seasons, 12, and 16.

Most of the time, drapes came out with one set of results, often fairly close (say, Light Spring, Light Summer, and Soft Summer), but not necessarily. Could be all over the map. Matching by eye and computer came out with quite different results (perhaps, Soft Autumn, Autumn/Spring blends, and a Bright Spring, or a mix of the 3), sometimes close, sometimes quite disparate.

She is confused enough that to sign up for one analysis after another and find less satisfaction and closure each time.

Before you read any further – though I haven’t studied the fundamental belief behind all these systems, it appears as if they agree that people look best when they wear the colours their bodies contain. If you disagree with that premise, you’re barking up a whole different image consultant tree that I can’t even advise about. The following applied to the folks who believe our body colours are our most flattering clothing/hair/cosmetic colours.

 

Photo: gul791

Photo: gul791

 

If You’re on The Draping Side

To follow me,

(which I say in that way NOT because I invented the system I use, I didn’t, Kathryn Kalisz did, probably modeled on previous systems in existence, but because I can’t guarantee that all Sci\ART-based analysts reading this would agree with me and I would not presume to speak for the group,)

you have to buy into some central beliefs about human colouring and its analysis.

First is that we have A hue, A value range, and A chroma setting. ONE of each H, V, and C. Every pigment governed by our personal genetic code respects these settings. They apply to every colour we contain, all the blues, greens, oranges, pinks, every one of the thousands of colours in us. They do not deviate very much from their setting. Each of the 12 HVC-based colour palettes holds to its particular settings and does not deviate very much either.

Second. I do not believe that human vision is well set up to understand colours just by looking. Certainly not static isolated colour. It’s just how we are. There’s no point arguing it, any more than disputing that we see cool, muted colour as distance and hear high notes as youth. Human eyes misjudge HVC in swatches let alone the complexity of a face.

What Lauren* said is so clever:

What you see when you look at me is not what makes me, Lauren.

Right on.

I believe that we are especially limited in our colour perception when it comes to the colours of our body. With David Zyla’s Color Your Style: How To Wear Your True Colors, I could not figure out my finger or vein colour. Wore myself out, as one of my favorite women said. Some might get it but I didn’t know jade from teal, and were the veins slightly purple?

I could get it when I laid my swatch book alongside the body part. Then, it lit right up. Was that wrong or right? No idea. Couldn’t do the finger pinch test even with the swatches. I did love his application of the colours, his individualized usage, and his artistic imagination. I loved that he disbelieves so many of the crazy myths about PCA. I agreed with so many of his words and ideas.

Maybe I have to use drapes because I’m so poor at judging human colouring or they’re just what I’m used to. I can look at someone in whatever their hair, clothes, and makeup is and I can’t find their true colours. All I can usually tell is that something’s off. I could then start adjusting them in my mind. Darken the hair, brighten the lip. Darken the hair, leave the lip, warm up the shirt. Leave the hair, cool the foundation, cool the shirt, and lighten the mascara. It could go on for days, with no answer at the end. Being impatient, I pull out the drapes. Grant me the serenity to know what I can change.

What we are extremely adapted to understand are change and comparison. In bold pink because that’s how important they are.

Cognitive scientist Dr. Mark Changizi wrote a book that is literally changing my life (I can’t thank Sarah enough for pointing me in this direction.) In The Vision Revolution: How The Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human  Vision, he hypothesizes that we barely register ourselves as having a colour, a taste, or a smell. This baseline setting is vital because we are particularly tuned in to the slightest change in the baseline. Fevered skin feels very hot, yet it’s only 1-2 degrees above baseline. How fascinating that all human skin of any ethnicity is very close in its reflectance of light in wavelength. Still, we’re far better at registering change in skin colour of our own ethnicity, our zero setting – though we can certainly learn and improve our ability to see colour change in skin of different baseline than our own.

It’s as if our entire nervous system is set to zero where other humans are concerned. That way, we can be especially sensitive to deviation. He speculates that this evolution allowed us to read one another’s condition better by the slightest change in skin colour and that we’re highly sensitive to it. This adaptation in our colour vision allows us better survival as a tribal, social, cultural collective. In specific situations, for instance, survival of the young or assessing the strength of an opponent, extreme sensitivity in reading very slight change in skin colour was a successful evolutionary event.

And then, OMG, it gets better, and I’m only 40 pages into it. At veterinary school 23 years ago, in Principle of Surgery class, we were given an exam question : Explain at the cellular level the physiologic conditions which cause tissues to become white, yellow, green, blue, red, and purple. Dr. Changizi answers the question in terms of the quantity of blood under the skin and its oxygen concentration superimposed ON TOP OF A COLOUR WHEEL!!!! Could barely believe what I was seeing. Got all goose-bumpy. Heart extra-pumpy.

In the course manual for students training to become PCAs, I wrote more than I needed to (what else is new?) about the wavelength sensitivities of the cells in human retinas. It’s so fundamental though. I couldn’t leave it out. It explains the comparison basis of human vision. Why red, green, blue, and yellow have their positions around a colour wheel. Why they’re opposites in the first place. OK, listen to this: turns out that our retinal cells are stimulated by the very wavelength patterns that correspond exactly with how light is absorbed by hemoglobin under skin. Meaning our colour vision evolved exactly to see changes in blood under skin! Meaning that by knowing the stimulation patterns of retinal cells, you could determine the blood oxygen concentration of the person you’re looking at!!!!!!! On page 43, Dr. Changizi says, “That synergy turns out to be crucial to our empathic ability.” You just have to read this amazing book. The windows it will open…

I’m pretty sure the answer to undertone is in here. Bernice Kentner, a personal hero of mine, related it to blood velocity, which sounded a little iffy in the absence of numerical data, but that was 30 – 40 years ago. Maybe this is what she was getting at. Others have related undertone to differences in blood colour or hemoglobin – again, IDK. Could be I just haven’t seen the data. It’s possible.  We all have different melanin.

But is it probable? Melanin has a different purpose. It doesn’t carry oxygen. We wouldn’t die if our melanin changed a little. We might die if our hemoglobin changed a little. Is Nature likely to allow all primates, and then all races within a group of primates, to have different hemoglobins? It seems as if blood colour would be more rigidly controlled than melanin, with fewer mutations tolerated, because of the life and death implications. Still, I’m open to anything. I think Changizi is on the right path. As often happens, science catches up with art.

Anyhow, sorry, undertone is still one of my BIG QUESTIONS in PCA, back on topic,

change is what we’re excellent at seeing.

And comparison.  Think about this: As the zero setting ourselves, we serve as the Control group!!!! We compare our hand, which we register as zero, to the hot fevered face, only 1 degree warmer and we say, “You’re so hot! Into bed!”  My heart beats faster just writing it. The miracle that is Nature.

The book is awesome. Not medical or doctor-y or science talk at all. Written like a story with huge mind-blowing ideas on every page. I owe you, Sarah.

Third, I do not believe that colour is well set up to be understood in the first place because of how much it’s influenced by whatever’s around it, which is why my drapes are a solid colour and a lot of it. Colours change one another. When energy fields come into contact, they change one another.

Even at a distance, they change one another. While a drape is swinging around the client’s head, before it has settled on their chest, the face is already being profoundly altered. A reminder that students have heard and heard and heard: DROP-THE-DRAPE. Drop it right out of eyesight when assessing a face. If your eyes can see it, your perception is altered by it. I might tattoo the words on the palm of my hand or have a really nifty sign made up.

 

Photo: Joanie49

Photo: Joanie49

 

Not All Drapings Are Equal

A person who’s been draped many times will have noticed big variation in drape sizes, colours, numbers, method of interpretation, order of use, colours within any Season or group, and particular name of the Seasons or groups.

Can draping be flawed? God, yes. Everything can.

Wouldn’t it be great if the all the above steps were standardized? God, yes. Or even within one company!

So we’re taking a hard look at it. We’re making drapes in controlled and consistent colours, set after set. We’re talking about alumnus refresher courses from Terry. Finding standardized ways of draping and teaching.

Inside our group, we’re dragging everything out under those brutal full spectrum lamps and taking a hard look at it. Truth matters to me. I don’t care how uncomfortable it is. The hardest part of fixing most problems is knowing what they are in the first place. Giving honest feedback is tough, something I recognize sincerely and feel a lot of gratitude when I receive it.

We’re getting over our fears about change, our embarrassment at having conflicting results, the projects we worked so hard on, what clients will think, and pulling it all apart. In my over-transparency, I’ll put my problems on the internet and let everyone weigh in. There are great ideas everywhere, very often outside the industry.

And everything is getting better.

Photo: neluskita

Photo: neluskita

 

The consumer’s role

I would like to see the clients take some responsibility here.

When they’re ill, they decide between consulting a naturopath and an M.D. Nobody expects the two to be especially similar. Disagreeing results are actually expected. We’d be surprised if they agreed. We allow them to be apples and oranges. Neither is foolproof. Does it mean that they do not improve our lives? Of course not.  When it’s good, it can be transforming.

In choosing one, the client must decide what they believe. About having your colouring analyzed,

Do you believe that neutral gray surrounding matters to accurate colour measurement or do you not? Would you say that it is crucial? A deal-breaker?

That full spectrum lighting is the only way to render every wavelength (colour) evenly?

Do you believe that humans can have trouble judging colour by eye?

That computers and photographic equipment alter colours at each step of software translation?

(If you answered No, Maybe, or Sometimes to any of the above, seek analysis services from someone other than me. Before you see them, accept that the outcome will differ wildly from what I might say and that you’re going to be OK with that because you understand that eyes will think they see 5  colours if they see 1 colour in 5 different contexts.)

 

Ask the analyst if you’re not sure. Whether they call the groups Seasons or something else is the least of your problems. That barely matters. Before she signs up for one more PCA, the consumer needs to ask,

- what is the source of the colours you’re giving me?

- how do the groups of colours, whatever you call them, get eliminated or selected?

- what’s the basis for the groups? why are those colours part of that group?

 

You’re going to have to decide. I’m not here to put down anyone else. I explain the core beliefs of my practice. If other systems could do the same, I’ll link to it. I’ll post it on this site. We all have something to add.

I simply suggest that various methods can’t be dovetailed together. There is no point in wondering why they can’t find common ground. You might as well stop trying. We diverged way back at the beginning. You’re comparing the Big Bang Theory to Let There Be Light. It’s a square peg/round hole relationship. It ain’t gonna happen.

Maybe you’ll say, “Well, how ‘m I supposed to know? I’m the consumer. It’s all you analysts out there who have studied colour theory. Why can’t you guys figure it out and tell us, once and for all?”

Great answer. True answer.

The public has not the context, the theory, or the experience to make these decisions, though they love to hash it out online. Unless you’ve watched many drapings and followed the practitioners of the by-eye technique (which I have not), you don’t really get either one, let alone where they might come together. Sometimes different words are being used to describe the same thing, and even that is rightly confusing to the public.

Maybe an analyst who has studied all the systems could find an accurate way to merge them? After all, the systems are all looking for the original body colours. Should be simple.

I’d love to see what someone comes up with. It’s easy to learn all the theory there ever was and find every reason why no system has 100% final say. Sooner or later, to be a colour analyst, you’ll have to pick one for its strengths, learn how to compensate for its flaws, and crawl around down here with us sinners and losers who do our best to analyze human colouring every day.

A certain client, with a broad-minded approach to life, might see both naturopath and MD. She might look for what works for her in the advice of each. She might see them as an extension and expansion of the other, adding more layers of approach and interpretation that are fascinating in themselves. She would look for the strengths in each approach. The advice that didn’t jive, she just sets aside for now with a reminder in her calendar to take another look in 3 months.

Photo: hairuo

Photo: hairuo

 

Why draping?

Because it is based on what we’re good at seeing: change and comparison in a calibrated measuring system with no other colours present.

Draping takes a human weakness (our ability to see the colours of skin) and turns it into a strength (our ability to register the slightest changes in reactivity of skin when given comparison) by utilizing an ability that human colour vision is massively adapted to see and see well (skin colour alteration from baseline).

The purpose of draping is not to be a wrinkle eraser. It is do determine your baseline. The truth of you. 

If you’ve never watched a calibrated draping or still believe there can be no blonde or red-headed Winters, I can’t give your opinion much weight. There’s so much more to it than people realize when it’s done correctly. Ask students who have taken the training. I think many were more than a little surprised. And these were mostly people who had studied all the books and websites.

None of the big names in PCA ever warned against draping, that I recall. Bernice maintained that draping always had the final say.

Online groups talk about hair and eye colour. Why? Because it’s what they see most prominently. As humans, they’re not programmed to see the skin colours of other humans (nevermind that cameras don’t sample colours the way human eyes do and therefore arrive at different results). If asked why all the talk about hair and eyes, they’d say, “Because skin doesn’t really have much colour. It’s hard to talk about it.” YEAH!!! That’s the whole point. It doesn’t. But when it changes, even slightly, we have seen it over thousands of years of evolution linked to our very survival. Cameras can’t do it but human vision is all over it.

Why draping? Because it’s the best way of compensating for the tricks our brain plays all day long as it adjusts what our eyes take in. You don’t believe that all we see are adaptations of reality? That what we see is highly inaccurate? Google ‘optical illusions’. Vision isn’t designed for accuracy. As Dr. Changizi points out, evolution doesn’t care about accuracy. Evolution cares about spreading genes around.

Photo: big_foot

Photo: big_foot

 

Hair&Eye Colour

Hair and eye colour are relevant to PCA and human colouring determination, but not in the way folks think.

Hair is a body colour and contributes to overall harmony, no doubt. But hair is only melanin, a limited representation of our colouring that doesn’t change a whole lot with clothes. It’s made of many colours. Some analysts may be excellent at finding its true colours, but the public seldom is – either because they’ve altered it with their clothing (a Dark Winter wearing Soft colours) or don’t see it as others do (a Bright who thinks she has mousy hair because it’s medium beige brown). We’re not really good at seeing hair changes. Could be why hair is limited to so few body parts in humans.

Eyes? The lines can be informative, but they’re not tight data. Colour is somewhat useful, more its distribution patterns than the colour itself. Nobody ever talks about colour clarity. Why not? If we forgot about eye colour per se and approached it as HVC, we might get closer to the truth. Sorry, digression, anyhow, eyes are complex, multicoloured, multilayered entities full of mirrors and windows. Too much physics, optics, and reflection going on. Huge and gigantic importance if you know what to look for and are given comparisons.

Photo: cempey

Photo: cempey

 

A moderate approach

I have the deepest respect all the prophets and visionaries that laid the foundations for modern PCA. So often, a prophet’s words and how they got used differ widely. No seer who came back today would tolerate the labels that got put on him or her since their voice went quiet. Rules get hammered into place that the original thinker never intended so rigidly.  The focus gets turned around, the dogma is over-defended and over-adhered to, while the creator would have a much more welcoming and tolerant viewpoint.

Decide to just enjoy the process. Consider that there is no person, system, colour collection, medicine, or anything else, that can utterly and finally explain us to ourselves. Enjoy the style, the artistry, the creative excellence of every approach, and the endlessly fascinating opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of another.

—–

An Incorrect Colour Analysis Result

August 17, 2013 by · 45 Comments 

Now that students are being trained, some are finding that their earlier PCAs were not correct.

I analyzed a woman, *Ruth*,  2-3 years ago as a Soft Summer. As a part of her training recently (with the excellent Terry Wildfong), she found that she is in fact a Dark Winter.

I have had students myself and found them to be a different Season than previously thought.

It’s awkward for everyone. What is the right path?

Photo: starryboo2

Photo: starryboo2

 

Moving through, not away from

My question today is:

As a community of analysts and clients, how will be handle this? It’s going to keep happening for a little while.

Achieving consistency between our analysts is our biggest challenge. (Whether the public finds complete consistency between the palette and their own colouring is another matter, one I worry about less.) Yet, never for an instant would I consider another method.

Can we allow our stumbles to happen openly and comfortably so we can all learn?

At first, of course, the ego takes a little beating. Not a big thing. It’s healthy, not just for me but for everyone who emails me and thinks I’m somehow special or gifted when all I do is write more than everyone else. I’m just more visible. Like models and other meteorites, the idea that anyone is near-perfect sets up a standard that is untrue and destructive for those who think they should live up to it.

If we’re afraid of being wrong, we’re lost. In school and society, we’re taught that we should avoid mistakes but I completely disagree. They’re how we learn. That discomfort feeling is called Experience. There’s no other way to get it. We all have been and will be wrong and should move towards that heat, and then through it. Running away keeps us stuck with our feet like tree roots. I love trees almost as much as oceans but they can’t walk on this Earth. Humans can.

I tell my own students that the best thing that can happen to them as colour analysts is to have been wrong about their Season a few times. Identifying with our clients is how we support them fully. Once we’ve shopped with our Colour Books, we feel what she’s up against.

Photo: arkitekt

Photo: arkitekt

 

The analyst’s growth

. First, I get separation from my business. If every mistake feels so personal, I can’t manage it and grow from it. I just get caught up in feeling bruised and sorry for myself. Humiliation is fine and useful, because it’s the light side on the road to humility, a very blessed way to live.

. Get clarity on what I care about. Not my image. Really don’t care about that. I very sincerely care about the Kathryn Kalisz-founded system of Personal Colour Analysis as a fantastic and unparalleled resource for empowering consumers. I care deeply about making your business wildly successful, whatever your definition of successful is, and seeing you having trouble holding in the joy you feel from putting yourself on this path of Personal Colour Analyst, even if you will be wrong sometimes. A wrong analysis hasn’t compromised what I care about. Easy to calm down.

. Search for curiosity. What can I learn? Why might this have happened that could give the client and I even more insight into her colouring? The first analyst didn’t just pluck a Season out of the air like a random mosquito swimming by. Terry said,

I don’t wish to see an analyst being referred to as getting an analysis wrong. I see it as analysts can come to different results, plain and simple, by interpreting differently, which leads them down a different path. I analyzed my husband as a True Spring, and he is a Bright Winter. I came to the first result for several reasons, which I have now corrected in my perception. Was I totally wrong? No, he is blended with Spring. Was there a better result? Yes.

 

Photo: duchessa

Photo: duchessa

 

The client’s growth

. I ask myself, “What is their work and what is mine in this situation?” Before getting all reactive, we both have to think, “What can I do to make this situation work better for you?” We can have a talk. We can re-drape you. Do I give refunds? I’ve never been asked, my clients are so elegant. Would I? I guess I’d do what would calm the person and let them feel validated. I’m not in this for the money and I never make decisions based on money. This absolutely does not set a precedent for other analysts but if someone wanted their cash back, I guess I’d return it, knowing that the communication between us would end right there. The whole “I spend $200, I deserve…” “For $2000, the least I expect…”, we hear it all the time. It’s a 2-dimensional view of the world that wants $$ more than knowledge so we don’t belong together. As a client, I wouldn’t ask for a refund. Lord knows we’ve gotten some sketchy makeup applications and massages we didn’t love and didn’t ask for refunds. Everyone is doing their best. Nobody set out to cheat anyone. Maybe the client should have got better informed beforehand.

. Find gratitude. Ruth brings a very beautiful intelligence to our profession. Her first reaction was to look for something to be grateful for. That’s an impressive being who understands that there’s a bigger plan in motion towards a greater place, and who is able to quietly place her trust in it. I’m often amazed at the assembly of remarkable personalities contained within our group. Ruth belongs among us and is most welcome.

 

Photo: Dr_ernst

Photo: Dr_ernst

 

The Biology of Sight

This again. It defines how we see so there’s no getting away from it. Terry reminded us,

I believe there are two major reasons why analysts can have conflicting results. Both reasons are found in The New Munsell Student Color Set under the heading of Observer Metamerism:

1.      No two people see color exactly the same. This is something that can never be altered. There will never be a set of drapes or even training that can ensure the same visual perception will be had by two different analysts.

2.      Our visual perception of a color changes, based on what color was last viewed. Just making up this example: If you are comparing Blue #1 for TW and Blue #5 for TSu, the reactions you see in the mirror are made on that comparison. If I have Blue #1 for TW and Blue #3 for TSu (all technically correct), the reactions I see will be based on that comparison. If Sharon has Blue #2 for TW and Blue #4 for TSu, again technically correct, she could come to a different result.

The closest way two analysts can hopefully come to the same conclusion is to have every test drape exactly the same, which Christine and I have talked about. But even if every drape we make for every set is the same, problem #1 above still exists.

 

Photo:  matchstick

Photo: matchstick

 

The Drapes

Everything can always change for the better. The Sci\ART system is, in my view, unequaled in its approach, its working instruments (the drapes), and in its accuracy at demonstrating your natural, inborn colours. I know the strengths of the draping system and they are beyond substantial.

The drapes I have from 4 years ago are not without a few drawbacks that I’ve learned over time and today, can factor into an analysis. The True Autumn yellow is extremely saturated, for instance. A Bright Spring could wear it. Was there a reason it was placed in that Season? The person who can answer isn’t here to ask.

Soft Summer and Dark Winter’s red drape is exactly the same piece of fabric. And there are only 3 drapes to test the 12 Tones, and they are not the same colours. I didn’t know it back then. Nonetheless, I should have picked up from the beginning, back in the 4 Seasons, that on Ruth, True Winter was better than True Summer.

Other analysts have other issues. Some are not confident in finding a Light Summer. Some always question some other Season.

It’s this knowledge that went into the drapes that Terry and I offer our students.  And they will improve. We continue to gather positive and negative data and re-assess. We’re working on standardizing colours even more rigorously and giving you increasingly accurate comparisons. If you bought them, you know that I’ll keep working with you and continue sending additions/replacements until I can’t improve them any more. Which I hope will never happen.

Photo: stevekrh19

 

Changing Colouring with Time

Most of us have settled into our Season by age 17.

My True Winter daughter was settled by age 4, maybe sooner (I didn’t formally test her but the eyes were fully black).

Terry’s daughter changed from Soft Summer to Dark Winter in her 20s !!, with a pregnancy in those years.

We darken several times in life, in our teens and our 30s.

We change in our 50s…do our colours really muted or do we just look different, less water, thicker outer layer of keratin…

I don’t believe that most people change Seasons, they just become a new painting from the same paint box. But clearly, some people do move to a new group of natural colouring parameters at various lifestages. Colouring is unpredictable.

Photo: txpotato

 

Continuing Education

The potential of a system can’t be maximized until we acknowledge its weak spots. Until truth is brought into light, it can’t be examined and raised higher. We gotta talk about this stuff with an intent to learn the why and how.

We don’t want to still be giving women different Seasons 5 years from now. Every analyst does it and if I admit freely that I did, maybe others will speak more comfortably about why they feel it happened in their case.  Then we can get to work as a collaborative, non-judgmental team to fix the causes and leave them behind us.

We can’t be in denial and defense. If we go around like The Human Landmine: An Undetonated Incendiary Device when the imperfections of our process or tools are brought up, everyone will clam up. In 5 years, we’ll be right where we are today. Still strong, still smart, still fragmented.

We need ways to refresh our training with one another. Not re-accreditation for practicing analysts, but organized meetings where we can learn from the fact that every one of us does things differently.

We all have different drape acrobatics. Some analysts move to the Luxury Drapes very early in the process. Some analysts begin with the Red Drapes, before the 4 Test (True Seasons) and 12 Test (12 Tones) drapes. Both certainly correct from my POV. I can’t think of any logistic problem. So why do I begin with 4T? Because my eyes just aren’t ready to interpret the Reds that soon with a new face.  I wasn’t trained that way. It’s not what I’m used to.

Somehow, these meetings needs to happen. They will help us technically and remind us to be generous with all practicing colour analysts, Sci\ART based and otherwise.

 

Photo: Eastop

 

What will potential clients think?

Ruth asked,

I felt I was able to explain this to my sister because she knows something about PCA; she understands that Dark Winter and Soft Summer can have similar qualities. (It’s not as if I had been draped a True Spring!) … My biggest concern is sharing this with the people in my life who know very little about PCA — people I’ve had to convince that there’s something to this — friends, acquaintances, people at church, business contacts. I’m telling you, I have been an evangelist about this and I have a lot of women (and a number of men) very excited to have a PCA. I am trying to think of a concise way to explain this to them — a way that won’t undermine the validity of Sci\ART PCA or require me to pull out a color clock at dinner.

 

My thoughts,

Communicate the enthusiasm, learning, upgrading, and increasing sense of fulfillment and freedom. If someone chooses to think, “If they can’t get this right the first time then there can’t be anything to it.”, it demonstrates a closed mentality about everything in their life and you might not need them to visit you. What most people want is integrity, honesty, your very best effort, and to be seen and heard.

Whenever we’re learning about ourselves, our physical selves, our spiritual selves, we move forward in steps. If one doctor helps you lot and opens your eyes to a new treatment method but you don’t find full recognition on the first visit, do you never see them again and close themselves to that modality, or try again and see if there’s a way to build higher? For me, it would be decided by my faith in the method and in the person.

If you position yourself to your community as having renewed faith in the method, even despite a correction, it sends a message that the method must be really strong in your eyes or you’d have abandoned it.

I would trust the person with perspective much more than the one proclaiming only success. No medical test is foolproof, not even those that come back Positive or Negative as opposed to the Ranges and Trends types. A doctor who doesn’t know the limitations of a test is useless at interpreting its findings. The No Fail Guarantee is an uneducated assumption that folks sophisticated in a subject released awhile back.

I know the problems and I’d never consider any other process of Personal Colour Analysis. My belief system gets stronger because I have run into problems, given attention and effort to their repair, and acquired a more deeply layered frame of reference, always with room to improve.

Live the conviction that in error, we become stronger, just as surely that in giving, we receive. Both paradoxes, both true.

 

—–

New Feature: 12B Analyst Directory

July 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

To draw your attention to a new addition to this website:

If you look in the upper, black crossbar under the website name at the top of this or any page, you’ll see a new Directory.

The Sci\ART Analyst Directory is still there.

The new 12B (for 12 Blueprints) Analyst Directory will be a compilation of Personal Colour Analysts that have been trained in the 12-Tone Sci\ART system. You’ll find links to their website where you can contact them and get information about their services.

Every analyst uses the Test Drape collection created by Terry Wildfong and I, unless  noted otherwise.

Which swatch books and cosmetics they prefer and anything over-and-above that they provide are questions to be asked to the analysts themselves.

 

—–

The Value of the Luxury Drapes

July 14, 2013 by · 6 Comments 

They’re almost ready. Finding a wide variety of stunning colours for the  three Winters that are not all Prom Satin and Wedding Whites in May and June is not so straightforward. I anticipate the end of August when they become available to purchase.

I want to talk today about the purpose of these Luxury Drapes, how they serve your client and your business as a 12-Tone or 12-Season personal colour analyst. They build value for your client, plain and simple, where most of the decision-making should be based. Your service can offer more, the client receives more, your credibility climbs, and your business name earns its reputation for fantastic payoff for the fee.

Before we get on to their purpose, we could talk about what they are.

Before that, we should clarify what the Test Drapes are and their purpose.

 The Test Drapes

The Test Drapes are fabrics in colours that are organized into groups. You can call the groups Seasons or Tones or Natural Colouring Type. Each group shares the same or similar dimensions of colour (light-dark range (value), heat setting (hue), degree of pigment concentration (chroma or saturation)). The groups walk us through 12 combinations and controlled levels of the colour properties,  moving along through a logic tree, comparing a human being’s colouring to themselves, until the best harmony is found. The tag on those Best Harmony Drapes is the client’s group or Season.

Test Drapes

 

The Test Drapes (those I provide to my students and Terry Wildfong’s) are not intended to be a client’s best colours. There are no catch-your-breath WOW OMG colours in the Test Drapes. If there are some, it wasn’t planned, but OMG does happen because synchronous wavelength feels good to be around. We live on a planet of wave energy. We emit it ourselves. Seeing it feels almost like remembering or reconnecting. It’s a form of recognition, as “Oh, so this is how this is going to happen.”, like when a door opens and something you’ve been trying to figure out is suddenly easy and obvious.

People write to me saying they’d love to be trained as colour analysts because they’ve loved colour so much for so long, but they doubt their ability to see the optical effects I write about. Seeing it takes a little practice to learn what you’re looking for, that’s true. Seeing it isn’t the hard part at all. Everyone sees it. That’s the point. That’s why it’s so important to have it done and know your own colouring. The family members watching see it plain as day right from the start.

More requiring is coordinating how to think with what you see. Learning to plug the data that your right brain (images, impressions, emotions, associations, big picture observations) and left brain (measurements) are collecting as you watch the drapes change on the client

into an impartial deductive process that doesn’t overreach, get overly excited too soon, jump to nervous conclusions, or let in thoughts that begin with “It can’t be…” – I will let newly  trained analysts speak for themselves but I would guess this is the harder part.

 

Photo: fangol

Photo: fangol

 

The Test Drapes are a ruler. A measuring tape. Instead of measuring bust, waist, hips, they’re quantifying hue, value, chroma. It’s hard to do by looking. Our visual system starts overlapping incoming signals. Warm colours often look more saturated than they are, like True Autumn. We can’t look at a blonde-haired blue-eyed person and see that their most significant colour dimension is highest saturation and know that they’re Bright Winter. If we just look, my belief, we literally can not know, as in not capable of knowing, because our eyes are not biologically set up that way. We have to measure.

Client can feel a little discouraged when they watch the Test Drapes, “You mean to tell me that these are the colours I have to wear????”

It’s natural and normal for the client to see the Test Drapes as potential clothing. They could be, but that’s not the point of them or how they were picked. It’s not the client’s job to understand their purpose. It’s the analyst’s job. We can reassure her that she doesn’t have to wear these colours and yet, with every drape change, she’ll say, “I would never wear this colour!”  The analyst has to keep saying, “You don’t have to. You’re not supposed to. They’re measuring you.” and be just as patient and happy about it as Beyonce when she climbs onto a stage to sing that same song for the 399th time.

The client’s response has some value, but not a lot. Half the people out there are drawn to colours that suit them and half are not. The analyst has to make independent decisions. Asking the client, “Is there a colour you’d never wear?” tells me more about how permissive  she is about colours, how defensive, how open to change, or how adamant about not changing. It does not inform me as the analyst about what colours live in her body. Most folks carry too much convoluted colour history to know which colours do or don’t suit them, much less live in them, and they tend to lump them together. “I can’t wear green.” applies to nobody. Many Light Summers won’t wear yellow – yet, they’re made for the right yellow. It’s in them already.

If  Terry and I picked middle-of-the-Season colours for the Test Drapes, you’ll need to be some Hot, Sharp, and Well-Rested colour analyst to make the right choice. New graduates won’t thank me. I wouldn’t thank me. If I met me at a party, I would give me the cold shoulder for making my job so much harder.  The colours have to be extremes. They should be a very awkward fit for every colouring but one.

The Test Drapes are chosen to be colours no other type of natural colouring, or Season, could wear as well or at all.

Now if it’s splendid colours you’re wanting, I have an answer for you.

 

 The Luxury Drapes

The Luxury drapes are shown to the client once the Season is known and the Test Drapes are hung up. I show them before makeup with the gray scarf still over the hair, since that’s how our eyes learned her colouring, and again after makeup. She sees a selection of her beautiful colours in textile. It helps her make the leap from the swatch book to fabric. This is how she will understand her position within the 3 dimensions of colour in the physical world, how the idea will move from theoretical concepts inside her head to an idea come to life on the stage of her life.

A colour analysis is a huge experience squeezed into 3 hours. The client is taken way back to the most authentic trueness of herself. All the junk and inventions that have piled up over the years get flipped away. The Luxury Drapes are the first step in building her back up again, letting in only what’s real and right about her so she can recognize it forever more.

Sci\ART, the company whose founder, Kathryn Kalisz, developed this most remarkable system,  used to sell sets of 8 and 15. I only have the 15s. IDK if the 8s were the same  fabrics or not. I am aiming for 12. They’ll only be sold as 12 sets of 12. I would love to find enough colours to offer 15, but it may be a case of, “You can have them right or you can have them now, but you can’t have them right now.” If I hold out for 15, it will be next year before I can offer them. If sets gets larger in the future, we’ll figure it out with those who bought early. Offering smaller start-up sets isn’t likely to happen. I’d have to keep track of which colours everyone bought in Round 1. I might have all different fabrics once you’re ready to buy Round 2. Or worse, some fabrics may be too close to what you bought in Round 1. Save up. Do it once. Do it right. Don’t look back.

As with the Test Drapes, the Lux Drapes will be available only within the Sci\ART community, with priority given to those who have taken the training course from Terry or me.

 

Luxury Drapes 1

 

Use the Luxury drapes as a means of developing her understanding of how to wear her colours. We can talk about saturation levels till the cows are home, milked, and fed. When she positions her limits is when she sees and feels them, not when she thinks and hears them. Colour is visual.

Seeing her colours as selected by an analyst helps her understand them. They can be compared to neighbour Seasons. Don’t show her Bright Winter periwinkle without showing Bright Spring’s alongside it, even just in the swatch books. Without visual comparison, our brain is stranded.

The Lux Drapes are her gateway to a world of possibility limited only by her creativity. She steps into a pleasure of harmony between her and everything she wears that she has not felt before. When the client leaves your office, it will be from your script as she met the Lux Drapes that she should be able to say a few words to a friend about these aspects of the new wardrobe that she will build and shape in time,

. her darkness range – is she white to black, chalk to pewter, or some other?

. her lightest colours as distance from white

. importance of contrast for her colouring and how to adapt it in attire

. purity of pigment, or saturation, and how to recognize it

. the unique radiance or glow that her Tone can achieve more beautifully and believably than any other

. use of correct hair and eye colour, explaining why hair colour is not always in our palettes or drapes

. her right and real hair highlight

. eyeshadows and neutral colours

. use of texture and how it influences the dimensions of her colours

. most flattering type of shine in fabric and metal

. colours of metals that flatter her most

. her best version of white and black

. what it means to say warm and cool versions of her colours if she’s a Neutral Season

. her best red lipstick red

. the complementary colours to skin undertone colour

. the unusual, unexpected colours

. how she will add interest, risk, fun, authority, or imagination to outfits… and look smarter, more trustworthy, and worth more $$

. how to begin incorporating the colours she finds more challenging

. colour schemes and combinations that work with her and for her

. a visual for colours that are not used to test, such as purple

. the fact that she has many colours that are not among her swatches, and how to achieve harmonic agreement in shopping situations

. that we really mean it when we say every colour goes with every other colour and she doesn’t need to own different makeup for different outfits anymore

. what to never put down money for again

. feelings of nervousness about exploring a new world she didn’t know existed, of colours that felt challenging, of some work ahead to make this place into a new home, and feeling that she has the tools she needs, will get better with time, and seeing the road ahead going forward and up

. how empowered she feels in this  moment by all the knowledge you gave her, by knowing the colours of her parachute

Analysts would probably agree that many clients ‘get it’ for the first time when they see the Lux Drapes, or get how they’re going to do it.

 

Luxury Drapes 2

 

The Luxury Drapes can assist in confirming Season. Some people’s colouring sits on the 49/51 border between two Seasons.  Look for the magic. It will only be in one Season. Compare similar colours from each possible Season that the other would not wear as well, a blue to a blue or a red to a red, choosing the extreme versions. Every single Luxury colour has been harmonized to that Tone using the original Sci\ART palettes and the excellent palettes from True Colour Australia. For the client who hasn’t been convinced with the Test Drapes, the Luxury Drapes provide another means of increasing their confidence in their Season.

You can arrive at the correct Tone using the Test Drapes, of which you have 3 more per 12-Test Season than my original Sci\ART sets. You can be in business for a year or two before buying Luxury Drapes, or you may never acquire them. They are the next level investment.

Luxury Drapes are not the place to cheap out. I didn’t skimp on fabric. If it was evocative to me of that Season’s unique and unparalleled beauty, I bought it. This is the analyst’s chance to shine, to be irreplaceable, indispensable, to tell her things nobody ever has, based on all the scientific testing you just completed. This is where you pull it together for your client. They’re your client’s first chance to see and feel how her colour home will recognize, welcome, accept, and support her. As partners, join her in the first leap from the theory of the Test Drapes and Colour Book swatches to the reality of how they translate into clothing, cosmetics, hair colour…every thing she will buy from now on.

As the analyst, they are your best chance to change her relationship with an idea using something she understands. She doesn’t understand the hue/value/chroma package well enough to really use it in stores. That’s analyst jargon. Of course, it’s important to present it as the scientific basis for the process, but she won’t retain much from a crash course in colour theory, let alone call on it to guide her hair colourist. We need to speak to her in her language, not ours. Understanding how the pancreas secretes insulin is not going to help her manage her diabetes. That’s the doctor’s job. Knowing how to choose her diet and adjust her insulin dose, those she can implement tomorrow to make her life better. Seeing how her colours translate into fabric is what she’ll apply in stores at least as well as her chroma level.

The Lux Drapes are the wave up to which the whole colour analysis experience is building. Let them wash over her. Go slow. Let her soak them up. Use them as the fantastic teaching tool they are. Use them to position your business as a part of her life she can no longer shop without.

 

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New 12 Tone Plumes at Indigo Tones

June 26, 2013 by · 10 Comments 

A few articles back, I mentioned how a True Winter impressed me so much by focusing what matters to her life into one word: fairness. I thought a lot about it and decided my word would be excellence. After a week, I didn’t feel I’d hit the target yet. Reflection, thinking, and asking found a more sincere and enduring word that holds everything I am and want to be: learn.

If things started out perfect, life would be monolithically boring, like a world without competition, flat, repetitious. That is seeing What Is while thinking What Is. Now, seeing what is and at the same time thinking how it could be more is the brain region that took 4 billion years to evolve. It’s what makes humans different.

When LEARN gets plugged into DREAM, possibility has no limits. We’d never have gotten the iPhone 2, 3, 4, 4S, 5, and 6. Starting out perfect is a tedium that makes my blood run cold. It goes so against something very fundamental about why I think humans are here. There’s nothing I do today, my doctor, my clothing designer, or my colour analyst, that I hope isn’t better tomorrow. Some folks might slot these ideas somewhere between irritating and corrupting and they’re not wrong and I’m not right. We just aren’t meant to be together.

Innovation and improvement are brainstorms come to life so we can touch them. The first time I saw a projection keyboard jump out of a phone, I was blown away.

 

 

Sorry, that was a tangent but I couldn’t get stopped. It’s way up there in Topics I Care About. Kerry may be reading this thinking, “Will you please shut up about the meaning of life thing? You’re distracting the readers!”

Right, Kerry, you’re right. Back on topic. But listen, big congratulations for what you’ve done with your swatch books. Thank you for sharing your own growth as a colour analyst to teach us more. I hope to do the same over the years.

The Indigo Tones swatch plume palettes have been esthetically beautiful right from the start. How beautiful is actually quite surprising once you really see them. I wrote about them once before, here. Not only are they lovely to own, they are a highly diversified way of teaching us about our natural colouring. In my dictionary, natural colouring, Season, and Tone are synonyms for personal paintbox, my very own colour wheel, and the pigments that filled in the lines of me. (Don’t hold anyone else to my dictionary, OK?)

IndigoTonesSoftAutumn2013-1

 

The colours are extremely Season-accurate. Each swatch is quite large. This was true in the previous Books.

For those of who see today and the status quo as nothing more or less than a starting point, the new palettes are outstanding. This is definitely not a lukewarm upgrade. All of them are more dense and rich in colour, some (on mine, purples and darks) more than others (where the higher colour intensity is less distinct). The production technology appears to have improved, but that may be just an impression from having more pure colour.

The more time I spend matching fabrics and cosmetics to Season, the more I’m realizing that matching a single swatch to a garment doesn’t work very well. A colour analyst may be able to do it faster with practice because she knows all 12 Seasons equally and is versatile with hue, value, and chroma, but I still shop with my swatch book and compare every purchase I care about. We all have human sight. We can’t tell if we can’t compare. We can’t judge one dimension, say, chroma, when another is extreme. Hard to call the real saturation of something that has low value (darkness), which is why so many Soft Summers get told they contain Winter – because by just looking, we can’t tell they’re dark and muted, not dark and intensely pigmented. Dark colours tend to seem more saturated even if they’re not. The only way to know is to compare their colouring to a known quantity like the drapes.

Personal Colour Analysis has to work for the Person part. You. Your colour-matching success is more likely by backing up a few steps and matching the entire swatch collection to the garment. The idea is detailed more in this article.

IndigoTonesLightSummer2013-1

 

I don’t believe we can own too many Colour Books of swatches. The more slants, the more translations, the more tools we have to get our thinking right, the deeper our possession of it. I once talked about owning 2 Books from different companies. Today, I believe that if you could find 8 accurate ones, you should own all 8. Not a single colour would have to be repeated. Every colour system, every colour format, every new interpretation adds something. The less narrow the concept in our head, the more layered, accurate, and interesting the outcome.

You have many thousands of colours. Since you don’t want to carry a wallpaper catalog around when you shop, decisions have to taken about which colours to include. This is like an expansion set. About half of them are new colours, different enough from the original to be two separate colours.  Those Dark Winter greens that so many clients are finding and enjoying are a great addition.

The balance for the creator is how to give women a wardrobe and a sense of their Season’s colours. If new colours are coming in, old ones have to be replaced. I have both Books because I didn’t want to lose any blues but I love all the extra reds. Some people hide in black. I hide in red.

IndigoTonesDarkWinter2013

 

Right now, I’m learning to recognize the lightest colours in the 3 Winter palettes. They’re complicated. I have a theoretical knowledge of them but finding them in fabric has been hit-and-miss. This rendition of those colours shows them to me in a different way that I can imagine better in clothing. I can picture it more easily hanging on a rack or a bolt of fabric.

Kerry’s comments:

The Dark Winter book was changed more significantly than some of the other books in terms of colors.  While those more autumnish colors are part of the dark winter harmony I felt that they didn’t reflect the overall season best and searched for other threads that did.  On every book I added some new threads but my main goal was really to reflect the essence of the season in a harmonious layout while providing the most variety in colors possible. So, it’s not going to be true that there are so many more colors in most cases – it’s a different and hopefully better representation of the seasonal tone harmony.

 

Thank you to Kerry Stich of Indigo Tones for these photographs and the permission to use them.

I will let Kerry talk to you about your own Season’s Book and other questions you may have. You can find her at www.indigotones.com

 

For someone who knows her colours, this is a gift she would simply adore. Adore and use. What more do we want from a gift?

 

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