Understanding Your Color: A Guide to Personal Color Analysis

On the cover of her book, author Kathryn Kalisz writes:

A vital part of your physical composition from birth,

your personal coloring emanates who you are.


In part color analyst workbook, spanning color information and application from theoretical to abstract, this beautiful book is essential reading for those interested in the coloring of human beings.

Kathryn spent her life in the study colour. She worked with Munsell Color until 1991, when she chose to devote more time to her artwork in oils, watercolor, and acrylics. She was a gifted teacher of color theory, art, and color analysis. Through the eyes of an artist, she developed a very individual perspective on color, nature, design, and their relationship to every person. These are strongly communicated in her book.

Kathryn’s life was tragically lost in 2010. We are deeply grateful to have her writings to keep us consistent with her vision of colour in the human body and receptive to its meaning in the world that surrounds us. With her knowledge of pigments and insistence on absolute precision in the use of colour technology, Kathryn developed a system of human colour analysis that elevated the field to a new level of scientific accuracy.

What makes Sci\ART different:

– loyalty to how light and colour behave in Nature, the system that coloured humans in the first place; no new colour naming, ordering, or categorizing were conceived or necessary

– a series of drapes whose colours and order of use are uniquely able to reveal the subtleties in human colouring with an astonishing degree of accuracy

– the fantastic Red Drapes to ascertain the heat level of the undertone using colours that simulate blood

– the principle that Season is determined only by which colours perfect the skin; hair and eye colour play no role in the decision; as an artist herself, Kathryn was expert in the difference between what we think we see and what really is (for example, we think we see snow as always being white because our left brain tells us so, but an artist paints its true colour under the influence of lighting and surrounding colours ; we think blue-eyed blondes will be Springs and Summers, and only a draping session where surrounding colour is fully neutralized can force us to see what is instead of what we think should be, and that blue-eyed blondes may exist in any Season)

– the Neutral Seasons; rather than using colours already existing in the True Seasons, Kathryn devised entirely new palettes that are exclusive to each of the 8 Neutral Seasons, and not those of the parent Seasons

– the absence of Seasons which blend the 2 cool True Seasons of True Summer and True Winter, because the product of such blends did not offer any new colours to those palettes that were not already available

– the absence of Seasons which blend the 2 warm True Seasons of True Spring and True Summer, for the same reason as with the cool Seasons, and also to maintain the difference in the pigments that warm the colours for each Season

You will find in this book:

– a discussion of personal colour tone and how we see and feel it

– colour classification, order, and terminology

– the personalities of each of the rainbow colours

– the how and why of simultaneous contrast, the basis of personal colour analysis, with illustrations of the optical effects that create the illusions we see in right and wrong colours

– the 12 Tones of Personal Colour, their predominant characteristic, their colours and feelings, and cosmetic colours (please note that these are descriptions, not colour palettes or swatches)

– unique, innovative, and detailed coverage of the personality traits of the 4 True Seasons

– the use of colour in your wardrobe and in your home to feel, convey, develop, balance, or counteract many emotions


Books can be purchased directly from Spectrafiles owner, Suzanna Greif. (The name Sci\ART continues to refer to Kathryn’s work. The present day supply of swatch books and drapes continues under the new name, Spectrafiles.)

Process : Send Suzanna via her website at spectrafiles.com. Suzanna will arrange payment from there.


Kathryn Kalisz

On a personal note, I would add that Kathryn’s descriptions of the emotional personality of the colours were my first exposure to the idea that we feel colour, and that we feel in colour. In the colours we absorb and those we reflect, we emanate colour like a personal force field, in a version of the rainbow that is ours alone. Kathryn’s ability to transcend the appearance of colour and join its energy with the depth of a human being was my first step into confirming that our colours are part of us, right to our deepest core.

What set Sci\ART apart to me in the world of colour analysis was its reverence for (and reference to) the interconnectedness of all living things. Everything Nature created is literally a part of everything else, like an immense nervous system, sharing the ability to express white light from the sun in various pigmentations, beautiful diversity, and splendid uniqueness. Kathryn saw the world this way too. The Rainbow Warriors video (here on YouTube) was very meaningful for her, beautifully and perfectly depicting what she sought to achieve in her art, work, and life.



14 thoughts on “Understanding Your Color: A Guide to Personal Color Analysis”

  1. I have been aware of this book for some time and definately plan to purchase it in the future. I am sure it is worth every single penny but for me the cost is somewhat inhibiting right now so I am saving my pennies and bottle money! Is it possible that there are sales or coupons for this item?

  2. I’m with Ester on this. Also, is there a possibility of a cheaper electronic version? I would love to be able to store this on my laptop.

  3. Hi, Ladies,

    No sales or coupons at the moment.

    Also no ebook at the moment, though it’s a worthwhile note for the future. This will probably be determined by demand, I would think, but Suzanna’s call. I’ll pass on the suggestion.

  4. Christine,

    If you (or Suzanna Greif) would write a book about color for ordinary people that includes the Spectrafiles color palettes, I would most certainly buy it. The color palettes in the Color Me Beautiful books are somewhat helpful, but I can’t help but feel that a book with the Spectrafiles palettes and your insights would be so much better. You are such a great writer. I’m sure that such a book, written by you, would be quite a hit. Please consider this idea. I’m sure I am not the only one waiting for such a book.

    Thank you.

  5. Laura,
    The book you ask for is written and being printed. I had hoped to have it available in June, but it’s looking like August. I hope it is consumer friendly and that people find it useful. I’m no fashion expert, instead I’m the most average user of the system there can be. A job, children, a little time and money but none to waste, who wants to age gracefully. I see the energy of all 12 Seasons as very unique and different and that’s what I’ve tried to communicate. Many, many will not agree, and I am so OK with that.
    No book can ever show the palettes accurately, as l have learned. I made the abbreviated palettes in the book in a certain computer colour model, and every time I saw them thereafter in a different colour space, they were changed. Printing processes alter colours at every single step. You need to own your palette itself.
    I do appreciate your interest. :)

  6. Christine Scaman –
    First off, what an excellent website. What a ‘eureka’ moment, when I read through your articles and realized how much time and money I’ve wasted trying to alter my coloring to something I’m not. It’s very interesting that the SciArt system does not take hair or eye color into account – never heard of that before. It doesn’t seem to make sense after being mentally bombarded with Color Me Beautiful, but you can’t argue with results. Now I check for updates every day!

    My question is, how many pages does this book contain? I normally don’t balk at buying books for reference, but if this is just a small pamphlet then $65.50 seems a bit steep. Also – can’t wait to check out your own book! Thanks for your time.

  7. Hi, Brittny,
    I’m so glad I could springboard a Eureka! moment. Big changes in outlook can only be good and they waste less time.
    This book is 8×11″ and contains 175 pages. It’s not the traditional take on Season books. There are no photos of people and no colour layouts. What it does is filter out what really matters in human colour analysis and then distills that down to its bare essence. There are no pages of complicated theory and all concepts are well illustrated. There is a big component of what colour feels like in our perception. A time will come when this book will become unavailable. To my knowledge, it’s the only published work by a woman who looked at the field and worked out the glitches. Those of us who own one would not sell it.

  8. Christine:

    I will order the above book, just because i respect your opinion, your insight, and your knowledge, and if you promote such book, then it is worth it.

  9. I would like to order the book Understanding your Color by Kathryn Kalisz.
    Could you please give me an idea what the total price is to South Africa. (Including the shipping cost.)

    Thanks, many blessings.
    nina brown

  10. The website sepctrafiles.com redirects to spam websites. Is there a new address?

Leave a Reply

All mention of copyrighted terms and content from any book, website, or organization will be edited to include only the company name to avoid copyright violation on the part of 12 Blueprints. Thank you.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *