I’ve been painting murals for over 17 years now. Once we’ve decided what the mural is going to be, it’s always the same question:
What color should we paint the other walls?
Ok, ok. Sometimes it’s the ‘other’ question – how much do you charge to paint clouds on the ceiling? But I digress.
Being an artist and working with colors every day, it’s a natural question. It’s also a tough one. What shades of paint I’d choose might not be the same ones my clients would like to live with. It’s kind of like going to a hair stylist, but in a less temporary, and more expensive way.
I don’t usually paint clients’ walls – who am I kidding? I never paint walls. I leave that up to the hubs – but since it’s someone else’s home, I like to get it ‘right’. Even if they haven’t hired me to roll the paint on.
Before I even get out my paint deck I look around at a few things:
- the natural lighting in the room
- the direction(s) of the natural lighting – north, south, east, and/or west
- the color palettes in other rooms in the home
- the style of their interior décor
- the clients’ clothing
Yes, you read that right – their clothing. The hues of someone’s clothing can often indicate which colors on their walls they’ll feel comfortable with. Not always, but often. I wear a lot of black but there’s no way I’d want it on my walls. As an accent color? Sure. But I digress. Again.
Natural lighting is the biggie for affecting paint colors. And how light filters into the room. Windows facing west will warm up any color on the walls. Northern exposure tends to ‘gray’ walls. So if there’s a combination of lighting there’s only one way to see how a paint color will look – paint a swatch.
But that comes after you’ve narrowed down your color choices, right? If you’re like me, when you’re in the paint/hardware store, surrounded by all those chips of delicious color, making a decision is worse than choosing between a hot fudge brownie sundae and cheesecake topped with strawberries.
Recently I’ve noticed a lot of my favorite bloggers mentioning the same word – Colortopia, a new product/tool by Glidden. When I read it was a new paint color tool, I figured my email invitation from Glidden just hadn’t arrived yet. I mean, surely a paint company would want a muralist who paints on walls and works with colors every.single.day to write about their new product, right? Wrong. (I’m not bitter.)
Today I gave up couldn’t stand it anymore clicked on to My Colortopia to see what everyone else was writing about. (I’m not bitter.) I figured it was going to be another one of those virtual painter tools that all the major paint companies have now. And those are great except for one thing – lighting and your computer monitor. Ok, that’s two things. Let’s just say I’m not a huge fan, other than to just play around with colors for a while.
My Colortopia was a pleasant surprise. It’s not just a virtual painter. It’s a virtual color picker. Like I said above, you have to choose some colors first.
Since I’ve been painting murals mostly for kids rooms lately (like, since 2007) I uploaded one of my pink topiary paintings. The online tool gives you a little square that you can move around and then picks a selection of four colors and offers some complementary palettes. Pretty cool.
There are a couple of issues I have with it though. The colors it ‘reads’ are only as good as your photo. Colortopia picked up ‘lilac’ and ‘grey’ when the background in my painting is actually white. Keep that in mind.
I’d tell Glidden that too if they would’ve invited me to be a part of their campaign. But, too late. (I’m really, truly not bitter. Alright, maybe just a smidge.)
Do you have any paint plans for Spring? What colors are you thinking about? I’d love to see!