Friday, April 11, 2014

The Ugliest Color

Pink.  It's just my opinion. The only pink you'll find in my life is on Amelie's toys.  I even struggle as I stare at a new "to go" cup purchase for Amelie.  Pink or green? Green can be girly, but considered gender neutral.  Green usually wins and I justify my decision by musing about the little boy I might have someday and that he can use it too.  See? I'm even being thrifty.  There isn't any pink in her bedroom either.  Green, orange, and yellow grace her walls and bed linens.  As I type this I am thinking maybe she should have a little more pink in her life;  her favorite toy is a blue train.
Have you ever heard that the season in which you are born determines the colors that look best on you?  I'm not sure what colors "they" think belong to what seasons, but the fall is pretty easy to figure out. I could say that orange, green, red, and brown look nice on me.  I suppose that's also why I only have 2 pink shirts in my closet.

Pink food coloring for cake and cookie decorating is notoriously ugly.  Americolor offers Deep Pink, Dusty Rose, Mauve, Soft Pink, and Electric Pink which seems like enough choices, but they always seem to need modification, especially if you are trying to match another pink.  I decided to incorporate a pink ribbon in the last cake I decorated and although the pinks seem to coordinate in the picture, they definitely did not once I added the color to the icing.

matching frosting

I do have a slightly nerdy love of color and so I kept this book above from my color theory college class. The book led us through a variety of exercises to help us learn to "see" color.  One exercise consisted of a zillion different color chips that had to be put in order. Every page was a different hue (red, yellow, green, blue, etc) and the chips were to be organized vertically by value (tint, tone, shade) and horizontally by chromaticity (saturation.)  It's surprising how many people would have a problem doing this.
In a much more scientific way than I care to remember, this book described the relationships between different colors and how everything around us affects the way they are perceived by the human eye.
You don't have to take a color theory class to know that blue and red make purple, but you may have to do a little more work if you'd like to change the pink food coloring above to match your favorite pink ribbon.

Occasionally I'll try the following method to help determine how to mix my colors:  Dab a tiny amount of your color on a paper towel and spray it with water.  Watch the color spread or maybe even dry, and you'll see what colors were mixed to produce your specific hue.  In this case, the colors that have been combined do normally make the purple that I dabbed on the paper towel. 

However, you may be using this "avocado green" in the picture below. Without this test your naked eye may not be able to tell what colors have been added to make this specific green, and you won't know what colors to add yourself to produce your desired color of green. I see brown, green, and blue near the bottom.

How to match frosting color

This test can be especially helpful even if you consider yourself a color expert. The companies creating food coloring can't always use our normal color equations to produce secondary colors. The chemistry behind their "colors" don't normally combine the way we would expect.
My pink test didn't show a color mixture to help me figure out how to alter it. more reason to not like pink.   But I could tell that it had a more yellow undertone.  You'll notice that most variations on a specific hue will have a distinct blue or yellow (cool or warm) undertone.  Common sense would tell you to then add blue to help counteract the yellow undertone.  But what else has blue in it and is close to the color pink?  Purple.  I only wanted to alter the pink slightly and so adding the purple was the most logical choice.  See the two bottles of food coloring in the top picture of this post and you should be able to guess which purple I had to use :-)

matching frosting colors
Perfectly matched pinks!  A simple buttercream frosted cake made for Glenda Crowe for her to serve to her son and daughter-in-law Darrell and Kim on their 25th wedding anniversary.

No comments:

Post a Comment