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8th July 2023

Skills lab: Colour Theory 101 with Marianne Shillingford and Dulux at Box Arts, London

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couldn't believe that a workshop like this was available! Marianne Shillingford - creative director of Dulux and Akzonobel - showing us how to mix colour, create our very own Dulux colour, and name it!

At the beginning of the class Marianne handed us all 5 words each, which we were to place on colours, on the colour wheel, we felt matched iemotion or feeling.
The results showed how colours have collective meanings. Overall, everyone spoke the same colour language.

I want to create a colour wheel of my pigments and incorporate this activity into my workshop. Plus make an autism emotion colour wheel!


The oldest known use  of pigments is a cave      painting of a wild        bore (45,500 years   old), found in   Indonesia. The bore has been painted using red earth (ochre).


Songs I was listening to on the way to London for the workshop...

...just click on the album covers.


Obligatory 90s baby stickers

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'Colour language' is something I touch on in my workshops when I say the use of pigments has provided us with the means of expression since prehistoric times. 

My own ochres.


We chose a Dulux colour to start with. I chose red, and began shifting it with four methods. The first; mixing another primary colour into it; yellow, to make orange. The second was to dull it by adding its opposing colour in the colour wheel, so I began adding various amounts of blue and recording each shade. The third was to add white, which Marianne noted is how you can see which colours you've used to make your new colour. Thfinal method was to dirty the existing colour with Van Dyke Brown.

Marianne mentioned this is a typical process used in the decorative industry to create aged-looking paint colours, and I was instantly reminded of how we would dull down colours and match them when I worked in the decorative world.

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Origin colour

Adding yellow

Add white

Adding blue

Adding white

Adding white

Adding Van Dyke Brown

While creating and recording our colours, we were to decide which our favourite one was. The chosen colour could be taken to Dulux where it would be colour matched and created into a sample pot for us!


At the end of the workshop Marianne let us in on how to name your chosen colour. First pick an object of the same colour, for example, if you made a purple, the object could be 'plum'. Secondly, you think of the feeling the colour creates. This could result in 'Sumptuous Plum' or '
isty Plum'.

I named my chosen 
'Dawn Papyrus'.


we made with all participants colours.

Some of my colours and 

I am using Bionic Reading - traditionally used by neurodivergent folk, or more specifically people with ADHD, and those with reading difficulties - created by Swiss typographic designer Renato Casutt. It bolds a small number of letters at the beginning of a word allowing your memory to fill in the rest, creating a more visually stimulating font.

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