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Simple Tricks to Choose Room Colors!


No More Color Combo Confusion!

If the terms “analogous,” “triadic,” “split-comp,” and “tetradic” give you a headache, don’t worry! You don’t need to understand a color wheel or color theory to create beautiful and interesting color combinations for your home. We hope to take the mystery OUT and put some fun IN to choosing color combos.

may2016GIVEAWAYBut first, congratulations to Sarah Lynn for winning one of our Cocktail Kitsch” aprons in the April Giveaway! This month, you have until noon, May 20th, to subscribe, confirm, and comment on a post for a chance to win a hand painted, embellished wine glass! (Details in the photo.) Open to U.S. entrants only. More comments = more entries!

To celebrate my 40 years of this artsy thing, my goal is to give away an item every month in 2016 to a lucky subscriber. Due to my husband’s very serious health issues, our new web store opening will be delayed, and I may have to skip a Giveaway or two while he is in hospital and recuperating. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding during this time! I also want to thank everyone for your purchases from my etsy shop, which will help us pay the stack of medical bills. We appreciate any good thoughts you can send our way!

PHOTO NOTES: The example photos below are being used under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Photographers are credited, and you can find them on flickr by searching for their names. Go show them some love on flickr! I have added color combos next to, or under, each photo to get you thinking. (If you are one of the photographers and wish for your photo to be removed, please contact me or comment, and I will be happy to comply with any changes you request!)

1. The “60/30/10” Rule – A Game of Percentages

wonderlane2982196181_65eae8efb5_zThink in terms of three colors to a room. You don’t want all three colors vying for equal attention, so we’ll break their amounts into percentages. 60% of the room (walls and floors, the largest areas) will be your dominant color, standing out and making a statement about you. Next, since 30% of a room is your furnishings, and you don’t want them to compete with the dominant color, pick a more muted, neutral, or softer color for those items (or a color similar to the 60% color). Finally, use that 10% allotment to make the room sing by bringing in bits of the brightest color in accessories (pillows, vases, art, colorful bowls, and other trinkets). So, 60% dominant color, 30% softer, 10% vivid. (Photo by Wonderlane)

2. The “Tropical Fish Know How to Dress” Rule

laszloilyes5271677375_e6bcd78c43_zSomeone once told me that to find unusual and unique color combos, look at tropical fish. We never look at them and say, “eeek, those colors!” No, we look at how GLORIOUS those combos are! Use the brightest, most vivid color sparingly (your 10%), and perhaps a muted version of your 60% color choice as your mid-tone. (Photo by Laszlo Ilyes)


3. The “Orchids Are The Oscar Gowns of the Floral World” Rule

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who dislikes orchids. The colors are so varied, from muted brick tones to brilliant flashes of yellow to vivid purples against stark white. Do a Google image search for orchids, and you will be able to spot your favorites right away. Remember, the brightest pops of color are saved for your accessories, but feel free to be bold with your 60% color choice to show off your personality! (Photo by MShehan, Robin Miller, Julieanh)

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4. The “There’s No Place I’d Rather Be” Rule

What is your dream destination? A wave-kissed beach? A rocky desert? A lush forest? Find your absolutely favorite photos of your favorite place, and look for color inspiration there! Trust me, you will be very happy with color choices taken from your favorite places. It’s a subconscious way to let yourself live in your “happy place,” even if you can’t get there as often as you’d like. (Photos by Sarah McDevitt, Nicola, Tony Hisgett)

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5. The “Lebowski” Rule, aka: “The Rug Really Tied the Room Together”

carpetbeggers12952753054_bccd7aee5b_zA basic tenet, but something that people sometimes forget when choosing room colors. Take a color cue from the largest pattern in the room, and it WILL tie the room together. Have a beautiful oriental rug? Pic a color within the design to paint your walls (or as your 30% color). You don’t want to be too “matchy-matchy,” so I generally stay away from the main rug color, but pulling a less-used color from within the pattern to share with the room. (Photo by Carpetbeggers)

6. The “Neighbors Are Nice” Rule

muha...1103442787_34687a2887_oYes, you do need to look at a color wheel for this one. If you want a relaxing, soothing room, choose “neighbors” on the color wheel as your two main colors. Blue and sea green. Orange and yellow. Vermillion and orange. Pale yellow and lime. With colors so close to each other, make sure that you keep one a bit more muted so the room isn’t an overwhelming tone blast. (Photo by Muha…)


7. The “This Is Me” Rule

evelyngiggles2846939243_254ed61de1_zkevindooley2243837257_7b6bfa1cf0_oLook in your closet. What is the predominant color of your clothes? You chose them for not only the fit, but for the COLOR. And you look GOOD in that color, so why not “wear” it in a room? Look at your possessions, too. Have a basket of treasured seashells? Then perhaps off whites, light grays, pinks, and sand are some colors to think about. What about your cobalt glass collection? Yellow and blue is a classic combo! Have you gathered old tins? What colors on the labels attract your eye? USE those colors! It is a comforting feeling to be surrounded by colors you love. (Photos by Evelyn Giggles, Kevin Dooley)

8. The “I’m So Sophisticated” Neutral Rule

boa-franc5622094800_957c3b9d7a_zNothing says sophistication like neutrals of gray, pewter, black, and white. Keep your 60% and 30% in these tones, and then just add pops of a favorite bright color. Can you imagine a vivid lipstick red pillow on that couch? Or bright lime serving bowls, or  bright pendant lights? You get the idea. Metal accessories will also reflect those bits of color, adding texture and rhythm to the room. (Photo by Boa-franc)


9. The “Traditional, With a Twist” Rule

ethan6122721341_676ce2e739_zkylegarrity8549143829_5345c2d2b2_zTraditional color combos that will never go out of style: black and white, blue and yellow, blue and white. But for an updated look, change up one of the classics. Instead of navy and bold yellow, try deep cobalt with a pale lemon yellow. You’ll get a classic feel with a fresh attitude. (Photos by Ethan, Kyle Garrity)


As a painter, I like some crazy color combos, but when decorating my home, these are some of the guidelines and techniques that I use when choosing colors. I hope that the techniques will help you rethink your white walls. Express your personality! Even if you don’t plan on painting soon, please try out a few of the exercises to build your color-choosing confidence, and let me know about your experience down in the comments! I have a scrapbook of color combos that I refer to when painting my home or my art, and it’s really fun to look back at the photos I’ve collected!

I hope you’ll become more aware about the color around you, and that you are excited about using more meaningful color in your life. Color can change energy, soothe or energize. Color creates a mood, and can send a very personal message about who you are, if you let it speak through your life and your home.

carolynb octopus bowlOne last item for you. I was tagged in a FB post by Carolyn, who is using one of my painted bowls to hold beautiful handmade jewelry by Garage Band Jewelry and Green Lion Forge. Here’s the note she posted: “What’s better than hand made jewelry? An amazing hand painted octopus to display it! I am seriously in love with this piece from my friend and amazing artist Dawn Schmidt Ventimiglia.” That is so sweet, and I ALWAYS appreciate getting photos of my items “in the wild”!! *SMILES* Thank you, Carolyn!

Don’t forget to subscribe, confirm, and comment to be entered in the May Giveaway for that wine glass to use, perhaps while dreaming up some fabulous color combinations!

Gratitude Attitude,
Eclectic Dawn

Spring Decor Tips


Colors of Spring bowlWINNER of the “Colors OF Spring” (March) Giveaway: Congratulations, Julie VanEffen (Escanaba, MI), on winning our “Grow” lotus piece!
SPRING DECOR TIPS: Spring! It seems like we’ve all got a bit more energy; longer days, flowers blooming, and more sunshine. Remember to slow down, look around, and have fun and restorative moments in between your spring cleaning tasks! Want a fresh feel in your home for Spring?

  • Put away heavy, dark curtains and install lighter, slightly sheer curtains to let in more of that wonderful spring light.
  • Add more plants to your living areas, or a vase of spring flowers to your table.
  • Pack away “heavier” decor items (ie: massive dark pottery pieces), trading them out with lighter objects (think open weaves, thin profiles, bright colors). Example: swap out the heavy velvety throw on your couch with a light colored lacy throw.Spider Plant and Shells
  • How about a basket of pretty shells on a coffee table with vintage crochet work underneath? You can almost hear the ocean and feel summer coming!
  • Swap out dark wall art with brightly-patterned fabric in a frame.
  • After the danger of frost has passed, set a couple of pots of flowering plants at your front door to to welcome you and your guests home. It sets the tone before you even enter the home.
  • Remember, think bright, light, airy…open the curtains and let the sunshine in!

dev1SPRING PROJECTS: We also made time to visit friends and delve into some new projects. Recent commissions have included  a white rose, the story of Jesus in four parts, two elephant bowls, a decorative bowl for cellphone/keys as a sister to a piece I painted for Christmas, and a custom sign for The Vintage Idiot Re-Tiques. The Kukui Lagoon is HOPPIN’! We took a day to deliver the sign to our friends, John and Tracy, in Woodlawn, VA. Their house is chock full of AWESOME thrifting finds, re-purposed items, and special items with great stories behind them. (photo: the new sign in their booth at Briar Patch, Galax) We had a great day of thrifting, laughing, and meeting the goats down at road at Cranberry Acre (Arwen makes divine scented soaps…and omg, she has a glorious sewing room!). Miss Lola came along for the ride and got to meet Jax, too (last photo). Sometimes it is QUITE alright to mix business with pleasure, as it refills your artistic gas tank. Thanks for the wonderful day, Tracy and John!

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SPRING SAVING: As promised, here are a few of the Cocktail Kitsch aprons in the shop. You’ll need some fun recipes to try out while wearing one of these super cute vintage-style aprons, so I’m offering a deal: bundle the apron with my tiki cocktail/history/food recipe book for only $5 more – that’s almost $6 off the book! (Just click on the drop down when you select an apron.)

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And, ta-daaaa…here’s a secret coupon code for our subscribers: “25NBOFF40” gets you 25% off of purchases over $40 in my etsy shop! This coupon is live NOW. If there’s an Eclectic Dawn Arts item you’ve had your eye on, now is the time to order. The code is “25NBOFF40”! Share the code with your friends, too. 🙂 Happy Spring!

mt1602.lotuslove1_tb silks3.2016ALLSPRING SILKS: Spring means budding trees, sunny skies, daffodils, red bud trees, and tulips. Much of my work is influenced by the colors and lines of nature, and in spring there is such a vibrant quality to the new light, it makes me want to shout in color! The silk tapestry project certainly accomplished that!
Customers have been asking for small tapestries to hang on their walls, but with limited wall space, they want something smaller and higher-end than hippie tapestries. Using shibori and tie-dye techniques, I created these luscious silk mandala tapestries (tapestries that look like kaleidescopes or lotus flowers), and at 35″ square, they can be used as scarves, table accents, or wall hangings. And they make oooooo-inspiring gifts!

SPRING BOWLS: After commissions, aprons, and silks, it was back to painting my world culture-influenced monkeypod bowls (my favorite projects). This work is so meditative, and the pieces just “become” what they are meant to be. I start painting the bowls, and before I know it, hours have flown by! Here are a few recent pieces…

mid mod bowlHenna Inspired BowlTribal Hammerhead

Tribal TurtlesTribal Horned Toad Whale Fluke Bowl

(Contest is over)APRIL GIVEAWAY CONTEST DETAILS! You could win this “Cocktail Kitsch” apron ($30 value). The giveaway is at noon, Eastern time, April 15th. Click the photo for more details.

  • APRILcontestSign up for the Newsblog.
  • Confirm your subscription via the email you will receive.
  • Leave a RELEVANT comment on any post (“hi” is not relevant).
  • You must complete all three steps to enter! More comments equals more entries! We do a giveaway EVERY month, so once you’re subscribed, you’ll get the details for every month’s contest.

SPRING GIGGLES: I LOVE getting photos from clients, and this one made me smile BIG, because I love the gentle voice of Bob Ross (RIP)! Connie had just settled in to work on some pages in “My Mother’s Garden” coloring book, wheconniebobrossn she noticed who had popped up on the tv to create something pretty right along with her…Bob Ross! How perfect – creating happy trees together! Thanks for the photo, Connie! <3

And that’s it for our April Newsblog issue!  Remember, live with Gratitude Attitude for the simple things.
Eclectic Dawn

March Giveaway


Flowers, Stuart, VA, 2011

“Colors of Spring” Giveaway details at the end of this post! 🙂
Can you smell Spring in the air? I am looking forward to seeing the colorful blossoming beginning here in Virginia. One street near our home is absolutely is always bursting with color on both sides of the street, but I also enjoy walking down to the creek behind our house to see the tiniest flowers raising their heads up to the sun in spring. Flocks of robins, bluebirds, geese, and starlings have been coming through our area in the last month, and I spotted a Sandhill Crane down by the creek!


Retro Tiki Fabric

Last month, I shared the pile of funky fabrics for the retro Cocktail Kitsch aprons. Well, the aprons are just about finished, except for some fun button embellishments. I’ll be taking and editing photos this week, and will start to put the aprons up on etsy on the weekend (hopefully). I am so excited for you to see them! Pussycats, atomic cats, cocktails, tropical drinks, and wild patterns! *Remember, my subscribers can always use code “20TY15” to get 20% off purchases over $15 in my etsy shop. The tiki fabric in the photo is just the COOLEST – I had to save some for future use in the Kukui Lagoon (my retro vintage tiki bar/studio).


March 2016 Contest Info

And finally, here’s the contest info:
I picked out two pieces for the Giveaway which are painted with the vibrant colors of Spring flowers, and the winner of the contest can choose which one they’d like! We’re drawing a name on March 15th (the day after my birthday!) from our confirmed subscribers who have left a relevant comment on any of our Newsblog posts (“relevant” meaning pertaining to the content of the post, not just a “howdy, I commented”). Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond. CLICK THE PHOTO FOR FURTHER DETAILS!

I’ll jot another note soon with a few apron photos and the name of the winner…until then, Gratitude Attitude! Eclectic Dawn

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