Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hand Painted Custom Palettes and More!

“Working” on my weekends has become so much more fun since I started doing custom color.  Saturday, I spent the morning learning about how custom palettes are hand painted and the afternoon finding out more about Suzanne Caygill.  I have lots to share!

Rochele HC Hirsch, who organized the Suzanne Caygill Legacy Event  I attended in August, also organized and led this day.  Rochele began her studies with Suzanne Caygill in 1987.  Two years later, Suzanne moved out to Atlanta, Georgia and Rochele served as her agent.  They were close until Suzanne died in 1994.  (Suzanne even decorated two of Rochele’s homes – really fun to hear about!)

Since her training, Rochele has ALWAYS hand painted palettes for her clients.  And, to date, she has created over 1100.  Yup, over 1100.  

Rochele  uses acrylic paints and Strathmore drawing paper.

rochele setting up

She begins by painting light, medium and dark skin tones, looking at the clients’ arm and hand, and comparing what she has painted to the client’s face.

rochele painting

(Skin tone swatches are not always painted to be exact matches – sometimes she lifts the color.)

As she works, Rochele makes tiny tapping motions with her brush above the deposits of paint on her own palette, and quietly murmurs questions and also answers as she feels and intuits her way to the colors that best work to create the client’s palette.  

She tells us which pigments she is using and when she needs to make adjustments. 

Next, Rochele paints the reds (shown below).  She goes on to look closely at her client’s eyes.

rochele reds

rochele eye chart

She tells her client what she learns about them looking at their eyes’ structures using  Denny’ Johnson’s Rayid Model.  (She passes around a guide to the Rayid Model, shown in the photo at right.)

rochele eye colorsAbove you can see the swatches painted based on eye colors.

Rochele’s early discovery that the client needs Burnt Sienna added to colors to make them work for her continues to hold true.  Rochele says that Autumns tend to need Burnt Sienna in their best colors.


No one is suprised that the teal of the client’s sweater is included in the palette.

Rochele then pulls out a very large binder of neatly organized fabric swatches. They are allrochelechoosingprintsprints.  ( I tease her, saying, “You don’t paint the prints too? ”  She says that painting more than plain color swatches that doesn’t interest her.  Fair enough!  I’m plenty impressed!)

rochele first cut

As folks head out to lunch, out comes a mini-paper cutter.  Rochele cuts and glues the paper she has painted to create three separate palettes.

The client receives a larger and a smaller (purse friendly) palette; the third palette is for Rochele’s own records, with information about the client noted on the back.

There are also “extra” pieces – the ends of the painted swatches and these go in a plastic bag for the client to take home.  These extra bits of color swatches can be manipulated – moved around – to try out different color combinations made possible in the palette.

three plettes rochele


Here is the client with her “Metallic Autumn” palette.

The swatches are laid out in the traditional Caygill manner, shown also in this palette which was created by Suzanne, herself:


It is for a “Renaissance Autumn,” a sub-type not included in Suzanne’s book, Color, The Essence of You.  (Please note the diagonal lines seen in the darker blues on the right are reflections of the wallpaper – those are not prints.)

In the afternoon, we watched the video that Suzanne Caygill’s clients saw while waiting to have their colors done.  In it, Suzanne, seated at a table decorated with flowers and lit candles,  is talking, describing her understanding of colors and their connection to the seasons.  She holds up photo collages of of people with images from nature to illustrate what she is saying.

We heard a funny story of a man in Suzanne’s waiting room horrified to discover that all the eyes had been cut out of the magazines! (Oh, Pinterest and Polyvore, where were you when Suzanne needed you?)

And we see lots of photos from Rochele’s time with Suzanne.  My favorite photo was of Suzanne, Rochele and two other women  wearing dresses that Suzanne had designed for an event, and named “Nothing Dresses.”  They were in metals not skin tones, for those wondering!

Color analysis is only part of Rochele’s field of expertise.   She studies relationship dynamics and their connection to inherited beliefs, and she’s written a book about it.

Rochele travels the world making hand painted palettes (and sharing intuition with her clients about what is going on within them and within their relationships).   Her travel schedule can be found here.  Palettes by Rochele are $350 and include the larger and smaller size and also the bag of extras.  It is sure to be a memorable experience and I can’t wait to see which readers consult with her first!  (Anyone in Singapore?  She is headed there soon.) Recommended for those of you curious to see hand painted intuited colors!

If you’d like to have her come to your town, contact her.  Typically you need five to six clients and if you provide her with accommodation and assistance (assembling the palettes), you get a great deal on your own palette!


Decoding Color Exquisitely

The only kind of high that I like is a color high.  I’m coming down off one now and it’s a dreamy, soft descent.  It started with a gentle glow at a book reading on Sunday afternoon, amid an eager crowd, hearing women whispering of paint and clothing colors as I found a seat.  Then mother and daughter authors, Joann and Arielle Eckstut, took to the podium and filled the room with laughter, delight and many a gasp, as they shared favorite snippets from their their visually stunning book, The Secret Language of Color (officially on sale October 22nd but available for preorder here ).

With slides to accompany their talk, they confounded the audience with optical illusions; bookreadingwowed us with nature’s beauty and challenged our brains with the physics of color.  (For the record, that tree that fell in the forest without a sound?  It was colorless too.)  Our magical journey through the rainbow involved leaps through history, trips over seas and reflections on the sky; we put on robes of the aristocracy and the eyes of bees.

And, then just as I was getting the hang of flying through time and space, and inhabiting other species minds’, the color ride and indeed Q&A time was over and the pot of gold – the book itself – was at the cash register.  Legs moved fast and for a short while the vibe turned tense as there appeared to be a shortage of copies of books for sale. “That one is mine! But, yes, you can look!” I heard several times.

Outside, sitting in the sun (Book Passage in Corte Madera has the nicest set up), I dived into the book, then splashed around like a dolphin, frolicking in the sea.  I delved deeper at home.  The book  tantalizes, but more importantly, it satisfies.  It’s the kind of book you can enjoy for a minute here and there just as much as an hour now and then. The photos are glorious and seemingly never-ending, the graphics flawless and the writing is charming. And, for those of you who often feel cheated of intellectual depth in coffee table books, you can rejoice!  There is real substance here.  Spare yourself three years of color related research and read this.  (With the saved time, you might like to try out the recipe for tyrian purple (purple made the old fashioned way).  Warning: you need 1000 mollusks and good aim.)

Obsessed with color as it relates to the human body, my own favorite morsels include:

  • learning that humans are better able to discern shades of yellow than any other hue.
  • seeing Pierre David’s Human Pantone rainbow collage, comprised of (photos of) human skin.  (It is beautiful not macabre!) Enjoy that artistry here.
  • discovering that plants have small amounts of melanin too, evident in fruits that bruise!

Speaking of which, I knew that our color vision was thought to have developed to allow us to find the ripest fruits. But there is a new theory, did YOU know?  

  • Our vision may have evolved to being more complex  (though not as complex as a butterfly’s) to better understand other people around us! That leg is a bit blue, that face is turning green, that person’s chest and now neck and now face is going RED!  Respond!!!

No one, the Eckstuts will tell you, is an expert in color, yet you certainly feel a lot smarter with words from these women at your fingertips.  In addition to being authors, Joann Eckstut, founder of The Roomworks, is an interior designer and color consultant; her daughter, Arielle Eckstut is a professional Book Doctor and co-founder of LittleMissMatched.  Both predict annual color trends for the Color Association of the United States, Joann for interiors/environment and and Arielle for young fashion.

My hour at the reading was fabulous enough but then I had the additional pleasure (hence the sustained color high) to chat with these woman again the next day as I showed them how I find personal colors.  It was quite a treat.

. joann and arielle

Almost done…joannfinalfan


Joann’s also has shiny silvers, some plums and more warm reds.

Arielle’s also has nearly stark whites, lucky-in-the-East yellows and a few more orange-reds. 

The black and silver in the middle are shared.  

Now, go and get this book.  You can’t, in all seriousness, call yourself a Colorista, a Color Freak or a Color Nerd without it.  It’s also a great  gift for any of your friends who fancy themselves part scientist/social scientist/artist or trivial pursuit master.  Even a color blind, mathematician friend would probably love it.  It’s that good.  Really.  (Buy it hereor, support your local bookseller.)

The beautiful fabric swatches I use are part of Debra Lindquist‘s Color Profiles System.

A Makeover for my Mom for her 70th!

My mom’s entire wardrobe would fill a single suitcase and the makeup that most women travel with to work is more than my mom actually owns.  So when my dad asked if he could treat her to my smaller size custom color palette (my FLIRT palette) so she that she could use the colors as a guide to buy some new lipstick for her 70th birthday party dinner, I thought, “Nooooooooo!” *insert giddy laughter* ,”We have to do the WHOLE palette!”  (You can read about my different custom color packages here.)



While my dad’s goal for my mom might have been new lipstick, my goal was a makeover.  Here’s why: my mom’s hair was dyed and the color needed work (see right).  I figured that if I had enough time to show her how the warmth of her hair was confusing her overall look and therefore her color palette, she’d get her hair color corrected.  Happily, my plan worked.

When hair is not harmoniously dyed, creating a temporary palette for a person is an option and that’s what I started to do for my mom but fixing the color is better as then you’re not compensating for color that is off.  (To see why hair color affects a custom palette, see this largely pictorial blog post which involves Elmo and imaginary friends.)

My mom is holding the part of her custom palette that was certain  – the part of her palette that is known as her “body colors.”  From left to right she’s holding her skin tone swatches; her natural blush tones;  her eye colors swatches, and then her hair color-to-be swatches that I’d chosen (to take to the salon).  As she  went off to call a new hair dresser, I decided to purchase some lipstick.

My mom won’t wear lipstick if it isn’t EXTREMELY moisturizing so I wanted to get her Silk Naturals brand.  (See their selection here.)  With just her skin and blush tone swatches in front of me, I opened my laptop.   Note: Silk Naturals has excellent swatch photos on their site or there’s absolutely no way I’d have done this.  (And, not that I’ve ever used it, but they also have an excellent return policy.)  

I wanted to get my mom a nude, a pink and a red  lipstick –  for my mother who has never owned three lipsticks at once!   It was imperative that I found colors that connected with both her skin tones AND her blush tones.  You can see  below that my choices (Birthday Suit, Eternal and Reddy)  mesh beautifully in this regard.  Actually put on my mom,  these lipsticks look more pink/red. roz makeup The lipsticks arrived just in time and – success!  – each of them was fabulous.  My mom’s hair was dyed…and then we went back to creating her palette. Here, with her custom palette just completed, she is wearing her pink lipstick, Eternal, and holding the same “body colors” from earlier.  Isn’t she looking gorgeous? momfinal Ok, aside from the nail polish she had on not jiving.

I bought her a couple of new tops on ebay and here she is wearing one of them with Silk Natural’s lipstick Birthday Suit, the nude lippie that she’s taken to wearing most of the time. birthdaysuitlippie And here she is wearing Reddy and the other top I got her (with sequins that reflect the colors in her palette): reddy In general, using your custom color palette to buy makeup is as simple as matching your fabric swatches directly to makeup and/or finding makeup in colors that fall between your skin tones and your swatches. For example, here are three of my blushes next to my palette.  You can see that Desert Plum (in the middle) and Pretty Plum (far right) are exact matches and that the blush on the far left, Lady, falls between the pink to its left and my lightest skin tone swatch to its right. myblushesandfan Another example: my most used Silk Naturals lipsticks, Fashionista, Rapturous and Sultry, are swatched below on paper next to my blush colors and skin tones. You can see how they visually make sense with these strips of swatches. Then, my favorite eyeshadows, Mohave and Prowl,  lie happily between my skin tones and my dark brown swatches (which are actually my hair color swatches). kathymakeuforblog Sooooooo, if YOU need a makeover, where better to start than with a Custom Color Palette from Beauty Valued?  (It can be done in person or online from LOTS of photographs.)  And if you buy from Silk Naturals, be sure to look at the photos of the swatched make up, not just their color indicator “dots”.

Notes come with a palette and include further details on makeup selection and how to assess current and potential clothing.  Plus, there is also customized info regarding personal style.  (For a fun example of accompanying notes -minus makeup info, as it’s for Elmo – read this post.)  

And if you want to know tips for buying clothes on ebay, keep reading. My previous blog post is about just that!

15 Tips for Buying Clothes on eBay

This list is updated from a post I had in a previous blog.  (For folks that read my last list, new points have an * by them!)

1) Search for brands/designers you know and love, whose sizes you are familiar with and consistent in.

2) Sort by lowest price first (the same garment may be listed by more than one seller and prices – as well as conditions – can vary a lot.)

3) Know your measurements (bust, waist, hips, *from shoulder seam to shoulder seam for jackets) AND the lengths you like garments to be (sweaters, skirts, the inseam on jeans, sleeves, dresses, etc.)

4) Search eBay for your favorite designers/brands and your size, adding any additional info you like, eg. “skirt.”  As you browse, look for styles and colors that you know work on you.  I generally play it safe with color choices on eBay, sticking to colors that are not easily misrepresented.  You’re aiming for a purchase you’re going to love, so stick to what you love.  (Note: save your searches in eBay, eg  Brand, size, by lowest price first.) *I also save searches on eBay for items I’ve tried on in consignment store that were nice but one size too big or small to see if I can find them in the right size. It’s worked!  I am sure to take a photo of the garment I like while in the consignment store to be sure I recognize it on eBay and I photograph any details on the inside tags too that might be helpful in identifying the garment online.

5) If, generally, you struggle to find a certain type of garment that fits really well, don’t buy it on eBay.  For example, I do not generally shop for pants on eBay.

6)  My exception about buying pants is that I have bought duplicates of jeans I adore.  If you have an item in your wardrobe you love, and want it in other colors or simply a back up for when your beloved garment bites the dust, search for it on eBay.  Bear in mind no two garments are ever truly identical.  Chances are the cut will be ever so slightly different, in the tiniest of ways.  Sadly this is true even for higher end garments.  *If you are buying a garment that is pre-owned THAT YOU ALREADY OWN you STILL want to know the size AND the measurements because the garment may have been altered (and the seller is unaware of such alterations) or incorrectly laundered if wool and the fit/size will be different from what you expect!  It’s better to be ask/double check than to make a foolish purchase!

7) Compare photos from different sources/sellers of the same item to get the best sense of color and style.  *If you save the item in your Watch List, you can then click on it and choose to ‘View Similar items”.  If the same item comes up in the same size, then as well as comparing prices, you’ll want to compare measurements supplied.  If it is or isn’t the same size as your original find,  compare colors, the general look of the item, and how it’s styled to get the best sense of the garment you’re considering bidding on/buying.  You can also google or google image the item and see if you can find it elsewhere online to gain a better sense of what the garment truly looks like.  Ask the seller questions if you need clarification.  For instance, “Is this a dark red or more like a stop sign red?” or “These boots say knee high in the description but they look midcalf in the photos. Can you measure them for me? Thanks!”

8) Read descriptions carefully.   The condition of the garment should be clearly stated.  Is it NWT/new with tags? Is it in EUC/excellent used condition?  If there is a flaw, what is it?  I’ve purposely bought a top that had a few stitches coming out from a seam because I knew it’d be an easy fix and it was a great deal. *If the item is pre-owned but the condition is not stated, ask if the garment has any stains, holes, pilling or odors.  If the condition is stated as “good” but there are no problems listed and you love the item, write and ask why it’s not described as “excellent”!

9) Read the seller’s return policy and consider what you would do if the item doesn’t make you happy.  For instance, could you resell it?  Alter it?  Dye it?  Give it as a gift?  Or would you be fine with paying return shipping charges, if the seller accepts returns?  Think this through before any purchases.

10) Check the seller’s feedback too.  If it’s a new seller, ask them a question and see how responsive they are.

11)  Sellers are generally savvy about how to best list an item. For example, a blouse might be listed by brand, then “blouse/top” and the size and color/details.  But if the seller writes only “blouse”and you search for “top” you’ll  miss seeing their item(s).  So, you need to be savvy in your search too.  Use different words to describe the same item, enter the numerical and letter size for clothing, and try both European and American sizing for shoes.

12)  Sometimes you can read reviews of clothing items elsewhere. For example many shoes are reviewed on Zappos  and many of Anthropologie‘s items are reviewed on their site and personal blogs.  Read reviews to see if items are actually true to size, if reviewers consistently say good things or if, conversely, they mention design flaws.

13)  If something you receive is not up to par, write to the seller immediately and politely: assume the error was an oversight.  Generally, sellers want you to be happy and to write a positive review for them. *Ebay will reimburse you for items that do not arrive or if you receive a garment not as described, but the onus is on you to contact Ebay and then to follow through with Ebay’s procedures.

14) “Buy it now” is most like real shopping.  I started ebay shopping using items listed in that way only.   *Note that using the browser on my phone, I cannot see if an item is “Buy it Now Or Best Offer,” I just see “Buy it Now” sales prices.  Ensure that however you are searching ebay that you are seeing when sellers are saying “Or Best Offer” if you want to get the best prices. (Why would sellers state that unless they’re open to negotiation, right?)

15) The best deals are usually  by “auction.”   Bidding right near the end of the auction reduces the chances of the price going up in an early bidding war.  Bid as late as you can!

It’s a different shopping experience than going out shopping certainly.  But now that I’ve figured out my strategy,  I’m having a lot of success.  I hope my tips help, and lead you to some great, inexpensive, additions to your wardrobe!

PS If you like buying second hand rather than new and are interested in Slow Fashion, come join our facebook Slow Fashion Movers and Shakers group here.)