“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.
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.
(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.
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.)
Above 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 allprints. ( 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!)
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.
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!
Thank you for writing this and showing us Rochele’s work, Kathy. How fun!
Elizabeth, you are MOST welcome. Hope you and I get to attend an event or class together some day!
This is wonderful, I love the idea of actual material swatches or something hand painted as opposed to something printed on paper, the colors you get can be so much richer.
This was so fascinating to read! Thank you, and I love the added bonus of you getting to learn more about your daughter.
You’re welcome and thank you! Rochele is very caring.
Yes, I love fabrics, of course, or I wouldn’t use them, but I think there is something special about the energy that goes into hand painting a palette. And Rochele is the only person in the world who does this art!
Thank you for showing us this lovely experience!
This has been great to get an idea of what to expect when I see Rochele next week!! Thanks for sharing, Kathy!