Whenever I give my speech, “The Art Of Looking Like Yourself ,” I’m often asked, “why are there are so many names for each season?” The reason is hard to explain to the uninitiated, because unless you do Personal Color Analysis in the Caygill system, you won’t speak the same language; there’s no common currency for understanding my answer. But I do the best I can and here is my answer: there are differences in each sub-type to justify all 26 seasons. Without all those unique variations among the different sub-types, I can’t identify all the seasonal archetypes that come to my studio.
Here is a Rose Tone Summer whose revision palette was lost in the mail. Carole came to me when I first started doing color designing for people, and she had been typed an Autumn some 30 years ago. Using my 26 season “Caygill system” I typed her correctly as a Rose Tone Summer. She has warm, Burnt Umber eyes, so I understand why there was some confusion with her as an Autumn type. Out of respect to all the color analysts out there who are really trying to do good work, I acknowledge that it was tough for analysts to get some people in the right season because we looked at different criteria back then. Things have come a long way in color analysis in the last 65 years!
Carole was given a revision palette for her original one (a few changes but not many) several weeks ago, and it was sadly (but, it turns out luckily) lost in the mail. Since I’m a classically trained portrait painter, I felt inspired to paint her replacement palette.
It was sheer joy for me! I haven’t painted much since I reinvented myself as a Personal Color Analyst, and it really fed my soul to do color analysis this way.
Is the painted palette more accurate than the “systems” approach? The short answer is YES and NO. I can “find” more color and it helps me to understand the person’s coloration because I have to build it by directly observing nature, pigment by pigment. Doing it this way, I noticed, helped my eyes to adjust to what I was looking at so I could really “see” color. But, more often than not, the color I custom painted for Carole ended up being the same or very similar to the color I had previously selected in my “system” created fan. There were only 2 or 3 colors that were different, with the difference being meaningful but not stunning.
I want to mention that, for my own integrity, I know how important it was for me to rely solely on my direct painting process to build the palette, rather than a pre-mixed palette which is what the “system” offers….so there was no checking my painted palette against the “systems” palette until all was done.
The main limitation to painting the palette is the increase in variables (eye hand coordination, paint handling, etc), unlimited choices in color, and maybe most importantly, the temptation for the analyst to perform.
Performance oriented color analysis is the convention, and is how it all started. For my working process which is wonderfully slow, meandering and intense, the pressure to find the truth about someone in 3 hours is rarely a satisfying experience. The pressure to “know” and have certainty right away compromises integrity and accuracy. It just doesn’t allow me to honor my own wonderfully slow, natural rhythm.
Practicing “the art of looking like yourself” has a lot to do with identifying what makes one person unique from another. It logically follows that my artistic process should reflect the very ethos that is in my tag line. It was so satisfying to paint the infinite beauty of Carole.
I just might have to do another one 🙂
Happy New Year and may the colors be with you,