Various styles in Capri MarinaThinking about how color can capture a complex feeling, even independent from form and subject matter, had us thinking of designers we admire who do this so well. Caitlin McGauley is an artist and painter whose work has graced the textiles of luxury brands such as Hermes, the Ritz Carlton, Ralph Lauren and Estée Lauder, as well as her own eponymous line. Caitlin’s work is upbeat, often airy, clean and sophisticated. She seemingly always knows exactly what shade and hue to use to transport you to her chosen universe.
Earlier this month, we caught up with Caitlin to dive deeper into how color influences her work:
1. This season we found ourselves storytelling and conveying emotion through color. What role does color play in your design process?
The use of color has played a role in developing my style. I've learned that what makes a painting sing is to use different depths of color. If I am making a painting with very sweet, soft colors, I like to add a dark burgundy red for some dimension. Or adding a dark, almost black green next to a lime green makes it pop.
2. Is there a signature color story that you keep finding yourself returning to or are the colors you're drawn to always evolving?
I always start with the same colors- turquoise, yellow, ultramarine blue, vermillion, and a rosy red. I mix them to make a variety of colors, but those are my go-to colors. Lately I've been drawn to contrast colors, especially red and green. The red of a poppy against green leaves.
3. Which place, near or far, inspires you most as an artist?
In my twenties, I took a few life-changing trips to India when I was working for a small textile company. I remember the yellow marigolds and the faded pink facades. Since I have not been traveling much, this summer I was inspired by the local flowers. I love to watch the order of things unfolding. The irises, then the peonies, then the daisies and roses and hydrangea.
Elephants in Cream
4. You include a wide range of subject matter and different elements in your work. Do you have a favorite symbol or motif?
I always go back to florals. I love daffodils and flowers that look like they came from Alice in Wonderland or some fictional place. I can't get enough of the shapes and colors in nature.