Spectral color

8 paint color tips from sustainable paint expert Edward Bulmer

Blame the old estates that abound in England, as it was years of browsing properties that led to Edward Bulmerhis fascination with color. (They’re also the subject of his forthcoming book with Rizzoli.) Among the go-to British designers for large restoration projects, Bulmer is also an architectural historian and the founder of an eponymous natural paint range from herbal ingredients – a line often cited in AD100 talent resource guides, including Martin Brudnizki.

Edward Bulmer.

Photograph courtesy of Edward Bulmer

This versatile range of earthy and mineral pigments takes center stage in Working with Color: A Guide to Pigments, Paints and PalettesBulmer’s newly launched online course for creative learning platform Create Academy.

During the 23-part video series (which includes over four hours of teachings), Bulmer explores the theory of color and its impact on decor through the ages, and how best to engage with it. in design drawings. This helpful information is backed up by glimpses of cheerful spaces at Bulmer’s refurbished Queen Anne mansion in Herefordshire, England, including a lime-green bathroom and master bedroom swathed in 18th-century hand-painted Chinese wallpaper.

“A lot of designers have an innate sense of color, but can’t explain why it’s right,” Bulmer told AD PRO, adding that “Working with Color” will arm viewers with confidence in their decisions. “There’s a design element that’s based on fundamental guiding principles, and for me, that’s the use of effective pigments.” Whether it’s sticking to those age-old tones or embracing contrasting hues, here are eight takeaways from Bulmer’s illuminating tutorial.

1. Think of color as a language.

“I see color as having its own grammar and I would define that grammar as depending on a set of pigments that we’ve been using for a very long time,” Bulmer explains in the course. So long, in fact, that the expert considers paint (along with fur coats) among the very first consumer goods in the world, dating back to the Paleolithic era when crushed and diluted red and yellow ocher extracted from the earth was used extensively. “If you have the grammar, you can form your own vocabulary,” he says. These earthy pigments continue to inform all of Bulmer’s work, as he reasons “just as a chef would use seasoning, they are as fundamental to me as salt and pepper”.

2. Stick to nature.

By using a fundamental palette of three primary colors, the paint industry has been able to concoct an extraordinary – and sometimes overwhelming – range of paint colors. The point is, says Bulmer, focusing on a clean palette of earthy hues. “I pretty much have today what artists have been using for literally a few millennia,” he says, referring to his paint studio’s 12-color offering. Recalling his days as a photography restoration assistant and the similar colors he used at the time, he adds that if “there was enough pigment to restore 500 years of art”, then it’s surely enough to produce the paint colors “needed to hang this art on it”. top of.”