– Mark Rothko

I often turn to this wonderful book, a gift from friends, for a colour boost.

The way Mark Rothko worked with colour is brilliant. Playing with colours, especially ones that aren’t necessarily complementary, completely amazes me. You can make unfriendly colours become close and intimate. Let baby pink marry olive green, vygie pink mate with dahlia yellow, brown to kiss purple. By pairing two unlikely colours, or colours that aren’t that easy to love, you’ll come up with the sexiest combinations.

Rothko style colour fields interpreted in Earthcote Worn Leather by artist Tracy Lynch. One of a series of feature wall installations at the Freeworld Design Centre.

This interpretation, a tribute to the colour blocking made famous by Rothko more than half a century ago, was done by Cape Town artist and decor celeb Tracy Lynch. Tracy was commissioned to produce a collection of these Earthcote installations in the offices of the Freeworld Design Centre in Cape Town. For Earthcote, the project demonstrated the alchemy of its Worn Leather product, a lime-based paint overcoated with wax. Working with this paint is like magic. The lime ‘burns’ through unevenly, resulting in an organic look that is completely unpredictable. Alchemy is the word, I think. You won’t know the outcome till the paint is completely dry. That’s the joy of it. Then you wax over it with Earthcote wall wax, and polish it up like you would a floor. The wax gives it an opacity and an agedness that feels artisanal.

Soft & misty: colour blocking achieved with 3 shades of Earthcote Worn Leather. For products and DIY instructions, go to the Paint&Place blog: Photo: Antonia Steyn. Light design: Dokter & Misses

Shot on location at the Freeworld Design Centre, these misty, muted colour fields of cream, grey and pale blue were rendered in Worn Leather by Tracy Lynch. You’ll find instructions on the Paint&Place blog. For products and colour swatches, visit a Paint&Place paint shop.

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