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True Colour ExpertUnderstanding Undertones

My Spring Workshop Season Recap plus the Winners of my 50 Gifts!

By 07/01/2017May 18th, 202325 Comments


I’m announcing the winners of my 50 gifts for turning 50 today on Canada’s 150th birthday! I thought I’d do a little round-up of my Spring workshop season at the same time.

We have finally found and booked all the meeting rooms for our Fall lineup of workshops so this post also kicks off our Fall Specify Colour with Confidence season.

The early bird discount will be in effect until August 18, 2017 and if our Spring courses were any indication of what’s to come, we anticipate that Falls events will also be FULL or SOLD-OUT as well.

Register now if you want to get the full, experiential, most powerful way to learn my Understanding Undertones system, live, in person with me.

Understanding Undertones – The System

I’ve been working on my Understanding Undertones colour wheel, we had to tweak all the colours again because this will the the final printed version. You’ll notice the clean and dirty colours in the middle are much better than they were. Now they are the same value so they really do look like clean and dirty, instead of light and dark.

Thanks to all the colour scientists who posted their feedback on getting the notes for each undertone right! That was super helpful.

First stop this season in April was Austin, Texas. It’s becoming the tech capital and we have many of our mastermind meetings there with our group. So we thought we’d hold a workshop there too!

Related post: How NOT to Use the Understanding Undertones Colour Wheel

Austin City Line Image source

Here I am reviewing one of the group exercises with fabrics. It’s the best way to show the minutia of each neutral undertone and how one shade that is close but not quite just looks like ‘meh’ and the other one is absolutely perfect.

Maria Killam

Mississauga source

Next up was Toronto, our course was actually held in Mississauga, close to the Marilyn Monroe towers (above).


I hired a photographer on Day 1 of each workshop this season so that I could get images for social media. In Austin, we didn’t get any photos because the photographer said her dog ate her camera chip (I’m serious). However, in Toronto, Ella White (above) did a lovely job, she is also a wedding photographer, follow her on Instagram here.

We always have two volunteers (former True Colour Experts who have completed the course within the last 2 years) at the back of the room! Judith Taylor and were with us in Toronto.

What makes volunteering so powerful, is that once you’ve been practicing my system for a while and you come back and experience it all again, it reinforces what you’ve been doing. AND you’re listening from a totally different place so you hear things you didn’t hear the first time when you were brand new.

Next stop was Chicago. Chicago was a hot spot for our courses this Spring. The first course SOLD OUT so fast that we ended up scheduling another one, a week later which also SOLD OUT.

Terreeia and I love Chicago, we booked an Air B&B apartment in Uptown in between courses and had a great time exploring the city.

Maria and Terreeia (pronounced Maria with a T)

We explored the botanical gardens.

Ate in fabulous restaurants like the Girl & the Goat. I think this was the bathroom in this restaurant (below). I always love to see how classic shapes like subway tile and penny tile can be made to look interesting. The entire hallway leading to the individual bathrooms downstairs was brown penny tile (below).

Here we are across the street from the Girl & The Goat another evening. I had walked into Zara and bought a striped t-shirt when we were out one day because it suddenly got HOT.


We also did the architectural boat tour in Chicago which was very cool.

We had dinner with one of my long-time readers Mary! It was so fun to connect the face to the name I’d seen so much on comments on my blog over the years! Comments are like oxygen to a blogger! Love you Mary!

We even caught a baseball game at Wrigley Field which was really fun!


The photographer for both of my events in Chicago was Charlie Brown Photography and Video

We had three designers from one firm, Barbara Stewart Interiors  from Bowling Green, Kentucky (above), who posted this picture on their instagram to announce their new certification.

And two men in this Springs courses! Hooray! One in Chicago (above) and one in San Francisco (below). We count the ones we get because they are so few!! So smart really. Now is the time to become  one of the ONLY True Colour Experts in your town!

Then the final workshop for the season we arrived in San Francisco for the weekend before it started.

In San Francisco, we stayed at the Westin St. Francis where they had renovated the hallways but the elevator lobby are was still dated.

Earthy and Fresh all in one place.

Then after our weekend in San Francisco, we drove over to Corte Madera to prepare for the workshop. I snapped this photo in the backseat of an Uber (below):

Golden Gate Bridge, photo by Maria Killam


The secret to using my system effectively is in my large samples, because 95% of the time that you need a neutral, you’ll find them here. Can you tell if the colour I’m holding up here (above) is the right colour? Even we can see from here. Get them here if you don’t have them already.

We always find a room to fix during the course, often it’s the meeting room we’re in. In this case, we went out to the lobby.

The photographer in this course was Ryan Soule Photography

Chris Shields Design and Maria Killam

Chris posted this testimonial on his Instagram account:

“I’ve followed Maria for awhile and this week I had the honour of taking her True Colour Expert seminar. I loved learning her system of colour classification. . . Know the language I’ve learned to communicate colour will be a huge benefit to my clients. Maria’s energy, experience and good humour made this a great experience. Definitely check out Maria’s blog for a real eye opening reveal to the world of colour.”

Designers from all stages of their career come to my workshops because there’s only one place to learn this system and you’re looking at it.

The locations for my 4 fall Workshops are below:

Downtown Vancouver, Sept 20 – 22, 2017
Alpharetta, GA, October 10 – 12, 2017
Burlington, MA, October 17 – 19, 2017
Torrance, CA, November 15 – 17, 2017
You’ll pay a half now upon registering and the balance will be due 3 weeks before the course starts. Register here.

The early bird discount will end August 18, 2017.

We received this so, sweet email from Katarzyna Semik – Owner of Zoha House in Toronto (below):

Katarzyna Semik (right)

 What started as a whimsical idea on a new designers bucket list, quickly became reality with a surprise present from my amazing husband. With utmost anticipation, I boarded a flight to Toronto to be part of ‘The Specify Colour With Confidence’ with Maria Killam this Spring! 

   I was greeted with such warmth and graciousness by Terreeia and her team. What was anticipation quickly turned to excitement and bewilderment into the unknown about colour! The course is so well organized that every activity, every chapter allowed a moment of inquiry and conviction. The truth and sincerity that shines from Maria when she teaches, allowed me to escape into a world where anything can happen when you are passionate about what you love. Maria is a perfect example of that love with some great witty humor sprinkled on top for good fun. 

   I was in awe with how much the course applied to where I was in my learning journey of being a interior designer. It is structured in such a way, that it didn’t matter where you were on your designing journey or where you wanted the course to take you. The whole course was geared in such a way that I definitely looking at the world with different eyes the very first evening.

   The course not only educated us on training our eyes to see the undertones of neutral colours but showed us a whole new level of the business of interior decorating/colour consulting. The last day of the workshop was bittersweet because there was still so much to absorb! The amount of business sense and confidence I received from Maria was more than anyone could ever give a developing designer in just 3 days! Maria is such a wonderful educator; her personal stories, real life experiences, and humble attitude, that she generously shares with the class promotes a realistic representation of what it is to be a colour consultant.

   I left the course with confidence and a newfound love, for the thing I was already very passionate about: COLOUR! Thank you Maria for giving me such a beautiful gift of allowing me to embrace my love of decorating by teaching me how to be confident in my decorating and colour consulting decisions. Maria and Terreeia are a true gems to this business! I am so happy I had this opportunity to learn and work alongside these and other amazing women in the group in Mississauga. 

Okay, I’m so excited to announce the WINNERS of my 50 GIFTS FOR TURNING 50!!  Here they are!

Please note, if you won an eProduct, it will be sent to your email on Tuesday, July 4!

1.  One seat in one of my Specify Colour with Confidence events this Fall. Airfare and 3 nights in the Hotel is included. Open to North Americans only, and limited to the course of your country. So if you live in Canada, that means you’re flying to Vancouver. (Value, approximately $4000)

Winner: Diane Dugan Lupo

2. Two sets of my Large Paint Samples – Core Collection (Value $297 each)

Winners: Erin Hannam & Sonja Bermingham

3. Two sets of my Large Paint Samples – VIP Collection (Value $297 each)

Winners: Ann Marie & #laurarollman

4. 15 Renovate (and New Build) with Confidence webinars (which is the closest to my live training) Value $497 each

Winners: #bjleeck, Carolyn, Catherine Lindstrom, Crystal P. , Deborah Fields Holbrook, Denise Wall, Jean McEachern, Jennifer Caton, Kristi Steed, Linda Verhoef, Nandy, Petra Young, Rieca, Suzanne Holmes & Suzanna Seward

5. 10 How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence (Value $297)

Winners: Betsy Miller, Christine Garant, Deanna Clarkson, Jeannine Foss, Karen Parham, Lee Hart, Marti Herndon, @liferedesign101, @nancyjdouglas & Sharon Swallow

5. 10 How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones eBooks(Value $37 each)

Winners: @allysonbparis, Brady Vickers, Christina McLellan, Ivan Everitt, Jill Jones, Joanne Freund, Karen Mulligan, Nicole, Sandy Cucci & Sandy So

6. 10 White is Complicated; A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White  eBooks(Value $37 each)

Winners: Daniela, Dawn Young, Joyce Fowler, Julie Caise, Michelle Shepherd, Sunni, Suzanna Coulliette, Trish C., Trudy Fleck & Valerie

Again, we will send everything out on July 4, so expect to see it in your inbox then.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my birthday post, it was truly a huge birthday gift for me to read all the comments on everything you’ve learned over the years from reading my blog!

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian Readers and Happy 4th to my American readers!!

Related posts:

What it Looks Like to be in a Private Forum

Can a Novice Benefit from my Course? Before & After

Anyone Can Pick a Paint Colour, It Takes an Expert to Choose a Neutral

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  • Michelle says:

    Hi Maria.

    Happy Canada day to a great Canadian! Your blog changed how I see colour and I will be forever grateful. -Michelle in TO


  • Michelle says:

    ignore my typo at the end.

  • Tracey says:

    My email address has changed and I don’t want to miss your blog!

  • debbie says:

    Happy Canada day everyone! Congrats to all the winners.

  • Congrats to all the winners! Maria I thank you for all your knowledge you share with us, and look forward to reading your posts!

  • Lucy HAINES says:

    Congratulations to all winners! Your winnings are like a piece of gold! This is THE best class I have ever taken of all my classes in design school. It is so comprehensive, organized and presented. Anyone interested in color and/or design should make this a must to round out their education. You will love Maria because she is a great teacher and mentor. Don’t miss a chance to sign up for her classes!

  • Rosemary says:

    Happy Canada Day to our northern neighbors and friends!

  • Lucy HAINES says:

    P.S Maria, Wonderful post and than you for the new color wheel! It looks great!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Happy Canada Day!
    This was a fun surprise….seeing a picture of us together! I really enjoyed meeting you & Terreeia.
    You certainly had a busy Spring. But you never rest. I hope you find time to put your feet up during the summer.

  • Nicola says:

    Lovely to see photos of the workshops in action and SUPER excited to be coming to Vancouver this fall to be a part of it all too. Can’t wait!

  • Deanna says:

    How exciting! Your generosity is very appreciated. We were discussing painting the outside of our house last week, so the timing is perfect!

  • Joanne says:

    Wow! This just made my day! I was so surprised to see my name! I have learned so much from you and I always look forward to your posts! Jbf

  • great recap and pictures! Loved reading Katarzyna Semik testimonial…she definitely captured what we all feel after taking your class and getting to know the two of you! Thanks for sharing your love of color with all of us! And Terreeia for keeping you on task:)

  • Pamela Roble says:

    Great photos! Love your expertise and glad that you enjoyed Chicago.

  • Gery says:

    Happy 150th Canadians. Thank you Maria for your generosity, both in gifting and in sharing your knowledge.

  • Kai Jones says:

    Congratulations to the winners, and once again, props to Maria for your generosity in sharing your birthday this way!

  • Michelle says:

    I grew up in Torrance! Enjoy the wonderful afternoon breeze and the beach!

  • Stacy G says:

    Congratulations to the winners! I’m hoping to attend a conference soon but I’ve got to get my new adventure in homeschooling running like a well-oiled machine. A good friend of mine has been able to accomplish getting her Master’s degree while homeschooling her six, all the while maintaining a happy and healthy home. So I think I could squeeze in a little learning for myself too eventually. I’m still so drawn to this vocation.

  • Petra Young says:

    Wow, what a surprise to see my name on the list! Thank you, Maria, for so generously sharing your knowledge and talent with us. I can’t wait to work through your webinar!

  • Nicole says:

    Thank you Maria! So excited, I just downloaded me ebook. I read this post yesterday and didn’t even see my name. I know how I’m spending the rest of my day!

  • Sonja says:

    Hi Maria! Thank you so much for your very generous gift — I’m so thrilled (doing the “happy dance” with an eye out for the postman?)!!! Wishing you all the best in your year ahead. You are awesome!?

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks so much, Maria! It made my day seeing I had won a webinar. So very generous of you!

  • Pam Tiberia says:

    Hi Maria,
    So glad to know you’re coming to Massachusetts next year! I am a TCE, certified in Chicago in 2015 and would love the chance to help out while you are in Burlington MA…. Let me know! Happy to be of service, and help others earn this amazing designation!

  • Sunni says:

    Whoo-hoo! So exciting and fun to win your White Is Complicated ebook. Thank you Maria! I’m carefully reading through it – taking frequent breaks as it is so full of helpful and detailed information. I plan to purchase your ebook on undertones too. Once I’ve got them both under my belt I hope to confidently choose our new exterior colors. I will send you the before and after photos. Thanks again for the generous gift!

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