How do I change the base color in the recolor Artwork settings? I know this seems like a silly thing but I really need to figure this out and I have read and gone through the manual and the help forum to no avail. Please help.
Not quite sure what you are asking. If you select the paths in your file containing the colors you want to change, then select Edit>Color>Recolor Artwork, all the current path and object "base" colors are already in the "Current Colors" list. If you want them to be different when you first select Recolor Artwork, you must first change them manually in the file, one by one.
Click on the desired color in the "new color" column. Then click on the base color icon beside the list of color harmonies, which will then change, but the color harmonies will be based on your desired color.
Still a little bit of a problem because now, it is changing the color of objects to the base color which I don't want. I have a background color (which I want as the base color) and then several colors (shapes) over that. I want to base the color scheme on the backround color. I see how to change the base color but the bexisting base color seems to be linked to a particular object and I want to somehow unlink that.
If I have understood you correctly, you want to exclude a certain color from getting affected. You can click on a color row and it becomes highlighted with a border around it - in your artwork, let's say you want the orange color not to get affected. Right-click on it and choose 'Exclude Colors'. When you do that, you will see that the orange color moves to the bottom of the list and there is no arrow in front of it. Like this: