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March 21

IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT COLOR...ALL ONE MILLION SHADES!

By Oriana Kubinska

IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT COLOR...ALL ONE MILLION SHADES!

By Sister Wolf

Imagine Life Without Color...All One Million Shades!

 crayons article colours

 

I've always felt an acute love of color, starting with crayons. I loved the way they were organized and of course I loved their names. I pondered the difference between red-violet and violet-red. Even as an adult, I was enraged when Crayola announced that it was "retiring" some colors and adding new ones. How dare they?

Kandinsky paimting colours miista article


Last week, waiting to see my eye doctor, I picked up a pamphlet about color-blindness and learned that the normal eye can see one million distinct shades of color. Just let that sink in. One million! A person who is color blind (Color Vision Deficiency is the technical term) can see just 10 per cent of those colors. Luckily for them, new technology has resulted in glasses called EnChroma that amplify color perception by breaking up over-lapping light waves.

 Susie Bubble colours


Color conveys meaning in two primary ways - natural associations and psychological symbolism. Blue is said to represent calm, for example, but it can also be symbolic of sadness. Even though there are agreed-upon meanings of color, individuals can disagree. Take the color yellow. To Kandinsky, "A picture painted in yellow always represents spiritual warmth." Degas saw things differently, famously stating, "What a horrible thing yellow is."

colours  

It would be hard for anyone to deny that color affects our moods. Businesses know that colors can have an influence on employee behaviors, productivity levels, moods and attitudes. Look around your work environment and vow not to be manipulated this way! Working at home, I can create my own atmosphere. I know if I had to work near an orange wall, I would lose my mind. I don't know how Pantone comes up with its Color of the Year, but the year of orange was a constant irritant to me. For 2017, they have chosen an icky yellow-green that I hope not to see anywhere outside a garden. Pantone calls this hue "greenery" and says:

 

"It signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality."

 

I'm not buying it, literally. Elsewhere, pink is having a moment in fashion. Susie Bubble herself is big into pink, and the fashion newsletters I subscribe to have showered me with alerts to pink. Pink seems like a good idea for spring, right? The more I think about pink, the happier I feel. Dusty pink, rose pink, Schiaparelli pink, what's not to love? Pink is girly but men look great in pink. It signals their security with who they are.

 

For me, red and blue are the holy grail of color combinations. The right shades in juxtaposition give me a sort of synesthesia. It's like my circuits explode with joy. Others may find this combination repellent for all I know. Color theory tells us which colors are harmonious, but harmony might not be what we're looking for. As with everything, it's probably good to learn the rules in order to break them more efficiently.

 

Let's go back to crayons. If you didn't grow up with crayons, I don't know, your parents should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If you did have crayons, you had favorite colors that time can't eradicate. For me, periwinkle and sea green were extra special. I'm wearing periwinkle nail polish as I write this! Crayons brought me to oil paint, and the names of the colors were almost as affecting as the colors themselves. Who can forget burnt umber? When I find myself stunned by a rack of Essie nail polish or a display of shimmering eye shadow, I know it stems from my happy hours in art supply shops. I try to let this realization stop me from making a purchase. Sometimes, this works.

 colours article miistashoes


If our eyes can perceive a million shades of color, there must be a million names for them. Incredible. No matter how many we know, it's just a tiny fraction, forever incomplete. Just consider blue. "Blue" was one of the original Crayola crayons formulated in 1903. Navy blue, sky blue, cobalt blue, ink blue, marine blue, royal blue, indigo, Persian blue, aqua blue, teal blue, cerulean blue, azure, sapphire, cyan. That's just the tip of the blue iceberg.

 

I can't imagine life without color and I hope I never have to. I'm so happy for the guy on the EnChroma glasses brochure, who says, "Before, I didn't even realize purple existed, but now it's my favorite color."

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