coloring life

Friday, July 3, 2009 |

Youngest brother Joey texted me yesterday with a blog post topic, so this one goes out to him. His question: What are your favorite colors? What comes to mind when you see certain colors?

My standard responses are pink and blue. And if you looked in my closet, that would definitely hold up (although the whites are making a strong challenge, due to my residence in the southern heat for the last three years). But by the same token, if you inspected my accessories, the answer expands. I’m fond of bright, sunny yellow, kelly green (Robin Hood’s tights green), red, and purple too. Not all together, of course, but I try to always incorporate a splash of color on my person. And my apartment…well…there’s an apple-red armchair, blue and brown accents around the bed, and a turquoise-themed bathroom.

I’ll break it down color by color. When I see hot pink, my mind automatically screams Barbie! at me. Mattel, you did your job programming young minds too well. I mean, it’s a favorite color, but really? Am I still going to be thinking Barbie! when I see pink at 90 years old? Next up, blue. Blue is for blue jeans and water and skies. Umm…seriously, though, blue is sort of deep, and either melancholy or ambivalent. Unless you’ve got the turquoise-color blue, or as I like to call it, Tahoe Lake blue, which is very closely related to green. That shade in particular makes me think of first kisses, cupcakes, a good book and rich hot coffee.

The other colors often work for a certain mood, or evoke specific experiences. Yellow is very happy. Bouncy tennis balls, sunshine, golden fall leaves and old-school rain slickers. Yellow is the perfect rainy day or cold weather brightener. That’s why my winter coat is a clear sort of sunflower. Green is probably my favorite accessory color overall. We’re not talking sea foam or light/pastel green, though. It’s hard-core, the grass is GREEN, green. When I see that species of bright kelly (or clover, if you will) green, I think of my dad’s ’69 Ford pickup truck, my mom’s old L.L.Bean down vest, camping in the tall grass and home.

Red is vibrant and shiny, and when I see it I think of old lanterns, Dixieland music, apple cider and Christmas (incidentally, Christmas is my favorite holiday). Purple was a favorite shade until it had the bad fortune to be the main color of my college sorority. I went from liking a little purple to having EVERYTHING you can imagine in purple. So for a couple of years I avoided it like the plague. It has made a resurgence recently, though. This is due mostly to the fact that it’s been an ‘in’ color the last few seasons and I look good in it. I don’t think I will ever again decorate in violet, however. And that’s a bit of a shame. Still, when I see a dark lavender or plum, I think of soft fleece, pansy flower faces turned to the sun and fairy tales. I don’t know if these thoughts or associations would bear out with genuine color vision theory, but I Googled ‘color meanings’ and came up with a few interesting sites.

I've never been an artist, but my one weird little color-related (secret) pastime is coloring in children's color books. I love something about the waxy feel of crayons, the array of shades, and the precision and dexterity needed to stay inside the lines. I figure that at my age, if you're still coloring in books, you're allowed to take risks with your color choices. I remember children I babysat or watched for church groups being absolutely HORRIFIED that I would color a person's skin green or blue. But if you haven't got that, then really, what's the point? And yes, it's very soothing and relaxing. Like baking. Except that when you bake you have something edible at the end of the process. Not to say I haven't eaten a crayon or two in my day, but they aren't super-digestible. And on that note, go enjoy the colors of the holiday: red, white and blue!

1 comment:

Ginny Larsen said...

haha, love it! you didn't mention about how you were won over to orange because of me! (LOL, maybe because it's not true). but really, no comments about our green and pink room at home? sadness.

i like your analysis, though, and it's all true. even the coloring book part. i do it too--but it's during teacher meetings and they're mostly geometric designs.

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