Monday, January 21, 2013


Hello, it's Asheley.
Most of you know, Sarah has been away awhile in Australia and we miss her.

Winter is here, it's grey in Red Hook and everything's washed out, dusky from the clouds overhead. I remember going to bed as a kid, lying awake in the dark, and realizing that light makes color.

I think I know how color works, at least partly. If I'm wrong, please correct me.

The theory of color, according to me, is this: the color you see in an object, is the color reflected back at you, which means that the one color you see, is the one color that object is not. A green marble, for example, is absorbing all of the colors possible except green.

White absorbs nothing; it shoots all of the colors back at you. Black absorbs everything; it's an abyss.

All of this blows my mind. Is there a way to see light bending color? Is that what's happening?

I like all colors, but I'm particular about what feels right together, and in what proportions. It's wonderful how personal this is, and how we can feel emotional about a certain palate. Swatches don't do it for me. Better to pick things that embody a color and a feeling. For example, with black, brown, and blue, I see black stone sanded down, the underside of a leather belt, and velvet blue curtains drawn open in a school auditorium.

Back to the theory - what about color abstracted on a screen, like in film? Does light bend the pixels? My understanding is unraveling a little.

There's a short film called Kitchen by Alice Winocour (2005), about a woman afraid of killing lobsters for dinner. Elina Löwensohn plays the woman. Her dark hair and pale skin are so beautiful onscreen. It makes me want to cut my hair and dye it black. 

The plane of colors in the film - white, cream, black, and grey - is perfectly drab and quiet. Especially in contrast to when the lobsters flop and show the orange of their underbellies. 

You can see the film here. And the following are sources I'm about to read to check my memory on color, and how we see it: from Pantone; from Ted; and from The Department of Computer Science at Brown.


amygoround said...

Hi Ashley! Great post. Love the first image of the color pyramid. I've been thinking a lot about color lately. It's January, and I'm going to one bridal consultation after another. Sometimes it's a delicate business trying to explain why a color palette is superior to a color choice; how a PINK bouquet can benefit from, say, some touches of pale peach. And don't get me started on green... how green should not read as "cheap filler" but instead, "life giver"; how green makes the flowers come alive! Anyway, thanks to you and Deanna for posting in Sarah's absence :)

Mlle Paradis said...

gorgeous post! me, i live for color. it's my drug, my medicine.

Wendy said...

I also love that colour pryamid!
I am not vey adventurous when it comes to colour, like things monochromatic and need a lot of green around me, I so agree with you on the green aspect. I'm a garden designer, so when a client wants a really warm colour palette, it's very challenging for me, but surprising when it comes together, as it is not my natural inclination. I grit my teeth with hot pink and orange, but hey it does work in the end!!Ahh, green!
Thanks for the post, will check out the links.

Anonymous said...

I adore this post! Color is like food to me and one of the reasons I follow this luscious blog. You hit the nail on the head saying it is all about relationship and proportion. I can never say what my favorite color is because my favorite is the what sings next to what, and how much and with what texture. I really enjoyed how you expressed that!

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PMP said...

Very artistic!