Yesterday’s post on Ragged Cloth Café mentioned a fascinating site – WebExhibits – there are sections on the causes of colour, pigments through the ages, and colour vision and art. Be warned, once you start exploring you just keep finding more to see – for instance Laura Joy Lustig’s very striking Building Views – “abstract, hand coloured photographs of architectural and constructed scenes”.
In OCA Textiles 1 right now, I am working on the use of colour to convey concepts like happy/sad… and how resistant I am to putting sadness onto my paintbrush. Maybe because I have been feeling a little sad myself this week, I want – I only want – to paint colours that bring me joy. Interestingly, the word ‘sad’ was once commonly used as an adjective for colour, meaning
Dull; grave; dark; sombre; – said of colours. “Sad-coloured clothes” (Walton)
“Woad, or wade, is used by the dyers to lay the foundation of all sad colours” (Mortimer) dictionary.net
Sad colours were deep and dark, neutral, sober. In the OED I read that in the 18th century chemicals were added to dyes to ‘sadden’ the colours – to tone them down. So could I bring myself to sadden my colours – maybe a very dull and dirty looking brown would do it, or a constricting, choking black?
The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.
Which is how I often feel. Yet even those greys and browns and blacks (or blues) – well, I wonder – I can’t help feeling that even the drabbest dingiest colour may be singing away quietly to itself in its own understated way, hiding a dark rainbow in its depths.
Really, in my head and my heart I’m with Calvin (for once)
There is not one blade of grass, there is no colour in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice. John Calvin