Voice and Vision

One Woman's WORDS AND WORKS •grapple •inspire •liberate

149: Color

Color expresses feeling, mood, impressions, conveys emotions, describes people, places and things, shows what we like and dislike, and suggests ideas beyond physical appearance. I love color! As an artist, it is essential in painting. But it is equally essential in my living.

When I was little, I always told people my favorite color was red. Something vivid and exciting about that hue appealed to my childhood energy. Other colors became favorites over the years.

I think it was after my first trip to New Mexico, where many doors and shutters are turquoise, teal and aqua, that these became my favorite hues. It’s said they represent spirit. I always know any dress or sweater I purchase in one of these hues will become a comfortable favorite.

Perhaps you have a favorite color? It may conjure up feelings, or times and places important to you. When I was at RISD, I recall several art students saying black was “the color of love.” I never quite got that, but then would others understand why, to me, teal means comfort and spirituality? I once bought a house from a woman whose closet was filled only with black and white clothing. Her choice to limit her colors must have brought her a sense of order and discipline. I’ve noted some professions drive color choices. History teachers, for example (like my husband), seem partial to navy and khaki. In the 1960s many people turned to “earth tones,” possibly a grounded and peaceful choice in contrast to the tumult of the times. Every year, thanks to marketers, there seems to be a particular color that strikes out to be THE color, one made to grab people’s attention, enticing them to purchase new items in that color.

Our living spaces thrive (or die) on color choices we make. An all-white living space gives the illusion of space and freedom. With the addition of contemporary furniture and a few green plants such a room can become a striking statement. Some people like to zing color into their homes, using analogous colors, such as a variety of reds, pinks, and fuchsia, creating enough excitement to keep one awake at night. Or one’s decor might rely on complementary colors for harmony, such as yellow and violet, or blue and orange. My color choices in recent decades have been to repeat multi-colored patterns in pillows and valances, oriental rugs and Tiffany lamps, complimenting brown-hued antiques and camel leather chairs. Though kitchens in my last six homes have always been royal blue and white. And my art studios, where colorful paintings need space to breathe, have always ached to have more–and nothing but–white walls!

Colors seem to follow the person who loves them. When looking at homes for sale in Maine about seven years ago, I was so sure our offer would be accepted that I ordered some fabric that I knew would be perfect for two arm chairs I’d be putting in our new den. We did not get that house and I could not return the fabric. A couple years later, when we moved to the home we live in now, that fabric called out to become valances and sofa pillows in our living room. Perfect! Another surprise happened. A picnic cloth–with cerulean blues, peaches, olive greens, white, in an East Indian print–that I’d purchased from SERRV (the Fair Trade catalogue with hand-made items created by women from around the world), became the ideal decorative shower curtain (atop the plastic one). The exact right size, the cloth repeated blue precisely matching the bathroom’s cerulean blue floor tile.  I could not have planned this any better! Sometimes colors naturally come together. All by itself, color seems to know its place. It dances and sings in a new space as in the last.

Color. Oil painting by Gwendolyn Evans, name unknown, sold.

Oil painting by Gwendolyn Evans, name unknown, sold.

Artwork:   I no longer remember the name of this piece, its size, nor when I sold it. It appears to be an oil and definitely full of color!

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