One year ago, as 2016 was beginning, I took notice of a story in the evening news. It told of the announcement by Pantone that it had picked the colors for the year - Rose Quartz and Serenity. The announcer went on to explain how the colors of that season's clothing, appliances and any number of items would be one of these two colors in 2016.
Being curious about such things, I went to the internet to see exactly what these new colors looked like. When I found the colors for the year they looked to me to be a faded pink and washed-out blue. I guess the quality and prestige of colors is in the name.
I grew up in a time when I believed there were only common everyday colors - red, blue, yellow, green, brown, white and black. Any deviation from the basic colors would be described as a shade or a pastel. Shades of colors were a man thing. Pastels were a girl thing. I know, that sound chauvinist, but that's how I saw the world of colors. Bold and bright or soft and warm. Mary had an angora sweater when we were in high school, and it was a pastel peach color, soft and warm. I know somewhere on a color wheel they probably had more colors, but for the most part I was satisfied with a world of basic colors, with the exception of Mary's angora sweater.
Colors like purple, scarlet and violet were common, but still I considered them variations of the basics. In school they taught us to create colors. Add yellow with blue paint and you create green. A small amount of yellow... dark green. Add more yellow and you have spring green. But, if you combine red and green as a projected light, you will create yellow. Adding blue to the mix will produce white light. Did you know the projection TVs we once had in our living rooms used only three colors to produce the images you watched - red, green and blue.
We live in a world of colors, and yet we sometimes seem to not realize how important they are to our everyday lives. Has your wife ever bought new drapes for the living room and said she had to take them outside in the daylight to see the real color? My wife, Mary, has looked at fabric in the sunlight and then decided she wanted to buy it. Then she takes them home into our living room and decides it is just not the right color for the room. Of course not, our living room is not outside.
Light is a funny thing when it comes to colors. Direct light on an object creates one color. If the light is reflective, it creates another perception of the color. And when it comes artificial light on an object, that is a whole new ball game when it comes to describing the color of something.
Do you remember a couple of years ago when a picture of a dress took America by surprise when people tried to describe its color? One group of people said it was blues and blacks. Others saw the colors as gold and whites. Did the color of the dress change? Did the way the dress was displayed on the computer screen make the difference? The truth is, we each see colors in different ways. Color is really about light and that light can play tricks on our eyes when it passes into our brains.
If you really want to test your skills in distinguishing colors, try and see images described as magic eye prints. When you look at the picture, your eyes will see repeating images that have no apparent depth of field. But, if you train your eyes to look through the colored images, you will begin to see 3D picture patterns emerge. These pictures are created by repeating images and colors that are slightly different than the patterned image next to it.
Have you ever taken a color blind test? The basic test uses circular pictures that are filled with different sized color dots. The person giving the test will ask you what number you see in the picture. Some people can look at each picture and quickly tell the tester the correct numbers. Others who have problems with colors have trouble finding the numbers. It can be a frustrating test if you can't see the number in the color pattern. Problems seeing red and greens are common.
Why my fascination with colors? Well, when I just about figured out what colors Rose Quartz and Serenity are, a new color was announced for this 2017: Greenery. Now, this year they don't even have the decency to name a real color, Greenery. I can see myself the next time I want to buy paint and I tell the clerk, "I want a bucket of greenery." My luck he would respond, "Are you ordering paint or a salad?"
Colors make our world bright and full of life. Without them we would be living in a 1930s black and white film. Oh my goodness!! Could that have been a world where there were 50 Shades of Gray as we look back Through the Lens.