Thursday, September 4, 2008

Joy of Color

"Color is joy. One does not think color. One is carried by it." - Ernst Haas, photographer.

I have always been interested in color. Mother Nature speaks in so many colors. I'm thinking of sunsets, gems, flowers and feathers, tropical fish, seashells and heather. I remember flying in to the Shannon Airport in Ireland. I was so struck by what I saw out the plane window -- on the hills and cliffs below, there were so many shades of green (an oft repeated cliche about Ireland, I know, but so true)! I remember how thrilled I was with a bicycle I owned as a child because no one else had quite the same color, a frosty metallic but muted gold. I remember when purple was a relatively rare color; you really didn't see it much in clothing or furnishings. Purple was for royalty! Now it is a hugely popular color and I am one of its fans.

My husband and I share the same favorite color: blue. We hold that in common with a majority of American people. Blue is the most favorite color of both men and women in a number of studies I've seen. A Crayola Color Census backs me up on this: two shades of blue are its top ranked colors, followed by purple. As we age, we move towards the blue and violet end of the rainbow as far as color preferences. Kids prefer red, orange and yellow.

In pursuit of further enlightenment about color, I gave myself an online tour and found the following sites worth sharing.

For a basic tutorial on color, see the website. It has good graphics displaying color concepts such as saturation, contrast, dominance, shades and tints, etc.

At, if you join you can download all kinds of palettes and patterns created by its some of its 131,632 users.

PrincetonOnline brings together an interesting collection of summaries and links about color symbolism. It led me to some pages of color tests. For a right brain/left brain color exercise, try this quiz. It is also fun to take this color palette test, although I totally disagreed with its analysis of my tastes.

I learned there is a Color Association, a group which forecasts color palettes for fashion and interior design. They also offer a newsletter which I'd like to try.

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for." - Georgia O'Keeffe

photo by KAO - Galveston Sunset

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