Infinite Colour


I’m going through a phase of making colour notes using my phone camera. Who would have thought a few years ago that such a thing would be possible?

I’ve always had a great colour memory. It might have been more useful in life to have had a brilliant memory for names or faces or the titles or words to songs or who starred in which film. But no. I was given colour memory, which is much more of a nuisance than you might imagine.

I remember nuance of colour which others can’t even see. This drives me mad occasionally. Having decorated Eldest Daughter’s bedroom in a sort of Anne of Green Gables meets France type style (a very subtle grey-green), I was accompanied by Himself yesterday to find a rug. I could tell with a single sweeping glance of the showrooms we went into that there was nothing suitable. Himself, though, was not inhibited from pointing out strident full force greens and blues and even loud orange and reds as we made cursory tours of the piles on display.

Anyway. My phone colour notes, thanks to the sophistication of the Filterstorm app, are perfect renditions of colour combinations which catch my eye. The three ‘greens’ and two ‘greys’ above are a case in point. I was able to colour correct the viridian, and just the viridian, perfectly. All on my phone.

One of those days when I LOVE technology despite the adverse hold it has on my daily search for quiet and Slow.

Sunday Selections: Red

It’s another set of Sunday Selections from the forgotten personal digital archive. This week, I was inspired by the WordPress theme of ‘red” too, and plunged into the Chinese archives, always a happy source of redness when it comes to Shamanism, Taoism and decorations…

Dragon God

red shaman

Red Inn

What’s your favourite Red?

Red with red, red and red

Red with red, red and red

I have a real problem when someone asks me what my favourite colour is. It’s an impossible question for me to answer. It all depends on what sort of red, what sort of blue, and I can’t even generalise by saying bluish-green or orangy-red because it all depends…on the exact degree of bluish-ness or orangy-ness. And that’s just dealing with the pur-ish colour wheel spectrum of colours, and ignores the issue of how subdued or bright the colour is, and how light or dark it is.

Recently I  noticed when filing my #adailyselfreflection on the laptop that the screen shows an irritating nuance of difference in hue in thumbnail images between .jpg format and .psd. In Photoshop, though, they look the same. Then when I upload, I see yet further changes. What I should do, I suppose is confront the off-putting task of checking my own screen calibration. Funnily enough, I manage to never have time to do this, which is slightly odd given how colour-fussy I am, and given how much I have done in recent years on Photoshop.

Working digitally and having to go out to print with professional printers is also always a bit nerve-wracking, and even after obtaining reassurance that they regularly calibrate their own printers and screens, I am still full of angst when I peel off the wrapping on a big piece. In the real world too, the infinitesimal differences matter. I am a huge fan of Farrow & Ball paint (both on the walls and on canvas) and on a couple of occasions I have had decorators trying to argue with me that they can get the ‘same colour’ for less. No, you can’t.

The other day I was happily mixing a vivid orange-red when I suddenly decided to see what Wikipaedia had to say on the matter. The search took me into a fascinating read on orange-red and the history of Vermilion, and led me to reminiscence about my first childhood paintbox with its scarlet, crimson, magenta and rose hues. I sat there trying to remember as many colour names for red as I could, and felt acute nostalgia for some unidentified something just by saying the names out loud. Do children today know about scarlet, crimson, magenta and rose? More worryingly, have I fulfilled my duty as a parent and ensured my own children can use these terms appropriately?

I compiled a chart of the main red colour terms in use, and have uploaded it below. Since I am willing to bet your screen is not calibrated either, there is no guarantee that any of these colours will show true, but context and relationships are just as important, and it is interesting to see how the characteristics of each are so apparent once placed alongside each other. “Red” is a quite inadequate description. I’m publishing a poll on your favourite red; it should show up in the sidebar opposite, so I do hope you can find your way to it and cast your vote. This is the first post in a regular series on colour, so I will reveal my favourite next time!


Shades of Red

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