What is often a startling fact when first learning about color is the objects we see aren’t really composed of the colors we see. That green velvet chair you so love isn’t of itself really green. It has absorbed all the colors of our visible spectrum EXCEPT those that make up the green color. So how does that work?
One might say our world was birthed in color, saturated with it, embellished by it. It’s part of the DNA of the planet arriving to us by frequencies. Color excites, or it calms. It stimulates our appetite and warms our mood. We have sought just the right color by crushing insects and mollusks to produce crimson and purple. Green plants have revealed their secret of the perfect blue after being fermented through stages of yellow, then green, then blue into deep sensuous indigo. Precious lapis lazuli stones carried thousands of miles have arrived at their destination to be crushed into pigment and painted onto canvas.
Egyptian mummies of dead people and cats came under the alchemists crushing tools to formulate a perfect brown. On and on the quest for the perfect color was been pursued to simulate what was already seen around us. Humans apparently were not disposed to simply enjoy looking at their environments and enjoying the sights. No, they wanted to be the creators and capture the beauty with their own hands.
Often we look at the outer shells of our spaces as places to just arrive into and escape the outside world for awhile. We stash our stuff, eat , sleep and do all the mundane utilitarian things we are bound to do. We can of course condense our life down to a TV, refrigerator, bathroom and bed. Simplifying our lives does have merit. But I believe most of us have an innate desire to enrich our environments with design elements that make us feel unique, that tell a story about who we are up to now and who we strive to be.
Design elements work by engaging our senses of color, texture, sounds, smells. They can be subtle inferences or they can loudly announce our stand in this world. The entry in our home makes the first indication of what we are about.
On a daily basis, we don’t give our brains the respect they deserve. Just take a look at your computer history for the day, let alone the week. We have asked our brain to go to a zillion sites, read our never ending e-mail, sort and recall. That alone is commendable! But do we appreciate that in order to not overwhelm this vital organ, it has devised myriad programs over time to short cut what our five senses come dragging home continually?
Driving through various parts of the American pastoral countryside, it is common to see an old barn in various stages of decay still sporting signs of bright red covering. Why red? Did farmers get together at some point and decide against green – or white?
Color is an intrinsic part of our life. The only time we aren’t involved with color is when we are in the dark with all lights out. But then our dreams kick in and – Bam! There we are dreaming in color. But color is mysterious too. We are taught as kids that red and blue make purple, yellow and green make yellow/green, blue and yellow make green. All nice in theory, but sometimes it just isn’t true.