ColorFULL of Meaning: GREEN

ColorFULL of Meaning: GREEN

Color Wheel

This series of posts delves into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Let’s delve into the many nuances of not always serene GREEN!

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Melding the happiness of yellow and the dignity of blue, a GREEN centered between it’s “parent” hues, blue and yellow, is calming.

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  GREEN is the most restful color to the eye, as it focuses GREEN exactly on the retina.

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When GREEN holds more yellow then blue, it becomes more stimulating, lighter and less serious,

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and when GREEN contains a higher proportion of blue than yellow, or “leans to the blue”,  it becomes colder.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, GREEN associates this way: Sound: dull = muffled, saturated = shrill. Temperature: cool. Taste/Odor: sour/juicy. Tactile: smooth to damp.

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On an energetic level, GREEN corresponds to the fourth, Heart Chakra, Anahata, symbolizing love, sympathy, and harmony,  and influencing the heart and the thymus gland.

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 GREEN associates with  relaxation, calm, freshness, contentment, tranquility, refreshment, quietness and Life! By the same token, it may be used to refer to youth and inexperience, (possibly relating to unripe or GREEN fruit) embodied in the term  “greenhorn“.

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We can also be “GREEN” with jealousy or envy. The expression “green-eyed monster” was first used by William Shakespeare in Othello: “it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Shakespeare also used it in the Merchant of Venice, speaking of “green-eyed jealousy.”[59]

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We associate GREEN nature, strong growth, regeneration, and new life.  However, GREEN is also the color of decay, mold, poison, sickness and death (in humans). How often do we say someone has a “greenish” cast to their skin when they are ill? Do we ever say, something has gone “GREEN” in the refrigerator?

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GREEN can express hope. It can offer a sense of safety and shelter. We may use the term “GREEN light”, when we feel permission to go ahead with something, referring to GREEN traffic lights which signal that it is safe to proceed. Our reaction to GREEN is  emotional AND rational..(apparently these are not mutually exclusive), which shows the tremendous range and complexity of GREEN!

What does GREEN mean to You? Do You like to use it in your work or living spaces, design with it in your marketing materials, or express with it artistically? Do you prefer yellow-GREENS, or blue-GREENS? Or, the “just-right” in-between GREEN?  What about GREEN rooms, and GREEN screens? There’s just too much to talk about…regarding GREEN!

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Secondary Colors are Primary Too

Secondary Colors are Primary Too

After posting last week about the Primary Colors (in the paint, print,  dye sense…as opposed to the “light” sense)…I had to give some color time to those marvelous combos of primary colors…the ever-loving, and equally important secondaries!

Web1Purple = Red + Blue

Web2Green= Blue + Yellow

Web3Orange = Yellow + Red

Color WheelInterestingly…the complimentary colors are comprised of colors that are directly opposite, or across from each other on the color wheel.  They are diametrically opposed…complete opposites. These dramatic duets are composed of the pairing of one primary color, and one secondary.  Since each secondary is composed of two primaries, complimentary pairs contain all three primaries between them, and effectually “cancel out” each other’s color properties (I.E.- “neutralize” each other), when mixed.

Web7On the contrary, when placed next or in proximity to each other, secondaries can create brilliant, arresting, and “can’t get enough of it’ color palettes. Seeing Green, orange and purple all together, adding brightness to a house exterior, well, it just wakes up your senses, ready or not!

Web5Purple and orange share a red “parent” color in common. The other two primaries, blue and yellow, are expressed within them as their other color “parents”. That brilliant, hot orange packs the proverbial palette punch as an unexpected accent and frame to the softer purple house body color.

Web6Here we have a pale orange (salmon), with a teal green, punctuated by bright purple flowers. Without the exuberant purple blooms nestled amongst their own green leaves, this exterior color palette might descend into the realm of the ho-hum.

Web8Orange (here with a rosy glow) and green share yellow as one half of each of their wholes.  It is almost impossible for yellow not to add warmth, relating, as it does, to the radiance and heat of the sun. The palette here is integrated with the green leaves of the foliage, which makes the warm rosy orange stand out all the more.

Have You designed solely with secondaries?  What have You come up with?  Working with secondaries, which express, but indirectly, the primaries they contain within them, can create strong, edgy color designs.  Perhaps not for the faint of color heart, but guaranteed to move your blood. A powerful way to tell a color story.

Green, Green, My Heart is Green

Green, Green, My Heart is Green

webEHere’s looking at You kid…with the greenest eye.

Inspired by a post on ORANGE, written by Anna Nahman of L’Essenziale Home Designs, and a little walk i took today, I decided to write about that most Life Affirming of all colors…Green.

It is the Fall season…Autumn…a time in many locales of oranges, rusts, sometimes brilliant reds, and greens that are fading into yellow…but here in Santa Monica, green, bursting at the seams and filled with blooms of color, abounds.

Fall is also a time of new beginnings…new school year…projects, growth and cycles of all kinds.

Therefore…join me please, as I celebrate the glory , growth, and greatness of Green!

3Cmkting13C Marketing Group gets Green Power!!

cc2Green gradations on exterior architecture can brighten even the San Francisco fog!

LAgreengradAnd the Los Angeles “version”…bright light, Chartreuse.

Green 0311Bulls eye…Kelly green seen between two buildings hits the visual mark!

blushThe tart, green apple “taste” of this yogurt shop, (in terms of Synesthesia) stirs up the appetite!

GreenDoorjambGreen paired with its opposite/compliment red (or in this case, pink) makes for a striking interior image.

lady_aThe complimentary red ladybugs stand out against the green background, making a strong statement.

green2Soft, weathered greens flow across wooden poles which form a fence, and blend naturally into the landscape.

green3Verdigris is  the natural patina which forms on the surface of  copper, bronze, or brass as it is exposed to air and water, wind and weather over time.  It’s aqua-green tints work well in natural settings.

WEBBGreens don’t have to be brilliant to be beautiful…a soft grey green exterior punctuated by a wooden door melds perfectly with the dark  green vines which trail over it.  There is a melancholy to Autumn…after all.

But…let us not end on a melancholy note…let’s end with the glory of green…WEBd

Oct122012_6378WBpushing its way through the grey pavement, a go-getter…growing…growth…grown…it just won’t stop, or give up.

And neither should we.

Happy Fall Everyone!

Green Seen

Green Seen

A Peon to Green

Dec192011_6427Green gradating into red…its compliment and opposite. Nature’s magnificent paintbrush.

  LA, of course… From “Houzz”.)

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The San Francisco version.  Notice the lack of sunshine…

GreenDoorjambPassageway…

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“up into the silence the green
silence with a white earth in it….” –: E. E. Cummings

Humors, Hues, and Healing: Color Symbolism of Yesteryear

Humors, Hues, and Healing: Color Symbolism of Yesteryear

Sunday July 15, 2012, on our Color Muze  for Artistically Speaking Talk Show, the Blog Talk Radio brainchild of artist and entrepreneur Rebecca E. Parsons, we delved into the mists of antiquity to explore what my teacher, Frank H. Mahnke, of the IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers Seminars) has called, “Mystical Color Symbolism.

Rebecca interviewed my old friend and colleague, Joy Conway, decorative painter extraordinaire, owner and lead artist of  Funwalls Studio in Albuquerque, NM, a division of her evolving, green  artistic enterprise, nmVerde. Joy is also part of Vintage and More,  selling vintage items and antiques as part of a collective effort.  Although “vintage’ is not necessarily “antiquity”, we found plenty of tie-ins!

We “muzed” about the four-fold system devised by the ancient Greek physician  Hippocrates,  (b. ca. 460 B.C, often termed the “Father of Western Medicine”,  which connects the four major “humors” (human bodily fluids) with the four “temperaments”  (one might term these, personality types) and their color counterparts.

Bear in mind that the hue of each  humor, IE, black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm (this is not for the faint of heart!) does not necessarily correspond to the color related to it.  No, blood/sanguis, even though physically  a shade of red, is related to the cheerful color of yellow, and element of air.

The  term for a cheerful, optimistic, hopeful personality…or, temperament is sanguine!  Perhaps this humor, blood, runs healthily through the veins of one of this temperament, helping them to be positive, and upbeat!

Let’s take a look at the this fascinating  four-fold system.

The humor yellow bile, or “cholos” is associated with  the element of fire, and the  choleric temperament: passionate, touchy, quick, violent tempered, and active. The choleric temperament is strong, faster changing, a tensed mental state directed towards the outer world.  It’s color is red, in modern systems symbolizing  aggressiveness, activity and strength.

The humor black bile, or “melas cholos” is  associated with  the element of earth (not water, as one might intuitively expect given our natural association with blue) , and the  melancholic temperament: sad, with a tendency towards melancholy and depression.  The melancholic temperament is strong, but slower changing, a tensed mental state directed towards the inner world. It’s color  range is  blue, blue-violet, and black. It’s counterpart in contemporary color symbolism would be “feeling blue”- IE, sadness, melancholy, and depressiveness.

The humor blood,, or sanguis” is associated with  the element of air, and the  sanguine temperament: warm-hearted, lively, cheerful, impulsive, with a positive approach to life.. The sanguine temperament is weaker, faster changing, a relaxed mental state directed towards the outer world.It’s color is yellow, which in our modern system symbolizes cheerfulness, vitality, and high-spiritedness. Yellow, in the Hippocratic system relates to the element of air, and the humor of blood,  is the color of the sun, and sunlight…perhaps the “life blood” of our planet earth?

The humor  phlegm  (we all know that one, yes?!) is associated with  the element of water (which makes sense when you think about the relationship of phlegm to dampness) and the  phlegmatic temperament:stolid, calm, reserved, and hard to rouse to activity. The phlegmatic  temperament is weak and slow changing, a relaxed mental state directed towards the inner world.  (Think about when you have a cold, and just want to curl up in bed and let the world go by). It’s color range is green, green-blue, and white. Green, in more modern color symbolism, can express withdrawal, quietness and reservation.

Just for fun…here is an excerpt (found on http://www.fisheaters.com/fourtemperaments.html)  from the 11th c. Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, attributed to John of Milano, giving the basic run-down as to the effects of too much of one humor or another: 

If Sanguin humour do too much abound,
These signes will be thereof appearing cheefe,
The face will swell, the cheeks grow red and round,
With staring eies, the pulse beate soft and breefe,
The veynes exceed, the belly will be bound,
The temples, and the forehead full of griefe,
Unquiet sleeps, that so strange dreames will make
To cause one blush to tell when he doth wake:
Besides the moysture of the mouth and spittle,
Will taste too sweet, and seeme the throat to tickle.
If Choller do exceed, as may sometime,
Your eares will ring, and make you to be wakefull,
Your tongue will seeme all rough, and oftentimes
Cause vomits, unaccustomed and hatefull,
Great thirst, your excrements are full of slime,
The stomacke squeamish, sustenance ungratefull,
Your appetite will seeme in nought delighting,
Your heart still greeued with continuall byting,
The pulse beate hard and swift, all hot, extreame,
Your spittle soure, of fire-worke oft you dreame.
If Flegme abundance haue due limits past,
These signes are here set downe will plainly shew,
The mouth will seeme to you quite out of taste,
And apt with moisture still to overflow,
Your sides will seeme all sore downe to the waist,
Your meat wax loathsome, your digestion slow,
Your head and stomacke both in so ill taking,
One seeming euer griping tother aking:
With empty veynes, the pulse beat slow and soft,
In sleepe, of seas and ryuers dreaming oft.

But if that dangerous humour ouer-raigne,
Of Melancholy, sometime making mad,
These tokens then will be appearing plaine,
The pulse beat hard, the colour darke and bad:
The water thin, a weake fantasticke braine,
False-grounded ioy, or else perpetuall sad,
Affrighted oftentimes with dreames like visions,
Presenting to the thought ill apparitions,
Of bitter belches from the stomacke comming,
His eare (the left especiall) euer humming.

So, what does all this say about our use of color, and the use of color in the architectural space?

I can’t give a definitive response to this query, but take a look at these interiors, and let me know what you think!

Red for the bed…a couple’s romantic red bedroom.

Blue for you…this is where you will stay as a guest in this house…in the blue guest room.

Mellow yellow? The blue guest room’s yellow and deco bath.

Green for clean?  This green room is the complementary master bath for the red bedroom above.

What does it all mean? Have we changed that much since 460 B.C?  Certainly not our “humors”, nor their hues. If we truly peruse and analyze the ancient Greek scholars, we can probably discover methodologies and means timelessly revealing of the human body, spirit and psyche.  At any rate…it is a fascinating  area of study and contemplation, and one befitting our Color Muze,on  Artistically Speaking Talk Show and  Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

if anyone is interested in further humor-ous (or other) exploration, please consider checking out these sites for further fascination, fun and fancy…and maybe a few insights along the way!.

May YOU live long, and healthy.

http://www.greekmedicine.net/b_p/Four_Humors.html

http://www.thecolourworks.com/pdfs/Hippocrates%20the%20Four%20Humours%202.pdf

http://thecolourworks.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hippocrates-galen-the-four-humours/

Varieties of Verdigris

Varieties of Verdigris

The word “verdigris” comes from the Middle English vertegrez, from the Old French verte grez, an alteration of vert-de-Grèce, or “green of Greece”.  The modern French spelling  is vert-de-gris. What a  romantic and poetic linguistic lineage.
Verdigris is  the natural patina which forms on the surface of  copper, bronze, or brass as it is exposed to air and water, wind and weather over time.  In essence, it is the weathering, or tarnishing of these metals, and shows itself in a variety of green hues.  As a faux finisher, and decorative painter, the “look” can be achieved through the controlled (or not) application of chemicals to these metals, which form a blueish green “deposit’, or pigment.   Indeed, verdigris was used as a pigment to create greens in paintings and other art objects.  Until the 19th century, verdigris was the most vibrant green pigment (paint colorant) available.  It’s earliest known use was in the 14th Century.

The other way of creating a verdigris finish. i.e., the look of verdigris, is by the simple or not so simple, application of green and other-hued paints manipulated over a base coat. This method, to my way of thinking, is by far the more fun, as  a virtual universe of verdigris can be created.  The effect of painted verdigris is by and large controllable, a claim which cannot always be made for chemical reactions.

The vibrant, yet natural-looking verdigris finish above and below  was created by manipulating one custom-mixed hue of green over an exterior latex base coat: Benjamin Moore’s “Pueblo Brown 2102-30”.  The “verdigris” color is one part Benjamin Moore “Pear Green 2028-40” and three parts “Blue Spa 2052-40 “, drybrushed over a completely dry surface.

The verdigris color is wiped off is some areas, leaving a strie effect, and accentuating the texture of the base coated metal.  The surface textures, shifts of plane, and interplay between base and top colors offer enough variety to make the treatment visually interesting, and believable enough for passers-by to comment on the “copper“!

A verdigris treatment is often associated with copper, but as discussed above, also works with both bronze and brass.  On the door above and below, the client wanted a loose  (“messy” as she termed it!) look, that nonetheless complimented the charming building, and worked with the teal shutters and trim detail.  As the kick plate, address numbers, door knob, and mailboxes are a bronze hue, (as well as details of the light fixture), Benjamin Moore “Aged Bronze 231” was used as a base coat, with three blue to green hues dry-brushed over it to create the effect.

The bright golden-bronze hue provides a nice contrast to the cooler yet still warm greenish-blue flat exterior latex paints layered and manipulated over the darker base.  The textures  as well as the colors had to work in tandem to create a complete, coherent picture, “messiness’ not withstanding!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The rails above were base painted in a deep blackish green, Benjamin Moore “Black Forest Green (Exterior ready-made)” latex, then four more colors were applied consecutively over  the base painted surface. First, the coppery-toned Benjamin Moore “Suntan Bronze 1217” was dry-brushed sparingly, then “Cypress Green 509”, followed by “Garden Oasis 699” were stippled,. (All Benjamin Moore exterior latex colors.) Finally, a touch of the custom “Blue Spa 2018-40” and “Pear Green 2052-40” mix mentioned above was added as a subtle accent. The application and layering of five colors in total adds depth and detail to the final finish.

As the balcony railings are partially obscured by trees, and the Clients were less concerned about their appearance,  we opted to use only the two softer greens, “Cypress Green – 509” followed by “Garden Oasis 699” stippled over the same ready-made “Forest Green” base coat.  Because three of the five colors in the steps railings are the same, the color impression looks the same from a distance, an effect we wanted to achieve.

It’s interesting that verdigris, an actual effect of tarnishing and oxidation processes, can result is such  vivid green, teal, and even turquoise colors, as well as beautiful, variegated textures and patina.  It begs the issue of the value, aesthetic or otherwise, of antiquing, aging, even decay.  For what better purpose can we create art, decor and deign, then to both uplift, and deepen the human spirit by raising questions  of beauty and mortality, and the possible connections between the two?

What effect, finish, treatment or application, verdigris or otherwise has touched you with its beauty or other wise lately?  What has caused you to contemplate aesthetics…or, life’s big questions?  How about the relationship between the two?

If you feel so inspired, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all traveling through this thing called Life, together. Here’s to beauty…in all it’s forms.