With the completion of so many homes, buildings, and cottages here at Mount Soma, I have learned a great deal about color.
First, I learned that samples of paint chips are nearly useless. Many times, a group of people would put their heads together to pour over paint chip samples and finally came to an agreement. After the paint went on the wall, everyone was amazed (and occasionally horrified) how different it looked.
Second, a color may look great on one wall and completely different on another, even in the same room. Throw in the different times of day, and direct or indirect sunlight, and you would be certain it is a different paint entirely!
A significant percentage of the population is colorblind. I count myself in that category, at least to some small degree. My experience is that I see all the colors. I know all the colors. However, it is as if the color receptors are just weak. In certain lighting, or up against certain other colors, a color can get somewhat ‘lost’.
To understand color and our relationship with it is to understand LIFE. We all have some types of ‘receptors’ that are weak. For some people, it is about dancing. Everyone can see what a good dancer looks like. But the integration of that in our own bodies may be weak. Knowing a good dancer when you see one does not make you a good dancer.
With others, it is as if the ‘intelligence receptors’ are weak. They know what logic is… but to follow along in a conversation and arrive at a logical conclusion evades them. Confusion, emotion, brain fatigue, or tangential thoughts take over. To be completely honest, I feel sometimes that my weak color receptors gave me the gift of understanding the weak ‘mental receptors’ that many people live with throughout their lives. It helps me understand how some are baffled by my inability to distinguish colors at times. It is indeed difficult for us to imagine what life must be like for another with a weak receptor in an arena where ours is strong.
Now, combine this with the second point above: In life, anything can be viewed from many different angles, perspectives, belief systems, and contexts. The possible combinations of situations are endless. How is it possible then to fathom the hue, tone, shade, feel, and truth of a particular color? How can one fathom their way through life?!
And trying to mix paints defies everything. To make your own custom colors is a mind expanding and humbling experience. No wonder creativity is so elusive for so many!
Now the first point, namely, sample paint chips. It is very challenging, if not impossible, to learn about life from paint chip samples. At best, it is knowledge with a small “k.” To find Knowledge within yourself is what life is ultimately about. Scholars are not scholars if they have not found Truth within themselves. Teachers are not teachers if they do not know their subject from within. Yet, so many go out into the world with their deck of ‘paint chip samples’ and believe themselves to be authorities, scholars, teachers, gurus, etc. They wear their paint chips as badges of honor, degrees of accomplishment, or licenses to practice.
Some may read all this and find it to be depressing, “How will I ever figure it all out?” But never forget, the beauty of life lies in its unfathomable, sublime, and elusive nature. It is something to be in eternal awe over. Beauty lies in the elusive nature of Maya, the Goddess, the Source.
The parallels of color with life are endless. Jyotish (the study of the interaction of the spectrum of variables that form life, existence, and its function and operation) is the study of color. “Jyotish” even means light.
“Thank you” seems to fall so short when it comes to expressing gratitude for your blogs however I have no doubt you know how much you are appreciated.
This one had an element of fun for me because I have studied the concepts of color for many years…hair color:)
I will work with this one for a long time to come.
jyotish is life is light is color is sound is vibration is everything
Wow! I love this blog. This is amazingly beautiful…and humbling. I’m also a little color blind, but this give so many angles and levels of understanding to blind spots and perception.
This should be on the hone page.
What a delightful and useful analogy! Beautiful on many levels. Thank you for so many things…
My Grandfather was said to be completely color blind. I am just red green color blind. I find color has another quality other than chroma and tone that is more of a feeling. Together colors react in ways similar to chemical reactions. Its in relationship to other colors that I often can tell what a color is. They all seem to either vibrate in harmony or not with each other. If I know what one color is it helps me to intuit the other.
Its best if I can touch a color in sunlight. Its almost as if you can taste a color at times. As if some colors are savory and some sweet. Its all associations from deep merky places. As if smelling vanilla while viewing chartreuse changes the shade.
As an on and off again oil painter I often copied and morphed old master’ paintings. I found that the color can be a distraction and ignoring it allowed me to concentrate on form and tone and feeling and then when you get those things right the colors just seems to follow. A ”water the root” kind of thing.
When I paint a form I often paint the negative space around the form first. Every color that surrounds a thing is also in the thing. So if you define the surroundings the object just reveals itself.
The eye seems to detect disharmony above all else. The more every color is in everything the more real it looks in a painting. When one paints the curve of an apple it will appear more real if it is constructed with a series of straight lines. Its as if everything is defined by its opposite and color is no exception.
Out in the world color blends always feel more soothing to me. As if a color all alone is out of balance and can only be known in a relationship that changes. Thanks for this blog. John
As with life, there is no end to what we can say about color.
Wow. Great blog and comments! It makes me think of when I have made collages out of magazine pictures. The process is more than selecting images; so much is additionally relayed in the relationship of the images. And the image contains not only it’s subject matter, but also color, shape, line, and feeling. Collaging creates a larger story with the relationship of the images and their elements. THEN, knowing what the collage means to me, it is fascinating to show it to others and hear what they see in it. Often they pick up layers I was totally unaware of that add so much more to the meaning of the collage! Art is a practice that celebrates and illustrates the illusive nature of “Maya, the Goddess, Source.” It reminds me how small I am, how limited my capacity.