Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Colors of Life and Keeping the Faith

The Colors of Life

I don’t know if it’s because I struggle with depression in Winter, but I realize that colors evoke a response in me. As I sit here snuggled in my bed typing on my little pink laptop, the thought of colors in life popped into my mind.

If I were to sift back through previous writings, I’m sure I’d come across previous comments I’ve made on colors (particularly, the universal physiological or psychological response to colors).

Similar to onomatopoeias, I equate some names colors with the sound of their names spoken aloud. If I say “pink“, my mouth purses as I prepare to puff out the word. HA! Speaking of onomatopoeias, “puff” is an excellent example, oh, but I digress!

Back to pink. Well, of course there are LOTS of shades of pink, and the color of my little pink laptop is more of a muted, frosted almost mauve pink. The color looks like it would be cool to the touch and smooth in texture.

Of course the response to colors varies on a spectrum as much as the color shades themselves. For instance, most would probably agree that black, on it’s color spectrum to gray is dark and depressing, yet others might find it to be quite soothing.

For me, a delightful riot for the senses can be found on material that has an array of colors, with iridescence reminiscent to a rainbow creating the eyes and the brain to quickly process and identify all the wondrous colors that it perceives. ASIDE: that is probably the most satisfying run-on sentence that I have ever written!

So we can agree that colors are often multi-faceted. The subtleties of which our brains perceive more on a subliminal level. Like the light of the sun touching on objects on Earth, the color changes based on the light, shadow, angle, and texture of the object that reflects it.

Focusing back to color (in Europe it‘s ‘colour‘), our use of the word itself is also often confusing. Technically, color is perceived on a small band of visible light on a large electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye is not fully aware of (i.e. we can only see above or near infrared). Technical details can be read at:

Color As a Term
-medium used “to color theater lights” by using color gels with names like Bastard Amber, Congo Blue, and Tipton Blue.

-the phrase “of color" a broad reference to people who are non-caucasian (not white). Such silliness continues with color references as ‘white people’ who are not white but kind of pink or beige or ‘black people’ who are not black, but more a spectrum from tan to dark brown.

-to ‘acquire color‘ - to turn red, especially in the face; to blush.

-a property depending on the relations of light to the eye, by which individual and specific differences in the hues and tints of objects are apprehended in vision; as, gay colors; sad colors, etc.

-any hue distinguished from white or black. NOTE: I was taught that black and white are not technically ‘a color’ because on a light spectrum 1) black is the total absence of color and 2) white represents all color.

-as a reference to color characteristics representing good health 1) ruddy complexion, 2) give color to my pale cheek.

-that which is used to give color; a paint; a pigment; as, oil colors or water colors.

-that which covers or hides the real character of anything; semblance; excuse; disguise; appearance.

-shade or variety of character; kind; species.

-a distinguishing badge, as a flag or similar symbol (usually in the plural); as, the colors or color of a ship or regiment; the colors of a race horse (that is, of the cap and jacket worn by the jockey).

-an apparent right; as where the defendant in trespass gave to the plaintiff an appearance of title, by stating his title specially, thus removing the cause from the jury to the court.
NOTE regarding legal pleadings 1) color is express when it is averred, 2) color is implied when it is implied.

Source: Webster’s Dictionary (circa 1913)

Perception of Color

Our perception is based on ‘color sensors’ of which we have three (red, green, blue).
Interestingly 8 percent of males are color-blind (they have the blue sensor, but are either missing or have a distorted color sensor for red or green. Interestingly, that would mean that not all people have an identical perception of color! Source:

The Color Wheel
Remember learning the color wheel in school? You had the primary colors and the intermediates that you could mix together to create other colors.

By adding an intermediate color to a primary color, you would actually be demonstrating subtractive colors. Along those lines, light works the same way…The primary colors for light are red, green, and blue, and the intermediates are brighter than the primaries because there is more total light present in them. Check out this link for an example of an additive color wheel:

Of course, the difference is the color wheel is circular (duh!) and the visible spectrum on light is laid on a straight line.

If you imagine bending the visible spectrum into a circle.

The color wheel is useful for observing multiple wavelengths of light simultaneously (what do I get if I mix red and blue?). The color wheel is not representative of the real world - only our perception of it. For many species, our color wheel would be meaningless. REMEMBER! Your pet dog or cat doesn’t see the world in ‘color’ like you do!

For me, I’m happy for the colors of life that help me be positive and healthy. Of course, I have a strong predilection for those ‘pause moments’ where I can have a frozen in time experience of childlike wonderment.

I smile to myself realizing that my nickname, ‘smileywoman’ really does suit me.

I’ll continue to surround myself with the colors that evoke a positive response, and revel in the delight of all the colors on the spectrum that I can see and enjoy daily.

I’m happy to be at the place in my life where I am confident and at peace with myself and my past. Obviously, I still have my dark moments of fear, doubt etc. but those will always be there (hopefully few and less intense than in the past). I pinpoint this ephinany to a number of factors, but the most influential is probably Faith.

The rainbow is considered by those of Faith to be a reminder from God that he will never again flood the world like he did when Noah had to build the Ark. Rainbows are the ultimate visual wonder showing the full, visual spectrum of light to humanity. Yes, I’ll continue to keep the faith, and I like that reminder.

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