April 06, 2011

From Gold to Grey and White

Surely with all the vast problems in the world we ought not be so concerned about the weather.  The fact of brilliant sunshine in California and prevailing gray skies in Washington can't be so important in view of the difficulties so many are facing these days.  Deep down I know this and yet feel myself affected by climate and landscape, the slippery wet turf under my feet in Olympia, pthalo green tinted with black in the big forest trees with gray sky.  This is in sharp contrast to the open primary green fields, yellow shadows and blue sky of California.  Nickel azo yellow predominates in the south.

Gray is the result of mixing red and blue.  To arrive at the north's forest colors we might mix anthraquinone blue with quinacridone magenta.  Magenta and phthalo green will get you black.  Granted there are browns in the tree trunks, but not the browns that lean toward orange.  It's a gray brown close to Payne's gray.  There's almost no yellow.

Yellow must be used to mix colors of the south.  Yellow with magenta to get burnt orange and yellow mostly with red to get bright orange.  The fields will turn from a bright primary green to the color of straw, or yellow ochre, in summer.

Color is around us all the time and various combinations of color have an effect upon us.  We humans are capable of perceiving literally millions of hues and the combinations of colors are infinite.  Some painters, such as Kandinsky, believed that color had sound and so he tried to paint the nature of sound.  We certainly know that kinds of sounds are also infinite, and there are bright and dull sounds, unpleasant and pleasant sounds as well as colors and combinations of them.

I'm no expert at color theory.  It's a very big subject and there are various scientific as well as cultural theories of color.  I only know I am aware of color and light and how I am affected by light and landscape wherever I live.

And, it must have been a very strange thing to have snow fall on that bleak destruction in the Japan tsunami zone.  One moment to be looking out at the array of color heaped with the goods of everyday life and hours later as the flakes fell, to look at a vast white field as if even the destruction had been erased, like a giant white band-aid that would make the horror go away.  The howling of color silenced by snow.