Wednesday, 30 June 2010

How do you see colours

and describe them to other people?
There are times when this seems simple. The traffic lights are red...or amber...or green. They are A or B or C. Someone else gets a blue ribbon for first. Simple.
But, "well it was a sort of red colour" can mean anything at all from deepest, almost black, maroon through fire-engine red to something that begins to look orange or purple or something else.
The knitter and patchworker Kaffe Fassett says, "if you put enough colours together something will match". Maybe. He has a superb sense of colour. Other people will struggle to put two colours together. They do not see colour in the same way as he does. They do not see colour in the way I do either.
As I was heading for the bookshop yesterday I was stopped by someone I know. She was looking at a rack of reduced clothing outside one of the sort of shops that do not interest me. I am not terribly interested in clothes, I am even less interested in the sort of "in fashion" clothes sold by such shops, especially at their over-inflated prices.
"What do you think Cat?" she asked me, holding up a garment next to her face.
I wondered if she really wanted to know. Am I expected to really tell her or does she want me to confirm her view? The garment is pink - a colour I do not like. I never wear pink. My preference is for the other end of the spectrum. I am not sure that particular pink is her colour either - even if I liked the garment, which I do not.
Before I could say any more she said, "Isn't it a divine pink?"
"You're asking the wrong person. I don't like pink much - never wear it."
We are at least agreed that it is pink. She hauls out another garment. It is one of those not-quite shades of maybe-purple with a tinge of pink about it.
"Well this one, do you like this pink?"
"It's not pink."
"Of course it is."
"If you say so...look I have to go..."
I left her debating the merits of pink and may-be pink or may-be purple garments.
In the bookshop they were debating other colours, the new colour card from the Bendigo Woollen Mill to be precise. I left them to it and found a card for the member of the group who has just lost her son. They stopped debating colours and decided on a message for the card.
After that I was told that something which is more orange to me was actually red. I said nothing.
"Want to have a look Cat?" I was asked eventually and the colour card was passed over to me. All the colours are called "Wild...something." There is pink on the card they call Wild Orchid. I shudder at the candy pinkness of it. I am not sure why a pale blue is called Wild Opal but it is a definite improvement on the pink. At least the Wild Apple a little further down is green and there is Wild Ivy, another green of sorts. At the bottom there is a blue called "Wild Storm" - which about says it for colour and me yesterday.

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