Category Archives: colors

Fun Facts About Familiar Colors

Color. It defines our reality, evokes emotion, can affect our choices, and makes a difference in the way we look. All of us are familiar with the primary colors, but this post reveals some little-known facts that may surprise you.

Red:

Red is usually associated with power and passion. It is vibrant, daring, and attracts attention. For instance, think about the responses drawn by red cars and crimson lipstick.

Fun facts about red:

  • Although it’s widely believed that red capes make bulls angry, the reality is that bulls are colorblind. In this instance, the red lining is meant to conceal any bloodstains.
  • Seeing a red object can make your heart beat faster.
  • In China, brides wear red wedding dresses for good luck.
  • There are approximately 23 different shades of red crayons.

Orange:

The artist Wassily Kandinsky once said, “Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.” It’s one of those colors people love or hate. Vibrant and engaging, it is the only color of the spectrum that gets its name from an object- in this case the orange fruit.

Fun facts about orange:

  • In France, the middle traffic light is orange.
  • In Hindu tradition, orange is an auspicious and sacred color.
  • Orange is both the name and emblematic color of the British royal family.
  • The ‘black boxes’ on aircraft are really bright orange so they can be located more easily.

Yellow:

German writer and statesman Johann von Goethe said in 1840, “With yellow the eye rejoices, the heart expands, the spirit is cheered and we immediately feel warmed.’ The same holds true today: yellow is associated with optimism and enlightenment.

Fun facts about yellow:

  • Although yellow is considered a peaceful color, people lose their tempers more frequently in yellow rooms.
  • Legal pads are yellow because it improves concentration ability.
  • 75% of the pencils sold in the U.S. are yellow.
  • A yellow flag indicates a medical quarantine.

Green:

Green is not just a color anymore; it is a symbol of environmentally friendly products, buildings, and lifestyles. Green has represented growth, regeneration, and fertility since the beginning of time.

Fun facts about green:

  • People waiting to appear on TV wait in ‘green rooms’ because the color can soothe a bad case of the nerves.
  • Hospital decor is usually green because it calms patients.
  • Seamstresses won’t use green thread before a fashion show, fearing it can cause bad luck.
  • Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to represent fertility.

Blue:

Blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the human body to produce calming chemicals, which is why it’s often used in bedrooms. Blue is also gender-neutral, appealing to both men and women equally.

Fun facts about blue:

  • Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it represents loyalty.
  • Weightlifters can lift heavier weights in blue-walled gyms.
  • Workers are more productive in blue rooms.
  • Blue plates make food appear less appealing: a note to dieters!

Indigo:

We have Isaac Newton to thank for adding indigo to the color spectrum. He wanted the number of colors to match the seven-tone musical scale of Rene Descartes, so indigo was chosen to bring the color spectrum count to seven.

Fun facts about blue:

  • Black light turns ripe bananas a bright indigo color.
  • During the Elizabethan era, only royalty, nobility, and members of the Council could legally wear indigo.
  • Indigo is often called ‘royal’ blue.
  • The Virgin Mary is frequently depicted wearing indigo clothing.

Purple:

Because it appears so rarely in nature and is expensive to create, purple has a powerful history that has evolved with the centuries. It is the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow and denotes wealth and sophistication.

Fun facts about purple:

  • The Romans used to extract an essence for making purple by boiling thousands of marine snails.
  • In some cultures, purple is the color of mourning.
  • Only two of the world’s flags contain purple.
  • In Italy, performers refuse to go on stage wearing purple.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Colorful Jewelry Inspired by Classic Art

Red Artwork is Worth Fortunes

The Reason Why Barns Are Red

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The Gift of Color Vision

There is a rare condition that’s not fatal, but many artists would kill to have it. It is called tetrachomacy. Its main symptom is near-superhuman vision.

Impressionist painter Concetta Antico has tetrachomacy. When she examines a leaf, she sees a “mosaic of color,” not just shades of green.

“Around the edge I’ll see orange or red or purple in the shadow; you might see dark green but I’ll see violet, turquoise, blue,” she says. In her line of work, this ‘disorder’ is a rare gift that produces extraordinary works of art.

Tetrachromats have more receptors in their eyes to absorb color, letting them see hues that are invisible to everyone else. The average person has three cones, or photoreceptor cells in the retina that control color vision and allow people to see up to a million colors. Tetrachromats have four cones, so they can detect nuances and dimensions of color that others can’t.

Researchers believe that one percent of the world population is tetrachromatic. According to Kimberly Jameson, a cognitive scientist at the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at the University of California in Irvine, the differences between the color range perceived by a tetrachromat and someone with normal vision is not as drastic as the difference between someone who is colorblind and someone who is not.

After studying Concetta Antico’s genes, Jameson determined that her fourth cone absorbs color wavelengths that are “reddish-orangey-yellow.” As a cognitive scientist, Jameson is fascinated with how people like tetrachromats can form and communicate concepts, especially since their visual perception of the world is so different.

Research suggests that tetrachromacy may be more widespread than assumed: those who have it don’t always notice because they haven’t trained their brains to pay attention. Antico admits that she was more color-aware than most children; at age seven she was painting and thoroughly fascinated with color. Because of the extensive exposure at an early age, her brain wired itself to notice and take advantage of her tetrachromacy.

She actively supports continued research into mutations that affect color perception. Her reasons are personal: five years ago, her seven-year old daughter was diagnosed as colorblind. Antico believes that the more she helps science professionals understand tetrachromacy, the better they will be able to help her daughter one day.

Kimberly Jameson agrees. “If we understand genetic potential for tetrachromacy and how their perception differs,” she says, “we can understand quite a lot about visual processing of color that we currently don’t understand.”

Antico may actually be helping colorblind individuals via her art. She has been teaching painting for over 20 years, and many of her students have been color-deficient. Jameson has looked at their artwork and found it to be surprisingly color-aware. She believes that Antico’s sensitivity to color differences at a very early age may have given her the understanding and articulation to help these students. It’s a hypothesis that still needs to be proved empirically, but raises the possibility that people’s perception of color can be improved by retraining their brains.

Antico has her own art gallery in San Diego and hopes to one day open an art school for the colorblind, to help them improve their color-awareness.

“What if we tetrachromats can show the way to color for people who are less fortunate than us?” she says. “I want everyone to realize how beautiful the world is.”

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

EnChroma Introduces Colorblind People to Color

The Importance of Color Vision and Art

Blind Artist’s Vision is Clearer than that of Sighted Individuals

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Color of the Year, 2015

Have you noticed that certain colors are trendy? Some are ‘in’ while others are ‘out’. Many reincarnate as ‘vintage’ or ‘retro.” This brings up one question: what will the ‘It’ color be for 2015?

According to the PPG Pittsburgh Paints® brand, it’s Blue Paisley—a decadent shade that is almost royal blue but retains an identity all its own. Experts at the company predict that Blue Paisley will feature prominently in home decor trends in 2015, when homeowners are expected to favor vibrant and expressive hues that inspire and represent their hopes and dreams.

Nowadays, homeowners are turning to multiple regions and influences for decor inspiration, seeking to change their home environments into a celebration of worldly possibilities. By choosing colors like Blue Paisley, which represent global diversity, they inject an exciting and worldly aura into their living spaces.

Blue Paisley is featured in one of four new color palettes developed by Pittsburgh Paints to showcase the anticipated 2015-16 color trends. The company’s national color marketing manager explained, “We are experiencing the popularity of the soft blue shade across all markets, such as home decor, automotive and electronics, making it a clear PPG Color of the Year selection.”

PPG’s creative team of color stylists from around the world worked together to conceive and develop the underlying idea and philosophy behind the four new palettes. Homeowners are encouraged to choose color combinations that are representative of their aspirations for the coming year. At their disposal are friendly and vibrant hues such as Jewel Weed, fiery and energetic colors like Firecracker, and cool, sophisticated tones such as Copper River.

The four new palettes are:

  1. Good Life: This fresh and earthy palette represents harmony. Organic sources, such as floral colors, earthy neutrals, and crisp sea blues inspired this palette’s variety of naturally bold hues.
  2. I’m Pulse: Bold, expressive, and artistic, “I’m Pulse” represents creativity. Color traces of classic, pop, abstract, and digital art are reflected in the intense yellows, hot blues, burnt pinks and sultry greens.
  3. Co-Leidescope: This trend, which represents possibilities, has a color scheme designed to be “ethnicity-inclusive, culture-inclusive and co-existence-inclusive”. Purple and green in deep jewel tones, spicy reds, and shining yellows reflect a global essence that will appeal to existing and aspiring jetsetters.
  4. Introsense: Like Co-Leidescope, this palette represents possibilities but takes a much softer approach with ‘zen neutrals’ such as gentle blues and indulgent pinks. Soft tints add a factor of serenity and sensitivity, resulting in minimalistic styling that blends clean designs with quiet nature.

PPG’s national color marketing manager added that the growth and strengthening of global connections has increased overall desire to adopt the unique features and colors of natural surroundings.

Portrait of smiling young woman“Whether it’s recognizing the contrasts of our manmade environment versus what nature provides as a way to identify the simple, earthen spirit through natural muted tones, or embracing the bold and expressive hues of a self-centric and artistic being, the desire to recognize the possibility of what’s ahead is appealing.”

Which of these four palettes do you prefer? Let us know by responding in the comment section below.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

The Colors of Fall: 5 Shades for a Stylish Season

Pantone’s World of Color

What Color Should You Paint Your Home?

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Can Changing Your Diet Alter Eye, Skin Color?

green and red healthy foodIt’s really happening: some people who follow raw diets are claiming that over time, their eye and skin color change.

Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, who blogs for FullyRaw, claimed in a YouTube video that her diet turned her eyes from dark brown to hazel, and she swears that blue is not too far off. Skeptics are scoffing, but she’s not the only one to make this assertion. According to Conscious Nourishment, a popular raw food blog, Steve Factor, “The Pure Energy Chef,” has noticed a gradual color change, too.

Carrillo-Bucaram, known among raw foodists as ‘Fully Raw Kristina’, said in her blog that eating a raw vegan diet not only cured her of the hyperglycemia that plagued her since childhood, it also changed the pigment in her irises. She consulted an iridologist, who told her that a poor diet creates toxic buildup that is reflected in the eyes.

“The cleaner you become, the cleaner your eyes become. I ate fully raw and I allowed my body to cleanse itself naturally,” she said, believing this caused the change in eye color.

Although no studies provide solid evidence for such claims, many raw diet aficionados and alternative healers believe that brown eyes signal the presence of toxins in the body, while blue eyes represent good health. They assert that when a person becomes healthier, their irises gradually turn blue or even light gray due to the body’s regeneration of new cells.

The effect of diet on skin is less controversial. It’s a running joke that snacking on too many carrot sticks will turn your skin orange, but there’s a real basis for this lighthearted warning: hypercarotenemia, or carotenosis, is a light orange skin discoloration resulting from high levels of carotene in the blood. It’s caused by eating high amounts of vitamin A, which carrots have in abundance.

Isabel Marant, the French fashion designer, says that she drinks carrot juice to give her skin a healthy glow. She told Harper’s Bazaar, “It’s true. I’ve noticed that I tan easily without being in the sun when I drink a glass of carrot juice.”

PlumbTalk Women - Lessons in Nutrition - Facebook AlbumIn 2010, Dr. Ian Stephen, who has studied the way a person’s face can affect how others perceive them, researched the connection between skin tone and a healthy appearance. He and his assistants discovered that a diet rich in certain fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cantaloupe, and tomatoes (which are high in carotene) result in a golden-hued complexion for certain study participants.

“Most people think the best way to improve skin tone is to get a suntan, but our research shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is actually more effective,” he said.

Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can improve your skin tone and may change your eye color, but it will definitely give you more energy, improve your digestion, and reduce your risk of developing heart and cardiovascular disease. That alone is enough to adopt a healthier diet. Blue eyes and a natural ‘suntan,’ should you experience either, will be an added bonus.

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James Ostrer’s Junk Food Art

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Coloring Each Season with Healthy Food

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The Writer Who Knows Her Colors

Who needs Pantone when you can create your own colors? A multi-talented artist from Los Angeles recently created a color chart that helps her write better.

Ingrid Sundberg knows color. You might find this statement ironic when presented with a picture of Ingrid. Her hair is currently purple. But an out-of-the-box hair color is only the tip of the iceberg. Ingrid Sundberg really knows her colors and she is sharing her knowledge with the world through a color thesaurus.

Arranging and naming 240 unique colors, Ingrid compiled a seemingly comprehensive thesaurus. However, her purpose in completing this strategic art activity was not to publish a reference manual. Her goal has always been to boost her creative writing. With this lexicon of colors before her, she can create descriptive and intriguing work. “I use it all the time when I write. It really helps in revision as I try to make my work fresh and vibrant,” says Ingrid.

Other writers benefit from this thesaurus, too. Those who read and follow Ingrid’s blog, “Ingrid’s notes,” may have known about the color guide. However, Ingrid wants everyone to know it is not official. “This was something I made for myself based on color words I liked and the colors the words evoked for me…” she tells Board Panda. This explains how inventive colors like bumblebee, tiger and penny made the list.

Now that multiple media sources have reported on the color thesaurus, some haters are emerging, claiming the various shades of black are too similar and pointing out how Pantone already created a comprehensive color chart. Unfortunately, these people overlook what motivated Ingrid to create such a chart in the first place. She was never trying to cut corners or appease the world around her; she wanted to create a tool to help her write descriptive and intriguing passages.

Such a color chart does more than enhance her writing; it may add to her visual artwork as well. That’s right—Ingrid publishes novels for young adult readers and illustrates children’s books, too.

Ingrid credits her broad range of artistic talents to a childhood where, living in Maine, she cultivated a vivid imagination. On her journey from being an engaged child to a lifelong learner, Ingrid received a bachelor’s degree in illustration and a master’s degree in screenwriting.

While we do not know if the color thesaurus helps Ingrid bake better (because yes – she bakes too: http://www.ingridcakes.blogspot.com/), she likes its assistance so much that she is making additional color charts: a hair color chart and “emotions/facial expressions thesaurus” are in the works.

It seems that Ingrid has accomplished what she intended. Better yet, she has proven to be a talented creative writer: her first book, All We Left Behind, will be published in 2015.

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Art on Color is No Joke

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The Evolution of Crayola Crayon Colors

1c The Evolution of Crayola Crayon ColorsIf you explore colors at Crayola.com you are greeted by a display of pixilated colors, but the varying shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple only tell half the story. Today, there are over 120 Crayola crayon colors. This is a far cry from the eight colors Binney & Smith first presented in 1903.

Many of us agree that color seems to be one of life’s constants. Crayola might agree, arguing that their colorful crayons don’t change; they multiply.

In fact, after evaluating the evolution of Crayola colors between 1903 and 2010, it appears that Crayola crayon colors grow 2.56 percent each year. According to artist/scientist Stephen Von Worley’s blog, datapointed.net, this means Crayola crayon colors double every 28 years. Therefore, 120 colors today may mean 330 shades in 2050. To this, Worley says, “…Crayola’s gonna need a bigger box…”

This may bring up the question, might we discover more colors?

It may be possible to answer this question by tracing the Crayola crayon collection back to its roots. The original eight colors were known as hues. Hues are pure colors. If white is added to hues, a new family of color is born. These colors are known as tints. When gray is added to hues, the newly produced colors are known as tones. Adding black to hues creates shades. In calculating the amount of colors that derive from hues, tints, tones and shades we have 32 colors, which is only half of Crayola’s “Big Box.”

1a The Evolution of Crayola Crayon ColorsLooking at the chart posted on datapointed.net, Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010, it is evident that Crayola colors go far beyond mixing white, gray, and black with pure colors. Crayola mixes colors with colors to create crayons like “Lavender Lollipop Violet,” “Mountain Meadow,” and “Red Orange.” They even have two shades titled, “Blue Green” and “Green Blue.” Ironically enough, these are two completely different crayons.

However, Crayola also discontinues crayon colors. Some of the recent retirees include, “magic mint” and “orange red.”

In recent years, Crayola has led the innovation of colors with collections like “Multicultural,” which includes skin tone shades that match many ethnicities. They also boast metallic, gel, and glitter collections.

Crayola is known to think outside the box when it comes to research and development. Therefore, it is hard to say they’ve found every color under the sun. This company is in the color creation business. We might have to wait until 2050 to see just how many more colors they create.

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Color Your Home, Change Your Mood

“Color is the spice of life,” says interior designer Mario Buatta. “It’s a mood-changer. You change the color from room to room to create a new mood.”

This statement epitomizes the impact color has on our emotional wellbeing and points to the importance of surrounding ourselves with home décor that encourages positivity.

Many people view their homes as sanctuaries. What do you consider your home? Does your interior design reflect the mood you want to set when in this unique environment?

If you want your home to be a sanctuary, it begins with incorporating colors that can influence your mood and the moods of others.

In a recent AOL.com article, top designers offer advice on color schemes that enhance mood. Here is what some experts are saying:

BUNNY WILLIAMS – DEFY TRENDS

“It’s important to choose colors that are easy to live with, which means ignoring trends. What’s timeless is to invent your own color schemes.”

MILES REDD – BE BOLD

“I love disparate rich colors paired next to each other—like taxicab and indigo. The tension that they make on the color wheel is dazzling. Each color makes the other more vibrant than when they stand alone.”

KELLY WEARSTLER – GENDER EQUALITY

“Pink-and-black is confident and chic. I always love to play up the sexy tension between masculine and feminine elements in design.”

STEVEN GAMBLER – ALL EYES ON THE KITCHEN

“Kitchens now act as a part of a house’s public space… It’s important that the kitchen feel as warm and friendly as a sitting room.”

TIMOTHY CORRIGAN – GREEN HARMONY

“I find it important to create homes that serve as our places of sanctuary from the outside world, so I often use green in a prominent role. It’s a color that represents harmony and balance, and you can’t help but feel a little bit calmer after spending time in a room surrounded by green.

Do you view your home as a sanctuary? If so, what colors do you use to highlight the essence of this matchless location?

After reviewing the philosophies of famous designers, it clear to see that beautiful homes come in all sorts of color schemes. As a personal oasis, your home ought to reflect your character and surround you with colors that encourage you and lift your mood.

Color is a powerful tool that can influence mood. When it is applied to the right location, it can have a positive influence on you.

 

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What Color Should You Paint Your Home?

Decorate Your Home Office to Inspire Creativity

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EnChroma Introduces Colorblind People to Color

EnChromaFor many people, being colorblind is a way of life. There are no magic pills to take or corrective surgeries to explore. Once the diagnosis is reached, it is highly unlikely that a person will ever see beyond his or her dingy view of the world.

Unless he or she has the help of new age corrective lenses by EnChroma®, seeing color is near impossible.

Prescription glasses have been correcting eye problems for years. Now, Digital Color BoostTM technology is making up for what colorblind people lack. The journey to discover these compensatory lenses began about one decade ago. Scientists at Enchroma, the company that owns and distributes the Digital Color Boost sunglasses, were given grant money to find an optical solution to the age-old problem of colorblindness.

Scientist found that “…by filtering wavelengths of light, the color signal sent to the brain could be amplified.” Filtration is provided by the Digital Color Boost coating, which is sometimes put onto lenses 100 layers thick. From there, cuts are strategically made in the spectrum to manipulate incoming wavelengths. This allows some photons to pass through the lenses while others are blocked, which in turn introduces color to the colorblind.

The science and technology goes far beyond the scope of common thought, but EnChroma makes it easy to digest in the “How it Works” section on their website (http://enchroma.com/technology/how-it-works/).

Beyond the technology, the packaging of EnChroma sunglasses and the public’s reception of the product is anything but confusing. People are crazy about this product and how it remedies a problem that, for so long, people accepted as, “the way it is.”

Playwright Kelly Kittell told BoingBoing.net, “The first time I saw brick red I was so overwhelmed I stopped cold. Purple and lavender, where have you been all my life?” Lives are changing thanks to the new technology that is introducing them to a world of color.

Kittell goes onto admit that it is distracting to use the glasses at first. “You won’t be able to stop yourself from peeking under the glasses over and over again to verify your favorite gray sweater is actually a dusty rose. It is.”

His thoughts are confirmed by a young caucasian boy, the demographic who is the most likely to be diagnosed with color blindness. Owen’s mom and dad surprised him with EnChroma sunglasses one day. They recorded his reaction to share with the EnChroma blog. Check out Owen’s reaction as he challenges himself to keep the sunglasses on his face after being shocked by color: http://enchroma.com/call-for-enchroma-videos/.

EnChroma understands exactly what they do for the people whom they serve. Their tag line boasts: Color for the Colorblind. With digital color boost technology, they are doing what has thought of as impossible. They are introducing people with colorblindness to the world of color.

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Color-changing Properties Make Gold Multi-purposeful

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The Artist Who Wants to Banish Fear of Color

kafe fassettKaffe Fassett has often said that his mission in life is to “banish the fear of color.” He plays with rainbow hues the same way a painter mixes shades on a palette, using needlepoint, patchwork, painting, knitting, and ceramics to create a veritable feast of color.

An exhibition of his work, titled “The Colorful World of Kaffe Fassett,” is on display at the American Museum in Britain until November 2. Laura Beresford, the exhibition’s curator, describes the show as “textile art.”

The spectacle begins at the entrance to the exhibit area, where knitted strands decorate the garden lamps and multicolored pom-poms hang from an aged tree like jewel-bright fruit. Once inside, the visitor is treated to even more dramatic visual treasures: a royal red Chinese vase presides over other scarlet-hued creations, a deep blue patchwork rug replicates Turkish tile flooring, and crisp green vegetable patterns (from artichokes through onions to cabbages and leeks) are woven into cushions with startling detail.

The author of more than thirty books, Kaffe Fassett has hosted TV and radio program for the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, where he currently resides. In 1988 his design and color work was the subject of a one-man show at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum, marking the first time a living fabric artist had a dedicated show there. The same show went on to tour nine countries. He has designed stage props and costumes for the Royal Shakespeare Company and exhibited his quilts, knitting, and needlepoint at the Modemuseum Hasselt, Belgium in 2007. Not surprisingly, his autobiography is titled ‘Dreaming in Color.’
kafe fassett 1Among the items on display at the American Museum is a knitted bodice and skirt with flowing and dotted sleeves that he created with UK designer Bill Gibb, walls of hand-knitted sweaters made from silk and alpaca, and a vibrant full-sleeved coat that Fassett knitted after seeing Rudolf Nureyev in a ballet of “Romeo and Juliet.” The exhibition also includes Fassett’s pen-and-ink drawings from 1964, which hang in a room dedicated to artwork from the 17th century.

Fassett, whose self-proclaimed motto is “When in doubt- add twenty more colors” has even made his famous craft-related quotes part of the exhibition. They have been printed on posters and hung on a multicolored wall, silently reminding visitors of the philosophy that drives his vision.

The American Museum was founded in 1961 to showcase American artwork and crafts. Situated inside a 19th-century manor, it features wood-panelled rooms full of handcrafted furniture from Connecticut or Massachusetts. A collection of more than 250 patchwork quilts provided plenty of color to offset the neutral shades of the Shakers.

When asked about future exhibition dates and details, Fassett smiles affably and shrugs his shoulders beneath a multicolored shirt. He wears a purple sweater tied around his neck and deep green corduroy trousers. This vagueness about date and place is understandable from an artist who turned his back on black and white long ago and has remained staunchly faithful to a playful color credo.

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Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian Art

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Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian ArtAround 200 AD, color became a focal point in Christian art. In the beginning, each color’s meaning was taken from Ancient Greek and Roman interpretations, but soon the Bible became the color guide for Christian artists.

When the Roman Catholic Church began using color to represent liturgical seasons, five were chosen as standard: purple, white, black, red, and green. Years later, blue and gold were added. Later on, two more colors joined the list: vibrant orange, which represented courage and strength, and rich brown, the symbol of earth and humility.

These key colors and their variants are apparent in surviving pieces of medieval Christian art and religious iconography.

● Purple, a royal color since ancient times, is also associated with repentance. It is the liturgical color for Lent and Advent.

● White symbolizes innocence, purity, and virtue. To this day it remains the representative color for all of the Christian high Holy Days, such as Christmas and Easter.

● Black is regarded as the symbol of death and mourning, although in some instances it could represent power. Black is the color associated with Good Friday.

● Red is the color of Pentecost and symbolizes the Holy Spirit. During the Medieval period it represented the blood of Christian martyrs.

● Green glorifies the season of Epiphany. It celebrates fertility, nature, bounty, and hope.

● Yellow (gold) symbolizes hope, light, and purity. When combined with white, it is the symbolic color for the Easter season.

● Blue embodies heavenly grace. The Virgin Mary is often depicted wearing blue.

Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian Art 1During the Middle Ages, color and light became important mediums for artistic expression. Color in particular was a vehicle for illustrating a higher reality, so shading was discouraged in favor of pure color. On canvas, human skin was not flesh-colored, but a pearly and ethereal white. Blood was a life-rich red, and skies and lakes were more cerulean than blue. Mixing paint became an art form in itself, as artists tried to reproduce the desired hues as clearly as possible.

Although there was a system in place for color symbolism, it was not set in stone. Artists yielded to a natural impulse and added their own interpretations while paying lip service to the original standards. In the study halls and libraries, theologians and philosophers assigned additional meanings to each shade in the artists’ palette. It can make things confusing for modern art historians, especially when you take into consideration that the color symbolism of religious art found its way into secular art too. But a strong enough core system was in place to allow reasonable interpretation to be possible even today.

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The Stories Behind Holiday Colors

Colors Red and Purple: A History of Emotion

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