Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Vivid Color

I tend to get obsessed when I cannot find an image or photo that conveys my vision or memory. I dig through books and walk through my house looking for the color trying to duplicate what I saw. In my last post I promised to get back and tell you about a color that I saw in the dining room of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house. When I walked into this room I was absolutely stunned by the vivid and saturated feel of this extraordinary color. I was patiently and anxiously waiting for the tour guide to end her talk when someone in the tour, obviously had the same curiosity that I did, and asked about the amazing color in the room.
I actually purchased these roses at Whole Foods when I arrived home in my angst searching for the color. See the deep, very rich yellow that is in the center of these roses. This is the color that I saw in the Jefferson dining room.
And this is the color I have in my kitchen. I know, it is a bit bright, but I can't seem to get enough color in my life. So when I was in Jefferson's dining room, I was almost certain that this was the color I had chosen as well.
I even bought this book to appease my quest. What I discovered was a bit complicated, but there was a color called "chrome yellow" and of course it had some of the substances that we now consider toxic. Yet, how in the world could you limit your palette when there was a color that was so joyful and energetic? I need to learn more and I will. It reminds me of my fascination with textile dyeing and printing. There really is no end to the information one can unearth.
Along with my passion for collecting textiles, I love collecting books. I decided I certainly had something on my bookshelf that might help me in my quest. I discovered some really great information in Colors: The Story of Dyes and Pigments. I have several of these books packed with solid information as well as exquisite photos. (The book next to it on Matisse, whom I love, also has great inspiration for color ideas.) Allow me to quote from page 80-81 for the book on colors...."in England in 1780 by an industrialist named Turner" (no, not the famous Turner the artist) patented a color named yellow. And here is the crux of the matter. Vauquelin, a French chemist, discovered chromium when he analyzed in 1797"an orange-red mineral called Siberian red lead (crocoite) discovered in the Ural Mountains in 1765. When ground, it was used as an orange pigment by some artists. "He detected a new metal, which he isolated and named chromium, or chrome (Greek for color), due to its extraordinary capacity to produce salts in many colors. One of the best colors made from chrome by Vauquelin was a fine bright-yellow pigment of lead chromate, opaque and easily manufactured". So here in this little gem of a book was my answer to this amazing color in Thomas Jefferson's home in Monticello.
Today I rearranged the paint on my shelves to coordinate with the pears that I painted for my updated website. I have to try and understand why it is with Annie Sloan's magnificent palette that we are not using more of the vibrant colors as well as the ones that are so distinctive and beautiful. I have always loved Paloma since I first pried open the lid and peered inside. It is pure heaven. At the other end of the color intensity is Scandinavian Pink. I actually painted the underside of a small table with this rich color and the piece itself in Provence. Today I set this table on top of an antique armoire so you can see the undercolor and what a delight it is.
Embrace a color you are afraid to choose, but one you know you would love to try. Life is too short to inhibit your vision and your dream. I think you just might surprise yourself with a growing love of new and mysterious colors!

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