The “Making Colour” Exhibition at the National Gallery opens the mind, if you let it, to all sorts of connections … which led me on to think about blogging creativity that has been a subject of discussion at Karen Jones Gowen’s and Denise Covey’s blogs …
The exhibition explores the backdrop to art today … we go from the earth pigments of cave art and body painting, textile dyeing (of which our knowledge is less, due to decay) …
… to the introduction of the golds and silvers used by the early Church as Bede described how St Augustine, in 597AD, held and processed with a silver cross and illuminated book, which reflected the light to stir their congregations to praise God …
|Deer being killed by a lion: marble|
closure slab from Constantinople
As our explorative nature led us further afield for new riches – Venice grew as a great entrepôt (trading base) with both land and maritime trade routes …
The Crusaders went to Byzantium, whose capital Constantinople (Istanbul) was the largest and wealthiest European city in the 1100 – 1200s AD …
The 4th Crusade (1202-4 AD) broke down with the crusaders ransacking the place until order could be restored … a great many of the stolen treasures arrived in Venice, with the fleeing artisans following …
|Giotto's portrait of Dante|
early 14th century
Venice for the next few centuries shaped ideas … it was the centre for European colour … glass, ceramics, jewellery, textiles, spices, minerals, marble, carpets, and dyes …
There was so little colour in Giotto’s time (1266 – 1337 AD) … despite the brightly coloured dress of figures in medieval manuscript illuminations, most people formed a rather dull crowd ...
Their clothing was the undyed greyish brown of hemp, wool and linens, or was dyed in muted tones from the local flora – plants, trees, grasses or the earths.
|Hemp stem showing fibres|
The craftsmen became more accomplished – painters became colourists and scientists in their applications … but the story of making paint and dyes throughout history has been a complicated process of trial and error …
|Glazed Majolica ware from Deruta - the|
centre of majolica ware in Italy
(2nd quarter 16th C); learnt from the
… knowledge was transferred across disciplines with the ultimate aim of creating a work of art that was permanent, where the colour did not fade, industrial chemistry was born … those tentacles stretch even further creating more specialisms …
One thing on which we will all agree is that we keep learning and as bloggers, writers, artists, photographers, designers et al our creativity needs to stretch and expand across all disciplines …
|The Rokeby Venus painted by Velazquez|
between c 1647 - 1651
Note the grey sheet should be rich purple,
but the red used has degraded and took the
blue with it
Ideas I thought about for this post include …
- History of art, science, archaeology, exploration, innovation ... gives us the story line ...
- Art works can set the scene, or show us how …
- Colours set the mood, give us names, lets us see emotions ...
- Etymology – lets us follow the colours’ journeys … eg: Bagadel Indigo from India via Baghdad ...
- Mystery – the colours fade and disappear ...
- Toxicity – perhaps a murderer is out and about ready to be written into a thriller … killed by a mordant (binding agent) ...
- Names for characters: Zaffre from roasting cobalt ...
|Malachite powder and pigment|
- Descriptive adjectives – Mountain green: the creamy green mineral of malachite ...
- Modern jingo: 60 shades of Red: auburn, burgundy, cerise, rufous, stammel … and on and on …
|John Soane's House (Museum) (1753 - 1837):|
the yellow dressing room
- Fashion in houses: the new synthetics used for walls – the chrome yellow rooms of the Georgians (early 1800s) – think Royal Pavilion, Brighton ...
- Learning the ways of the ancients, geology, geography, science …
|Collecting cochineal insects using|
a deer tail
Creativity is all around us … readers as commenters have given me ideas: synaesthesia – where the senses meld … artists, composers, and some of us …
The Greeks and the colour blue, as too the Egyptians, Italians …
The new Black – yes we do have a new black …
The Himba and the way their brains are wired for colour …
|Karen's Lake Atilan, Guatemala|
Then the process of how we understand colour … and that vexing question: what do we see?
I hope to clarify these thoughts a little in future posts – mid August … I have a few posts relevant to today to write about … but these colourful explanations will follow …
Karen Jones Gowen's blog: Coming Down the Mountain and her post - The Trouble with Blogging
|A damask pink rose for Denise -|
the lady who loves pink!
Denise Covey's (My Writing Blog) two posts:
2) Blogging Again! How can we promote more imaginatively? Do we exclude new bloggers from the blogosphere?
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
Oddly, I've been thinking more creatively just lately. I work as a creative (writer) but I find I need to exercise my 'practical' art skills to relax properly. Drawing, painting, sculpting or whatever. I rarely think about the colours I use. Thanks for changing my viewpoint!
What a perfect post for my life. To answer your future post question, I have a big yes, my blog has moved with the times. Check it out when you get a chance, you won't recognize it. (It launched today). By the way, this was really interesting. Thanks for doing all the research.
What amazing artwork. I love that portrait of Dante and I love that painting of Rokeby Venus!! Amazing.
I like the feel of a 'creamy green.' It evokes not only one of my favorite ice cream flavors (and old-school cakes, generally) but bygone architecture.
What a fantastic series of posts, Hil.
Yup, what Suze said. So interesting how color has evolved through the centuries.
What a colorful post! haha!
Our eyes are just naturally drawn to color, aren't they? And the earth is full of gorgeous hues. Very interesting about the gold and silver so far back...always considered something special!
The exhibition at the National Gallery sounds fabulous and thank you for your post. I know I would find it fascinating and I can talk about colour and the nuances of colour forever.
Have a great and colourful week
Fascinating collection of thoughts. Since moving to BC I've found that, despite the wider range of colors available in paints these days, most house interiors are an unambitious fifty shades of beige! We are trying to rectify that in our little corner of the world :)
Colorful post! Sources of creativity are all around us. I love looking at art for inspiration. Even for blog posts. Sometimes just a few minutes perusing artwork or photography can give me an idea for a post.
Watched and gathered wool last week for a fair. The lady who brought them in uses all plant dyes. It was fun to chat and learn.
Beautiful post, Hilary, and you've given more viewing time to those posts on blogging - another great way to continue the conversation.
I took a color theory course in art school which taught me a lot about color, blending, shading, and tinting, and how it interacts with different sets of colors. Preparing your paint was part of the painting process.
Color used to be something of privilege, another way to show your class in society. An excellent post with your usual flair for ideas.
You did it! It's shorter than your last...you said this was one of your goals, which means you must have had a good weekend. So did Jen and I, though I haven't yet started working on a new post. But I do know I'll be focusing on a bit shorter posts than my last one. I think what you've done here is perfect. And of course the amazing and colorful photos pull us through. Never once was I bored. How I wish I could live with even some of this fantastic color around me.
I'm honored to be surrounded by so many talented blogging writers...you, Karen, Denise, etc etc. So glad I'm in your circle of friends. And there's always room for one more, and one more, and more......
Sixty shades of red? Whoa...
I imagine most peasants were dressed in what we call now 'earth tones.'
Hilary, color does play such a large part of our lives without us really giving it the attention it deserves. Colors do set the mood no matter what we're doing. Very informative and entertaining post.
Once again, Hilary, you are amazing with the depth of your writing. Can you get the History 2 channel (H2)? I think you would really enjoy some of the programs that view history in a very different light.
Mary Montague Sikes
@ Anne - I liked your idea of pretty tags with quotes that you left on trees or shrubs along your walk at Crich, Derbyshire at the weekend ..
It's a pleasure if this post helps towards the new creative Anne!
@ Rhonda - I loved your new blog ... well done on getting it all converted and moved across - I approve! Delighted you enjoyed the content and the post .. thanks ..
@ Keith - art is just superb isn't it .. so many sorts - I'm learning from writing these posts ... Glad you appreciate the Dante portrait and the Rokeby Venus .. an episcopal purple sheet would be better - but after three centuries what can we expect?! Incredible painting regardless ...
@ Suze - creamy green does evoke coolness at the moment (it's very hot!), then peppermint too .. I'm not sure about the old-school cakes though?! The haze of green as we survey our landscape and the bygone architecture .. good thoughts ..
@ Karen - good to see you .. and yes like all things colour changes too ...
@ Betsy - it sure is colourful here at the moment - but your photos bring us some delightful colours and photos ..
The start of colour - the reflective silvers and golds - and we do get drawn to colour - that is so true ..
@ Helen - you would definitely find the exhibition just amazing - I loved it and am looking forward to returning shortly - once the weather has cooled down a little!
Actually I'm looking forward to writing the next posts on colour and understanding a little more ..
@ Ian - I have to say I've always had beigey/creamy yellow walls but lots of colour elsewhere ... afghan/persian rugs and now inadvertently I have a pink sofa! Also my pictures - surprisingly many are black and white, but I have colour ones around ..
Good luck with creating your Vancouver colour swatch - sounds fun ..
@ LG - if we look at life, or listen to life ... we can garner so many ideas for our posts, stories, novels etc .. and looking at a picture could definitely draw images for us to glean and comment on ..
@ OOTP - I wish I could wear wool, sadly it irritates - I look longingly, but to no avail! That must have been a fun fair to be at and then to get involved with - and wonderful she still uses plant dyes - I bet it was fun to chat and learn from her ... I hope you do a post for us?
@ DG - yes I've been over to Karen and Denise's posts - they deserved some thought and also a comment or two .. and as you say - it's great we can all interact.
I am hopeless at art - but do appreciate it much more than I used - blogging opens my eyes to so much ... I hope someday to find a very short course on art history, but also on colours - it's be fascinating ...
Yes - it was a way of showing wealth (privilege) till it got over done - as gold round Venetian glass ... once it was popular, it then became vulgar - so fell out of application ... as too Chrome Yellow rooms!
Cheers to you all - and thanks so much for your appreciative comments ... all the best from a still hot England - Hilary
Part 2 to follow ...
@ Ann - oh it took me many takes to get this up - but up it is ... thank goodness. Not intentionally shorter, but shorter was a good thing ..
I'm glad I decided to put photos in - as they explain added ideas and as you say draw the reading (I hope) eyes down!
You and Jen have your greens - probably the most natural colour in the world ... the landscape resonates with greens ... I'm glad you weren't bored - that's the main thing as far as I'm concerned re posting ..
It's great you're back with us and blogging again - as and when you can .. we're here .. and by the sound of it we'll be around a while yet ..
@ Alex - yup sixty shades of that red stuff - it is amazing isn't it .. then you're right - but I think the peasants clothes would be less earth .. they'd be very dull and grey, like the hemp stem ..
@ Mason - we are jarred when the colours aren't right - but as you so rightly say we don't give them sufficient attention.
It's interesting how they're still experimenting with colour as far as hospitals, mental institutions, care homes is concerned .. as colours do set our mood and set off our emotions ..
@ Monti - many thanks and coming from an artist it's good to see you here.
Actually I don't know - but there's enough for me on the few tv channels I can get - I don't subscribe .. I just don't have the time anyway ... but I'm sure I'd love some of the programmes put forward ... wish I could accomplish all I want to do in time I have left .. I started getting interested rather late in life ..
2nd reply comment: Cheers to you all - and thanks so much for your appreciative comments ... all the best from a still hot England - Hilary
It's a fascinating journey through history. We take colour so much for granted these days without considering how it all came about. Having used cochineal as a food colouring agent, I was aware it came from beetles.
I love the photo of the yellow dressing room. Yellow is not on my list of favorite colors, but it's beautiful there. I always try to use a lot of blue when I decorate my house because it's supposed to be a soothing color.
Interesting connections between colour, creativity and evolving. I enjoyed your post and especially the descriptions of shades.
Thank you for clicking over to mine earlier, great to connect with you too.
My favorite color fact is that the color orange came from the name of the fruit rather than the other way around :).
I can't wait to see what you have to say about how we see color. That's one of those things that fascinates me.
I love the yellow paint in that room! To visit, I mean. I wouldn't want to live in it!
Oh, Hilary, I was so touched by the gift of the damask pink rose. How beautiful..I DO love pink so much!
Thanks for another fascinating post on colour, a topic that intrigues me. I'm very interested in how a colour in one culture symbolises the opposite to what it does in another. We should never assume that white is the colour of innocence all around the world.
Thanks for visiting/linking to my blogging posts, Hilary. I'm thrilled by the discussion and there are some positive suggestions for improving the blogging experience.
@ Jo - I've had an amazing historical insight .. and then seeing the cochineal insects being collected by a deer tail! As you say we do take colour so much for granted ..
@ Janie - I was so pleased to be able to put Sir John Soanes' yellow room up .. and blue is meant to be soothing isn't it ...
@ Nila - good to see you here and I'm glad you enjoyed the connections of colour, creativity and evolving .. we're evolving in so many ways all the time ..
@ Jeanne - interesting to read about orange and how the name came about ...
The post on how we see colour will be interesting to write, let alone read ... !
@ Dianne - the yellow could be brighter - but at least it's sunny looking and light .. it's interesting that value was added by using the colour ...
@ Denise - so pleased you liked the damask pink rose ... especially chosen for you!
Colour and its effects on the cultures of different countries, I hadn't thought about symbolism .. something else to think about .. and add in to the future posts ..
The three posts of yours (2) and Karens have been great reads, together with the numbers of comments - a necessary discussion for us to think about ..
I'm glad I was able to link blogging creativity from this post (or many of my posts) across to yours ..
Cheers to one and all - it's always so good to have so many discussion points .. Hilary
Hi Hilary, I love the way colour can alter your mood, red to liven, yellow to energise and (for me anyway!) purple to relax the mind. A colourful post.
We walked past the exhibition at the weekend but no time to go in. Hubby is having some problems with his foot at the moment which curtailed some of our planned walking around. We did see the Glockenspiel though, will mention it in my post later this week.
What a wonderful exhibit! And I love your posts about it.
I will come back and read those posts about blog writing when I have more time. Off to work shortly. I feel as if I am floundering a little with my blog lately.
it is interesting at times what we deem as art...what we judge to be art...and what we leave out...allt he different movements and textures of art....and how the color play in to it...creativity is pretty amazing...we have been to see this guy paint a few times...well any time we are in asheville...he is an abstract artist and to watch him paint is amazing...the feeling of the paint going on canvas....its wow.
As always I love the thought you have put into the post. So many great things to learn. The best part is the things I learn here area almost always new to me. I like that, a lot. :)
Sixty shades of red? I had no idea there were so many. Another wonderfully colorful post. : )
Thanks for commenting on Alex's A-Z post about me, and for visiting my blog!
I had no idea there were so many shades. Now I'm feeling really lucky I'm not color-blind, since there's such a wealth of color to experience. :)
Hi Hilary. I love the way you had fun with the coloured typography!
You have probably suggested twenty diverging strands for future posts.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
@ Suzanne - moods emotions all play their role in letting us see colours in different ways. Sorry your hubby's foot and the time constraints stopped you having a look round - but glad you had a happy time and I'm looking forward to your post ..
@ Lynn - many thanks .. it's been an inspiring exhibition to visit.
Glad you'll take a little time and read the other blog posts re creativity. Blogging can certainly have its moments .. but I love your blog ..
@ Brian - I have to admit I know little about art, its history or for that matter its story - so writing these posts has been really interesting.
What a great idea to spend some time watching someone create - especially if you can feel his work as he brings it to life .. I perhaps must, at some stage, take that opportunity ... interesting to think about - thanks.
@ Rosey - appreciate you enjoy coming by to get some value from my posts .. I enjoy writing them up ...
@ Susanne - yes loads of shades of red ... which seems quite extraordinary ... but go into colour charts and there are numerous shades in all the colours ...
@ Lexa - that's a pleasure to be over to both your blogs ...
I think if you were colour blind you might be even luckier than a 'normal' sighted person - as your experiences would be greater ... the only challenge would be: explaining to people all the time that you can't see colour the way 'normal' people do - but like you I'm glad I can see colours similarly to others ..
@ Bazza - well I wanted to highlight the possibilities for some creativity somehow ... even the grey for toxicity 'amused' me!
I think I gave myself a carpet full of divergent strands as I drafted this post - so many ideas ...
Thanks so much everyone - I hope you can dream up some creative ideas from these two posts .. cheers Hilary
In THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY, the author speaks of daVinci painting a fresco (yes, the book is about Michelangelo...) and using the 'old' techniques to disastrous effect. He was missing a step. That fascinated me, and I started looking (a little)into how they ground pigments and used bindings and such. Your post is more interesting.
...and I've been experiencing burnout, so the second half of your post was very timely and has given me a lot to think about. I WILL start commenting more.
I love the connections in history: war leads to migration, migration leads to new discoveries and combinations, new discoveries and combinations lead to even more. Endless and fascinating.
There's been much talk of the need for a change up in blogging. I'll be sure to read Karen's and Denise's posts because I've been getting rather bored with mine for a while now and I'm searching for a more creative approach.
Love your colourful posts! I have been reading up on Victorian colours for my latest novel.
Wow. There's so much in this post, I'm not where to begin, but know that I loved it.
I liked your writing suggestions very much. Murder by Mordant sounds like a wonderful title. Perhaps you should consider writing this one. You certainly have the knowledge.
I also enjoyed the different names for red, especially "rufous." However, I'm not sure how well that will work. "He had the brightest shade of rufous hair. It's also cool that it is the name of a hummingbird:~)
Regarding Zaffre, I actually think I saw someone use that word as a name on one of the many different fiction prompt sites I visit. It is a good one.
Thanks for the links to the sites reflecting on blogging. I read two of them and will read the third. I tried to leave a comment at one of them, but hadn't signed into Google and when I did, it erased my comment. Such is life as a blogger!
My thought about the changes is this: It's amazing bloggers are now reflecting on the golden age of blogging and how we old timers did things differently:~)
On the other hand, I also take your point -- blogging will change with the times -- we have to decide if we want to keep up with it or not.
Cheers to you. I hope it's cooled off and you're back to your normal nice summer!
Fascinating study and I will come back to click on all your links after I get a new post posted!
Glad to be done with the 100 book challenge and to my regular speed - 8 to 10 reviews a month. I did not even read all day yesterday - nothing - I listened to some music
Yes the blogging challenge is to keep changing and find creativity. It is also for me an opportunity to share what I am reading with about 200 people day though I only have about 60+ subscribers.
I am posting on bikingarchitect.com today or tonight a book review that is on this theme. Written by futurists, Millennium City is about how the Millennium Generation is changing how we live, work, and play and how they are changing the kinds of work that we do. There is really nothing for the untrained and the technologically illiterate in our future. As the US Congress embraces Feudalism - I think the Millennials will truly bring us into the future - when they decide to vote!
Great words here and I found myself in full smile as I was reading Color brings out the best in all of us...even the new black
Thank you for sharing
Lovely post! Trade routes are always fascinating. I've also been interested in how colors are associated with certain era too.
@ Diana - thanks for the note on The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone - it sounds an interesting read ... but I'm honoured you found this more interesting - thanks!
I'm glad the post has given you some ideas ... and re the blogging part .. hope you get a chance to read the other links. Looking forward to the revitalisation ...
@ Lee - so much innovation comes out in times of country's challenges - well it certainly used to .. and I'm fascinated at how one thing leads to another - sometimes decades apart ...
I think it's good that we're taking stock re blogging and thinking about content more ..
@ Glynis - sounds like you've been doing your homework .. the Victorians were at the forefront of synthetic colour development ... Fascinating to learn about to then be able to build it in to your latest novel ...
@ Sara - I was rather enamoured with Murder by Mordant ... but suspect I'll stick with what I'm doing. Lenny alerted me to the Rufous hummingbird that I featured last year from the calendar he sent me .. beautiful little creature.
I'm sure most of the names will have been used ... but many could be created using some of the old original names ... Zaffre sounded fun though.
Yes - remembering about commenting and signing in can be a pain ... blogger, wordpress and those with their own sites ...
It looks to me as though bloggers who want to blog will, while some will put more of their interaction onto FB and Twitter ...
I think we're lucky as we are relatively established .. we may not have thousands of followers, but blogging with others: those numbers increase - yet it's about content that's important and that can get tapped into via other bloggers.
If we're writing it depends on the genre too ... it's find the right balance for each of us depending on what we're doing and why.
People must want to read what's being written ... otherwise what's the point ... creativity can be block making sometimes!
Summer is still here - it's cooled off a little, but is still warm thankfully!
@ Patricia - glad you enjoyed the post and will read the other links too.
You always have excellently written reviews ...
@ Holly - I know colour is one of your favourite interests, along with typography ..
Thanks everyone - we'll all adjust as we need to re blogging and social media in general .. cheers Hilary
I've read Denise's posts. Really some food for thought...
I've also been thinking about the link between different forms of creativity, such as drawing, painting, writing, music, illustrating, needlework...
As individuals, have we tapped into our creative potential? Or have we only skimmed the surface? I think sometimes we limit ourselves by not expanding the creative experience... not experimenting enough because we feel that maybe we are not capable... just some thoughts...
Love your colourful post!
Attempt number three! Maybe this is the universe's way of telling me to keep my comments shorter!
Loved the gaiety of these colour posts! I'm addicted to synaesthesia and vibrant colour (which gets expressed in my crochet and photography) and use and blend colour instinctively when I paint or design. It intrigues my husband as I do the same with music and can't explain or teach him.I think I've got a 'resonance' gene that he hasn't.
I also love how different languages express colour and reflect or shape a culture's way of perceiving it. The Greeks have a word that translates as 'yolky' and another that means 'milky blue'.
A very colourful post, Hilary. I do enjoy British spellings.
Some great food for thought here and I appreciated the history lesson as always. Funny how different colours provoke different emotions, great for character building!
Didn't realise that the colours were so dull in the past. We are lucky to live in such a colourful ere. I absolutel love lots of bright colours. I love the machaloite powder very pretty colour. I am not for yellow rooms though. Lots of different fashion over the years.
I cringe when I think of everything being orange and brown when I was young
@ Michelle - yes the thoughts on blogging are being considered, and that can't be bad.
There's so much creativity in all of us - and do we tap into it .. that's a good question. Creative souls can use their music, their sewing/knitting skills, their art etc ... at least blogging has opened up the world of a wordsmith to me ..
I'm sure we can all do more - but we 'lock' ourselves into our comfortable worlds ... there's so much out there - you're so right in your thoughts ...
@ Janice - sorry about the problem of commenting and thanks for making a third successful attempt!
Interesting that you have synaesthesic influences in all your work/experiences of life ... it's a fascinating subject ... and you can utilise its strengths in your creative ventures. At least now we're recognising those "resonating genes" as you call them - and they can be understood more easily ...
I can imagine your husband must be bemused by your abilities at times ... and fascinating to read how the Greeks have the yolky and milky blue words .. thanks for the email on that - I'll include them.
It's a very interesting subject ..
@ Milo - thanks .. we started the spelling scene!! It is, for me, frustrating sometimes reading in Americanese!! But language is always evolving .. and we may be into textspeke, before Americanese takes over completely?!
@ Nick - good to see you .. thanks and I'm sure you'll be over to read Denise's and Karen's post too ..
I can see when you write your stories and novels that colour could be used to character build ... as well as set the scenes ...
@ Marja - it's interesting to remember what life was like all those centuries ago ... very hard work just to survive, and then to us 'dull' clothing ...
Malachite is very pretty isn't it .. and I too love the different colours we have available to us.
Those early years - we were into orange and brown for a while weren't we!
Cheers to you all - lovely to see and to read how colour stirs your thoughts ... Hilary
The history of colour is so fascinating. I didn't know that the grey sheet was once purple under the Rokeby Venus. How fascinating.
@ Juliet - it is fascinating and I need to get to London to see the Exhibition again and take the Survey at the end ... which I think will be very informative and interesting ..
It's incredible how some paints have faded over the years - and we don't realise until the experts happen to find out .. as you say fascinating ...
i found your blog thrue other bloggers..i will be visitng more...nice blog
i found your blog thrue other bloggers..i will be visitng more...nice blog
Post a Comment