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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Color in Your World

I love the so-late ‘60’s teaser on the cover of this book: “Does it mean you’re oversexed if you love red? Or mentally disturbed if you detest green?”
I’ve been thinking about this book recently. Not sure if we still owned it after our major downsizing, I went to our bookshelves and instinctively went to its exact location, on a lower shelf, behind a row of other books.

My fascination with color began before I first read Color in Your World. I remember having an intense love for the color red at the age of four. I had a vivid dream of a racehorse wearing red and the number 2, and I woke just knowing that my favorite color was red and my favorite number was 2.

Around the same time, I was first asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I envisioned myself as a ballerina in a pink tutu, taking bows and having bouquets of flowers landing at my pretty pointed toes.

Thinking I wanted to be a ballet dancer, I begged my mom for lessons. That began a long battle between me and my parents for lessons of any kind. With six kids, money was tight and their reasoning was that if I got lessons, everyone else would want them, too. It worked out because I later realized that it was being on stage that I really wanted, and I ended up being able to take acting lessons at a high school with the best drama department in the state.

As I got older, I tended to prefer deeper reds (my favorite item in high school was a very bohemian, maroon colored skirt). When I first read this book, I was probably 12 and already feeling more of a pull toward maroon.  It was meant to be, I decided, when I read this passage:

“If You Are the Maroon Type: Maroon is red fire with the dampers regulated (Because maroon is the author’s favorite color, he looks upon it with not a small amount of bias.)”

How appropriate it was that my love for a bright red turned to maroon as “my fire” was being regulated by parents who, I felt, didn’t encourage my passions.  The discussion on maroon continued:

“In the study of human personality, maroon holds an odd significance. It is passion tempered by conscience or adversity. It is ambition, bravery, strength whittled down by hard struggle and difficulty…If you prefer maroon, the chances are that a true red personality has been saddled by harsh circumstances, strict parents or teachers.”

Today I am less drawn to deep reds, and don’t really have a favorite color. I find myself drawn more towards yellows, oranges, violets and blues. I can’t say that I dislike any colors (a good portion of this book details what it means if you like a certain color and dislike another). I’m fascinated by the symbolism of color, the colors in dreams and of chakras and the colors I choose when I create collage art.

According to this book, my favorite artist Vincent Van Gogh was obsessed with yellow, a color associated with lunacy. I think I’m more aligned with Monet, whose palette was as diverse as his garden in the French countryside: I'm happy with more blues, lilacs, deep lily pad greens with the fun spark of red and yellow blooms here and there.

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