Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rhapsody in Green

Judith writes:

This month we went from drought to deluge in a wink and although the drought in California has not yet been declared officially "over" the creeks are flowing and the seasonal waterfall across the valley is a cascade of white water. The hills feel truly alive again, relaxed and easy as the green of spring spreads. Can you hear it humming?  All indicators say that it is going to be a good year at least for oaks — an astonishing number of the acorns are sending up shoots. My drive from Forest Knolls though the rolling hills and vineyards to Sonoma where I teach was a glorious essay on the color green and since it's St. Patrick's Day, I knew it would be the day to explore GREEN and the question, which green do you mean?

To ask what color? can quickly wind into a mire of confusion. There are many names from turquoise to chartreuse, myrtle to mantis, but all of them are in the green spectrum. Students were encouraged to make an artwork using the pieces of plastic as if they were brushstrokes of paint. To not think about what that shard might have come from — don't think of a shampoo bottle— just consider the shape and the color.

Start with three basic ideas: 
1. Color family — when we say green we mean the pure color of green but consider the variations of light green, dark green and everything in-between.
2. Variations in value —  tint is light and shade is dark.
3. Chroma - the saturation or intensity — brightness and dullness.

With this new awareness of the green spectrum they set about to paint green but not just by mixing yellow and blue. What happens when lemon yellow is mixed with cobalt blue or cadmium yellow is mixed with ultramarine blue? What green did you mean?

The Thursday dinner table at Mary and Brewster's is always special but on St Paddy's Day the theme was green with bowls of green peas and trays of green asparagus. There were even savory leafy greens in the ice cream dessert.

Since the Irish love a good brew and a rollicking song, the dinner conversation question was to tell a story about alcohol and singing. After a few drinks and rounds of stories by the end of the evening we were asking ourselves, what color did you say that is?