Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Color My World

There is one question I have always had trouble answering: “what is your favorite color?” As far back as I can remember that question made me anxious. As a very small child I didn’t want to answer, even if I had a favorite color that day, because I didn’t want to hurt the other colors’ feelings. Silly really. But that is the way my brain worked. Then as I got older I didn’t want to answer because either I didn’t really have a favorite at the time, or, because I was afraid that my answer might reveal to the person asking, some horrible character flaw in myself. Like what if the color I said out loud was, in the inquirer's mind, an indication that I was stupid, selfish, dorky or just plain wrong.

I admired people who had a strong opinion about their favorite color and were not afraid to state it. Like my sister. She has been a purple loving person as long as I can remember. Not that she doesn’t have other good colors in her life. But purple is her color. My Mom’s was blue. She pretty much included it in every room of the house. She would easily tell you that she loved blue. My grandmother loved lavender. I was the enigma: no identifying color.

Mostly though I don’t have a favorite color. Now days I like most every bright or rustic color. I don’t much care for pastels or dull, flat shades of blah. (And because I still have a little sensitivity left over from my childhood, I apologize to those colors). What I do like is that I can articulate my preferences. There have been times when I didn’t have any opinion, on color or anything. Those are the days of just getting by. When something like a favorite color question can only make me feel even less alive because I truly have no opinion. I am just trying to make it through one more day or night. But fortunately, these days, I do truly love color. I want them all in my life (well except the pastels and dull, flat shades of blah).

My favored color may depend on what the color is for. What I like on inside walls or furniture coverings is not necessarily the same as how I like my dishes. On different days I like different combinations. What I prefer in a stripe I may not like singularly alone. But I do like color.

I’m thinking about colors because the warm weather is here and I am sprucing up my outdoor spaces: the gardens and decks. I’ve consolidated several pots into a few big ones. I am thinking about garden color, not just in the color by hew, but also the color in texture. And how it will change and look together through the summer season and beyond. I am changing out the faded, slightly mildewed seat covers on the patio dining set. I went for a pretty Tuscan green. Then, when that was done, I noticed how blah and worn and also slightly mildewed the canvas panel screens were on my deck. So I went to the fabric store, thinking I’d get a replacement in linen color. The clerk took me to the Sunbrella fabric section. There was the linen color, and some pretty Tuscan greens. But I bought what sang to me. What is probably too loud and shocking for some. But I felt it lovely and what was me. It’s a bright yellow, almost exactly the same color as my car. The color of a school bus or a taxi. The color of a good, healthy lemon, though not what one would call “lemon yellow.” It’s the color of French’s mustard on a bratwurst. It’s an overstatement and I love it. It also is guaranteed by the folks at Sunbrella not to fade, weather or mildew. It’s not too far off, though a bit brighter, than my everyday dishes which are a true Tuscan yellow. It’s near to the color of the walls in my bedroom, though without the slight olive tint. I finished the first two panels in the screen last night (though I have to go back and piece in a bit because somehow I made them about an inch too short and can’t fasten the bottom. I can tell they are going to be spectacular. They are perfect with the large urns and the blooming gardenias placed in front of them. The new gardenias on my patio opened several blooms yesterday and they smell delicious. The beautiful weather allows me to have the French doors in the front and back open so that the smell of gardenias mix with the scent of the blooming hyacinths. I’m breathing cream and purple colors. I am alive and my color, today, is bright yellow. My name is Jennifer and I am a recovering color zombie. Come, color my world.
Photo is a sunbrella in Sunbrella color fabric "Sunflower" which I am using. Will replace with a picture of the deck and her new Sunflower colored clothes when I get them done.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Sis! I love it! You made my heart sing. It makes me happy to know that you're taking delight in colors and writing and everything. Life is grand. Love ya, julie

U Can Still Play in the Rain said...

Being a stylist, color plays a huge part in my profession. I am a color freak. I too have been into the brighter shades and loving them. I know that when I look at certain colors in my space they have the ability to just make me smile. Bravo for choosing the yellow and for taking such joy in the color around you.