Wednesday, March 14, 2007

color exercise- what red means: lessons for the blind woman

As a painter, I must say that colors are what give the world flavor, movement, texture, emotion, even symbolism. Colors give light meaning, and have sometimes profound effects on mood. I once dyed my hair hot pink as a way of rebelling against a control-freak ex-boyfriend, and also as a way to cheer myself up in the mornings when i woke up alone. They say when you are sad, that wearing bright colors cheers you up, and conversely, that wearing dark, drab colors like black and grey, can perpetuate your solemn mood.

As a writer, I often find it frustrating when the colors described in my peers' works are not palpable- but rather 2-dimensional words stolen from a crayon box. When you, Lynn, touch a crayon- they are all the same to you, except you might notice the paper wrapper of one is missing, or the point of another is worn to a bald nub. Colors, like lighting, emotion and sound, should always be something the reader can experience, because when a writer assumes the reader experiences color in the same way that everyone else on earth does, the writer is cheating himself, as well as his audience.

Red- the Crayola-name for the color of blood, passion, heat. In the Chinese culture, red is the color of luck, and is a dominant color in wedding ceremonies. If a Chinese person is in the hospital, it is better to bring them red flowers for encouragement. In the western culture, mostly because of Christian symbolism, white is a color of hope, faith and strength- and as a result bouquets with white lilies (also a symbol of the purity of the Virgin Mary) are often brought to the bedsides of the sick. If you brought a Chinese person white flowers in the hospital, it would likely cause more harm than good, because white is the color that symbolizes death in their culture. think of the light at the end of the tunnel, if you will.

Red, like all other colors, can come in thousands of shades and hues-- all of which might change the emotional impact of it. A bright, clear red is the color that often symbolizes alarm- which is why it is on firetrucks and stop signs. It grabs people's attention, I think, because it is the color of blood. An attractive woman in a slinky red dress is not wearing that dress solely because it's comfortable or warm: she knows when she puts it on that she is going to turn heads, and her strut down the sidewalk will also probably dictate this awareness. Her chin will be held high, and her hips will swing more emphatically, probably a subconscious (or conscious) way of saying to onlookers, especially her honey, "hey babe, these things do good work!" She will probably take longer, quicker steps to drive this gyration of the hips. She is the picture of confidence, and it's because she knows she looks good in her slinky red dress, and she knows every one else looking at her thinks she looks good. Red is what you wear when you want to make a grand entrance. It's alive and vibrant, sensual and demanding.

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