Thursday, July 12, 2012

Color Series: Blue

Taking a bit of a blog break right now, and re-posting the Color Series while I'm away.
Hope you enjoy:

When we moved into our house two years ago, I took down all the heavy curtains the previous owners had left. Gold lamé, thick satin, heavy florals—they all ended up in the basement, folded unceremoniously and waiting for all the projects I have imagined I can use them for but for which there will probably never be time. The red, white, and blue star curtains on the back porch—those, too, were dealt with quickly. I wanted to be connected to the outside world, not closed off from it. That back porch pretty much embodied the difference in taste between our family and the previous owners. The entire room was painted red to match the patriotic curtains, except for the spot where the chest freezer used to sit, which had been left blue. And as much as I love color on my walls, that room did not work for us. It felt oppressive.

My husband has been working on the back porch for most of the past month, fixing the windows that were painted shut, making the old door fit better, and doing various other thankless jobs that will transform this room into something other than a place to keep the vacuum and the recycling. We lifted our ban on white in order to paint the trim, although the color of the beadboard under the windows has not quite been decided (I had no idea, going into marriage, that the color of our walls would require quite so much negotiating.) The ceiling is blue, now—not quite sky blue, more of a hazy blue-gray. And I love it. I love the blurring of lines between inside and outside, as if when you look up you can see straight through the ceiling into the sky.

Blue seems to be about clarity. Seeing. It is the deepness of the sky, and all the distance you can imagine in it—eternity over our heads. But blue also reflects, like a glittering lake mirroring the sky, even while it hides a shadowy world underneath. There is something clean and pure about blue, even in its darker shades, and yet it seems to increase in power and depth when you add in other colors. Add darkness and a hint of green, and you are dabbling in mysticism with midnight blue. Add light and more green and you can have something as cheerful-but-deep as turquoise.

I have read in home and gardening magazines that cool colors tend to recede, and warm colors advance. I’ve always accepted that statement, but now I find myself peeking at our new blue ceiling and wondering if that is quite true.

Is it really receding, or is it drawing me with it as it goes, pulling me up and out?

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  1. I was just noticing the blue ceiling of your front porch-room last lesson. And thinking about how in your blue post you had talked about it being like the sky. I just love all the images you put into these posts. I love, love, love the idea of it receding but drawing us up into itself.

    And I forgot, until lunch today, that there were no lessons this week. Missed seeing you, my friend!

    1. I missed you, too! It will be good to see you (all) this week, and then (gulp) summer is really winding down, isn't it?

      And--thank you for your lovely comments. I cannot tell you what an encouragement you are, and how much I love hearing back from people.


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