Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Color Inspiration

Inspiration for color and color combinations happens in the most unusual places sometimes.

This weekend I had to haul myself across the country to Tampa, FL for two nights. It's not a trip I recommend for the faint-of-heart - especially considering that those 7am business breakfasts really happen at 4am Seattle-time! Ouch.

However, as I was traveling home I found some really beautiful uses of color. Specifically, when I was going to Terminal E at the Tampa airport, I noticed a large WPA mural (originally painted in the 1930's by artist George Snow Hill. They were restored decades later by the artist himself) over the security line. The subject of the mural was the first flight landing in Tampa - but it was the use of color that really stood out.

The colors were all from a palette that was both colorful and muted at the same time. There were reds, blues, browns, golds and such, but none of the colors were "pure" or "clear". It created a harmony between all the colors and let the artist use a large variety of color without it looking like a mish-mash.

The same skills can be applied when using color in a home. This is how some people are very successful in having different colored rooms that all seem to flow together harmoniously. If the colors were "acid" or "bright", they would stick out like a sore thumb and not feel very good to live with.

My other experience happened on the airplane. The movie "Evening" was the selection on the way home. Starring Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Toni Colette and Natasha Richardson (whew! what a cast!).

I chose not to watch the movie (too tired for an emotional film), but I ended up watching the colors used in the different scenes. They skillfully used color to help define the different times and eras that took place in the film.

I got sucked into looking at the color combinations, without the sound. It was pretty cool to watch a movie without being involved in the story. You certainly notice different things.

The scene where Meryl Streep's character visits the dying Vanessa Redgrave character is all done with white. White suit, white pearls, white sheets, white nightgown, white light and white hair. In unskilled hands this would have been the most boring, washed-out scene imaginable. But every white was different and again, there was no "pure" white - it was all rich and warm. Tough to pull off, but very pretty.

I love these greens. I love the whitewall tires that aren't icy white. I love the intense light on the actors from the sun. A feast for the eyes.