Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I have researched my students' favorite color for years. Hands down, one color usually dominated. Blue is a universal favorite, evidently, as shown in the following article. Some things never change.

The Most Popular Color in the World Is...
From denim jeans to corporate logos, the color blue is consistently ranked as the world's favorite color, according to
Blue has different meanings depending on the shade:

  • Dark blue signifies trust, dignity, intelligence and authority.
  • Bright blue indicates cleanliness, strength, dependability and coolness.

  • Light blue suggests peace, serenity and infinity.Fun facts to know and tell about the color blue, according to
    • 53 percent of the flags in the world contain blue.
    • When it comes to corporate logos, blue is the most commonly used color.
    • A dark blue suit is professional business attire.
    • Blue jeans are worn all over the world.
    • Aristocracy is blue-blooded in all European languages.
    • In American culture, blue has evolved as a symbol of depression. We "sing the blues" and "feel blue."
    • Greeks believe that blue wards off "the evil eye."
    • Dark blue is the color of mourning in Korea.
    • The god Krishna has blue skin.
    • Blue is sharply refracted by the eyes, causing the lens to flatten and push the blue image back. We perceive that blue areas are receding and smaller.
    • Blue has very few connections to taste or smell; therefore, it may act as an appetite suppressant.
    --From the Editors at Netscape
  • Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    The Color Red and Sexual Attraction

    Science Discovers The Color of Sexual Attraction

    What are you wearing?

    In many people’s minds the sources of sexual attraction--the vaunted 'chemistry,' the elusive ‘electricity’--are shrouded in mystery. Indeed, much remains unknown about why two people are attracted to each other. Nevertheless, in recent decades science has revealed many secrets about heterosexual attraction. We know for example that women around the world are attracted to symmetrical male bodies and faces, to the physical manifestations of testosterone (a strong chin, broad shoulders, deep voice), and to a man’s social status,intelligence, and sense of humor. We know that men all over the world are attracted to signals of youth in a female (smooth skin, lush hair, generous lips), to the 'hourglass' figure (a waist to hips ratio of 0.7) and so on. Now, many studies point to another fundamental source of attraction: the color red.

    Granted, the connection is not entirely surprising. Red is commonly associated with passion and eroticism--just think of the Red Light District, red roses, red lipstick, red wine, the 'Lady in Red'….

    Do you have a license to drive?
    In ancient societies, red often served as a symbol of status, power, and virility--the masculine traits considered sexy by women. Throughout history, kings, cardinals and judges were often red-robed. Way back in the middle ages, the symbol of the Christian church was a red cross. In ancient Rome, leaders were called coccinati – ‘wearing red.’ Even today, the 'power tie' is red. Red Baron is a sexy macho brand; someone super sexy is ‘red hot;’ a red Corvette is practically a sex toy.
    These anecdotes and cultural associations are fascinating but inconclusive. In recent years, a number of experimental studies have set out to dig deeper and elucidate the nature and mechanisms of the association between the color red and sexual attraction.
    Cumulatively, the research shows that the effect of the color red is significant, unique, and that it operates at a sub-conscious level. Red is experienced as attraction booster by both sexes, although the mechanisms that mediate the effect of red on attractiveness ratings appear to differ for men and women.

    It's all in the color of his swimming trunks
    Studies have shown that for women, the color red enhances a man’s attractiveness. In 2010, the researchers Andrew Elliot, Daniela Niesta Kayser and colleagues at the University of Rochester in New York published a series of experiments conducted in four different countries. The researchers told participants that the studies explored their “first impressions of others,” and avoided mentioning color and sex. Half of the participants, randomly assigned, were exposed for five seconds to a picture of a man on a red background. The other half saw that image on a white background (another experiment manipulated the man's shirt color, with similar results). Participants rated the attractiveness of the man in the picture. The results showed that women ranked the man as more attractive when he was presented against the red backdrop. The researchers then ran the same experiment on men (who were asked to rate the same man against these color backgrounds) and found differences in color did not affect ratings. They took this finding as support for the contention that red carries sexual messages, not merely aesthetic ones. Further experiments by this team have shown that the color red also increased attractiveness rating of the men in the eyes of women compared to other colors such as gray, green, or blue.
    Another experiment by these same researchers showed that the man in red was rated as high in social status, and with higher potential for success. Color, however, had no effect on ratings of the man’s likability, agreeableness, or sociability. Based on this finding (and an already existing robust literature on the attraction of male status) the researchers concluded that the link between red and sexual attractiveness is facilitated through the color’s link to higher male status.
    But what about men’s reactions to the color red? Is red on a woman perceived as sexual bait by men? The research answer in a word: Yes.

    Would get lots of tips
    In an earlier series of experimentsAndrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta(2008) found that men reported higher sexual attraction toward a woman dressed in red compared to women dressed in other colors. Men also expressed the intent to spend more money on a date with a woman in red. In a 2012 study involving 272 restaurant customers, researchers Nicolas Guéguen and Céline Jacob found that male patrons gave higher tips to waitresses wearing red over waitresses wearing white. Providing further evidence for the existence of a red-sex association, Sascha Schwartz and Marie Singer of the University of Dortmund in Germany showed that 'red effect' holds for young women but not for elderly women. (The age of the men doing the rating, however, did not matter: young and old men alike ranked young women in red as the most attractive).
    So, red appears to be associated in men’s mind with female sexual attractiveness. But what mechanisms underlie such a link? In a set of studies published last year, the researchers Adam Pazda, Andrew Elliot and Tobias Greitemeyer found that men perceive women in red as more sexually receptive, and that they perceive sexually receptive women as more attractive.
    Other studies have supported these findings. A study by French researcher Nicolas Guéguen also found that men attributed higher levels of sexual readiness to women wearing red. Daniela Niesta Kayser, Andrew Elliott and Roger Feltman recently published a series of experiments examining the effect of 'woman in red' on the behavior of heterosexual men. They found the men directed more intimate questions toward the 'woman in red' (intimate questions are a known indication of increased sexual interest). In addition, men chose to sit closer to the woman in red than to a woman dressed in a different color (blue, in this experiment). The effect remained significant even when the researchers statistically controlled for the potential impact of other factors, such as mood, general arousal, and the participants’ self-rating of attractiveness.
    Overall, it appears that men perceive a woman in red as signaling readiness for sex. Female sex-readiness is attractive to men, partly because it is a relatively scarce resource.

    In taupe she's a wallflower
    This tendency of men to see women dressed in red as signaling sexual availability and interest is not random or delusional. Andrew Elliot and Adam Pazda, conducting research on the Internet, published a study last year showing that women, in their profile pictures, wore red more often on hook-up sites than on marriage-orienteddating sites. On dating sites overall, women expressing an interest in casual sex chose to present themselves dressed in red much more often than women who expressed an interest in serious relationships only. According to the results, women dressed in red are more than twice as likely to describe themselves as interested in casual sex than women wearing any other color.
    Astonishingly, the link between the color red and sexual attraction appears to be subconscious. In all the studies cited above, during debriefing, the overwhelming majority of the participants failed to guess the purpose of the experiments, and none reported that color had been a factor in their rating decisions.

    The sources of the link between sexual attraction and red color are not entirely known. In the more recent historical context, it is likely that the effect is learned through conditioning, social traditions, and acquired habits. In the more distant context, most researchers believe that the source of the connection lies somewhere in our evolutionary past. After all, the color red is commonly used in the animal kingdom to express sexual power and readiness. Among many species, the prominent, dominant male will manifest the brightest red colors. Among our relatives the primates, red often signifies fertility and sexual readiness. Female baboon and chimpanzee, for example, make public their ovulation by displaying the redness on their genitals and chest. Among humans, sexual excitement is often associated with redness in the body’s erogenous areas, and with facial blushing. Robust physiological processes such as strong blood flow and high testosterone levels (in men) are required to produce a reddish skin appearance. Thus, the color itself may have become over evolutionary time a proxy signal for reproductive potential.
    This research area has not, of course, been exhausted. There is more to learn about the color red; for example, why is it also often associated with danger, anger, and violence (red flag, red light; red card; red alert; seeing red)? We do not yet know enough about the human sexual response patterns to other important colors, such as black (which is by the way, the most common dress color on online dating sites). We do not know enough about the 'red effect' in the context of uniquely contemporary social milieu (for example, how do male employees respond to a red-clad female boss?).
    It is also clear of course that we cannot deduce from these findings that a woman dressed in red is necessarily available or interested in sex, as it is impossible and inappropriate to conclude that a man in a red tie is necessarily a wealthy boss. There are many reasons, unrelated to sex, why someone may decide to wear red (or not). Maybe red just looks good on you. Maybe it’s of the height of fashion this winter. Perhaps this is the only clean shirt you found in your closet. Maybe you are a Red Wings fan.
    We may, however, be able to conclude (carefully) from the findings that the color red constitutes a unique, significant and subconscious sexual signal, rooted in our biological heritage. Beyond its aesthetic value, red also carries psychological meaning, and it has the potential to affect our behavior and our sexual feelings

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

    A Thesaurus for Color Names

    This newly released book should help us describe colors clearly.

    It’s “lilac”, not light purple. Just like it’s “magenta”, not dark pink. Writer and children’s book illustrator Ingrid Sundberg has created a Color Thesaurus – a collection of 12 color charts that list the correct names of all shades. It’s a useful reference tool for artists, designers, firms, make-up professionals and anyone who’s planning to get their house painted :). Check them out below.
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of White
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Tan
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Yellow
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Orange
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Red
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Pink
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Purple
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Blue
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Green
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Brown
    Color Thesaurus / Correct Names of Shades of Grey

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    Fauvism-the Color Lovers' Fav

    I've been accused of painting like a Fauve, and I take it as a compliment! If you've been reading my blog awhile, you know I adore color and art history.'s art history writer Shelley Esak does such an excellent job researching her topics. If you have not heard much about Fauvism before, you will become an expert after reading her informative article. Just like the Impressionists, the Fauves had to bear public criticism, but they persevered in their experiments with color. I am so thankful they did! You may enjoy seeing work by other artists who used color to its maximum brillance. See the list below the article and be prepared to excite your eyes with the amazing use of color. BBL
    © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; Used with permission
    André Derain (French, 1880-1954). Charing Cross Bridge, London, 1906. Oil on canvas. 31 5/8 x 39 1/2 in. (80.3 x 100.3 cm). John Hay Whitney Collection. 1982.76.3. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    © Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington; © 2006 ARS, New York / ADAGP, Paris

    "Fauves! Wild beasts!"
    Not exactly a flattering way to greet the first Modernists, but this was the critical reaction to a small group of painters exhibiting in the You 1905 Salon d'Automme in Paris. Their eye-popping color choices had never before been seen, and to see them all hanging together in the same room was a shock to the system. The artists hadn'tintended to shock anyone, they were simply experimenting, trying to capture a new way of seeing that involved pure, vivid colors. Some of the painters approached their attempts cerebrally while others consciously choose not to think at all, but the results were similar: blocks and dashes of colors not seen in nature, juxtaposed with other unnatural colors in a frenzy of emotion. This had to have been done by madmen, wild beasts, fauves!

    How Long Was the Movement?

    First, bear in mind that Fauvism wasn't technically a movement. It had no written guidelines or manifesto, no membership roster, and no exclusive group exhibitions. "Fauvism" is simply a word ofperiodization we use in place of: "An assortment of painters who were loosely acquainted with one another, and experimented with color in roughly the same way at roughly the same time."
    That said, Fauvism was exceptionally brief. Starting with Henri Matisse (1869-1954), who worked independently, a few artists began to explore using planes of undiluted color around the turn of the century. Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958), André Derain (1880-1954), Albert Marquet (1875-1947) and Henri Manguin (1875-1949) all exhibited in the Salon d'Automme in 1903 and 1904. No one really paid attention, though, until the Salon of 1905, when all of their works were hung together in the same room.
    It would be accurate to say that the Fauves' heyday began in 1905, then. They picked up a few temporary devotees including Georges Braque (1882-1963), Othon Friesz (1879-1949) and Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), and were on the public's radar for two more years through 1907. However, the Fauves had already begun to drift in other directions at that point, and they were stone cold done by 1908.

    What Are the Key Characteristics of Fauvism?

    • Color!
      Nothing took precedence over color for the Fauves. Raw, pure color was not secondary to the composition, it defined the composition. For example, if the artist painted a red sky, the rest of the landscape had to follow suit. To maximize the effect of a red sky, he might choose lime green buildings, yellow water, orange sand, and royal blue boats. He might choose other, equally vivid colors. The one thing you can count on is that none of the Fauves ever went with realistically-colored scenery.
    • Simplified Forms
      Perhaps this goes without saying but, because the Fauves eschewed normal painting techniques to delineate shapes, simple forms were a necessity.
    • Ordinary Subject Matter
      You may have noticed that the Fauves tended to paint landscapes or scenes of everyday life within landscapes. There is an easy explanation for this: landscapes are not fussy, they beg for large areas of color.
    • Expressiveness
      Did you know that Fauvism is a type of Expressionism? Well, it is -- an early type, perhaps even the first type. Expressionism, that pouring forth of the artist's emotions through heightened color and popping forms, is another word for "passion" at its most basic meaning. The Fauves were nothing if not passionate, were they?

    Influences of Fauvism

    Post Impressionism was their primary influence, as the Fauves either knew personally or intimately knew the work of the Post-Impressionists. They incorporated the constructive color planes of Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), the Symbolism and Cloisonnism of Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), and the pure, bright colors with which Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) will forever remain associated.
    Additionally, Henri Matisse credited both Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and Paul Signac (1863-1935) for helping him discover his inner Wild Beast. Matisse painted with Signac -- a practitioner of Seurat's Pointillism -- at Saint-Tropez in the summer of 1904. Not only did the light of the French Riviera rock Matisse on his heels, he was bowled over by Signac's technique in that light. Matisse worked feverishly to capture the color possibilities whirling in his head, making study after study and, ultimately, completing Luxe, Calme et Volupte in 1905. The painting was exhibited the following spring at the Salon des Independents, and we hail it now as the first true example of Fauvism.

    Movements Fauvism Influenced

    Fauvism had a large impact on other expressionistic movements, including its contemporary Die Brücke and the later Blaue Reiter. More importantly, the bold colorization of the Fauves was a formative influence on countless individual artists going forward: think of Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, George Baselitz, or any of the Abstract Expressionists to name just a few.

    Artists Associated with Fauvism

    • Ben Benn
    • Georges Braque
    • Charles Camoin
    • André Derain
    • Kees van Dongen
    • Raoul Dufy
    • Roger de la Fresnaye
    • Othon Friesz
    • Henri Manguin
    • Albert Marquet
    • Henri Matisse
    • Jean Puy
    • Georges Rouault
    • Louis Valtat
    • Maurice de Vlaminck
    • Marguerite Thompson Zorach


    Clement, Russell T. Les Fauves: A Sourcebook.
         Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994.
    Elderfield, John. The "Wild Beasts": Fauvism and Its Affinities.
         New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1976.
    Flam, Jack. Matisse on Art, revised ed.
         Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
    Leymarie, Jean. Fauves and Fauvism.
         New York: Skira, 1987.
    Whitfield, Sarah. Fauvism.
         New York: Thames & Hudson, 1996

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    Forensic Use of Color

    Color enhances forensic work, a new breakthrough in catching criminals. The longevity of the perspiration marks amazed me. BBL

    Color-changing polymer maps fingerprints

    Detecting perspiration pinpoints people’s pores

    SWEAT PRINT  Tiny pores on people’s fingertips ooze sweat droplets (shown red in fluorescence image) that can be detected with a new color-changing polymer. The technique could supplement traditional fingerprinting methods, which rely on impressions left by finger ridges.
    Sweaty fingers make tidy prints. Beads of perspiration seeping from a person’s pores can leave detailed maps of the fingertips, and a new technique can detect the sweat.
    Human finger pores ooze salty drops of water about the size of pinpricks, says materials scientist Jong-Man Kim of Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.
    He and colleagues created color-changing polymers that snap from blue to red when they touch the tiny droplets. Individual polymer units look like teeny tadpoles, with bulbous heads and skinny tails. When packed tightly together, they form stacked sheets that appear blue. But when water swells the polymers’ heads, the crowded sheets twist apart and absorb shorter wavelengths of light, making the sheets look red.
    Pressing a finger to a polymer-coated film instantly colored it with red dots, Kim’s team reports April 29 in Nature Communications. Kim thinks the polymers could improve existing fingerprinting technologies, which analyze impressions left by finger ridges’ loops, arches and whorls. Pores speckle these ridges, creating unique dot patterns that match up with traditional fingerprints.
    Forensics teams can pick up 10-year-old dots of sweat left on a piece of paper even in the absence of fingerprints, Kim says, but the dot data are often tossed because no one had a simple way to map people’s pores.
    IT’S A MATCH Fluorescence image of sweat pores (red) overlaid on a scanned image of a fingerprint reveal similar patterns in pores and finger ridges.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Understanding Proportions

    Not only do we have body shapes (which can also be called our Horizontal Body Shape) we also have to take into consideration our Body Proportions (or Vertical Body Shape).
    Proportions are important as they tell us where to end our clothes, such as hems on skirts, hems on tops and jackets.
    They help to create a balanced and harmonious appearance and can help us look taller and slimmer, or shorter and curvier. (After studying Greek statues' proportions copied by the Romans-BBL), Leonardo Da Vinci developed a theory that the balanced human is 8 head lengths tall (though most women aren’t, but clothing ranges are developed upon this assumption) and that the body is broken down into the following equal measurements.

    1. Head length (top of head to chin)
    2. bottom of chin to nipple (mid bust)
    3. mid bust to navel (narrowest part of the waist)
    4. navel to leg break (this is where the leg bends up at the hip, where you will see majority of trouser creasing, and is just above the crotch).
    5. leg break to mid thigh
    6. mid thigh to mid knee
    7. mid knee to mid calf
    8. mid calf to foot

    Very few people  have these exact proportions (because they are based on the Greek "ideal"-BBL.)  Most of us are longer in certain proportions and shorter in others.  
    What is most important if you measure your proportions is to find out if you have a longer or shorter body as compared to your legs (so top of head to leg break compared to leg break to foot).
    If one proportion is longer than the other, you will need to visually balance this proportion to change the apparent length (more on that in the next post).
    What I have noticed from looking at many people, is that we are proportionally SHORT where we tend to PUT ON WEIGHT first.
    So, for all those A/pear shaped women, if you measured your proportions, you’d find that you are short in your thigh proportion, thus appear to have hips/bigger thighs, and it’s much harder to lose weight from this area, as you are more compacted in this area, yet you may have a long waist and flat stomach as this is where you are proportionally longer.
    And for H shapes/rectangles (like me) and O (Apple) shapes, we are proportionally short through the torso, and thus put on our weight on our mid-section first, yet our legs, which may be proportionally longer (though not always) are slimmer. 

    Vitruvian Man
    Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1487
    Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint
    on paper, 34.4 × 25.5 cm

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    Red, Black and White and First Color Words

     by  in Dutch Language
    A fat and happy Tabby cat

    It raises the question of why we call those with Ron Weasley-hued tresses redheads (roodharingen) and not orangeheads.
    Well, wonder no more, because Gretchen McCulloch of All Things Linguistic has dug down into the annals of etymology to come up with an answer. It’s a rather detailed one that you can read here, but basically…
    As with many languages, the first color terms to originate in the English language were black and white, with red not far behind. The word orange didn’t come into play until the fruit of the same name arrived in England somewhere around 1300. Oranje(orange) began to be used as a color name in Dutch around the same time (1282).
    Of course, there are more orange foods than just the orange. Why don’t we describe hair color as being “pumpkin” or “carrot” ?
    For starters, pumpkins were a North American thing. Europeans didn’t know what they were until sometime after Columbus’s famous sailing jaunt in 1492. Etymonline has the word pumpkin cropping up in the English language in the 1640s and the Etymologie has the word pompoen appearing in the Dutch language in the late 1500s. Besides, pumpkins – much like melons – come in more than one color, so naming a color after either fruit just didn’t seem practical.
    As for carrots, they got there too late. About 200 years after the orange. That and the fact that carrots weren’t orange. Not at first, anyway. Purple carrots were the norm, but you could also get them in red and yellow.
    We didn’t get orange carrots until the 1600s. And, what do you know, it was the Dutch who began cultivating them!
    Orange it is, then.
    In short, the reason we call them redheads is because, at the time the terms were coined, there was no other color option.
    Perhaps it has to do with the advent of the word tabby to describe striped felines. According to Etymonline, the use of the phrase tabby cat was first recorded in the 1690s, which would have given the English plenty of time to adopt orange as a color.
    So what do you think? What color does your native language use to describe our pretty friend above?