Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Green's Properties

Green’s Properties  

            “Green is the color of primeval wealth---sappy green fields, the green of a woodland glen---everyone can revel in it. It is this thin layer of green plant cells that keeps us breathing, keeps us fed, keeps us alive. No wonder we adore it and long for it when without it. The changing seasons add the melody to the green of a planting. Spring shoots are often tinged with chartreuse, turn blue-green in their fullness, and fade to biscuit yellow in the autumn before they fall. The eye translates the fresh green of spring to excitement, change and newness. Surely green is the lush, sympathetic color.
            Colors are rarely seen in isolation, so it is important to be aware of the optical effect adjacent colors have on each other. Both Goethe in his theories of color harmony and Chevreul in his 700 page monograph of 1839 about the Gobelin's dyers (formed by a family of tapestry weavers in France who became wealthy from their fabulous works for French kings)pointed out the phenomenon of successive contrast, the way in which the eye, staring first at a color and then at a piece of white paper, will see on the paper an afterimage in a complementary or opposite color. If the eye is fixed on green, the successive contrast will be red; if fixed on yellow, violet; if fixed on blue, orange and so forth.  Each shadow is in perfect contrast, and Seurat and Monet made use of this effect in creating the depths of their canvases. It results in a dazzling shimmer between pure red flowers and green leaves.

(An excerpt from Nori and Sandra Pope’s gorgeous book Color in the Garden) 

I hope you will try this experiment with Successive Contrast. My art students were amazed that after staring at a pure color, then looking at a white sheet of paper, the opposite color presented itself on the paper. It only lasts a few seconds, but it is fun to see it. This phenomenon was used by Pop artists to produce "vibrating" color contrasts. 

Chlorophyll is present in all green plants. Chlorophyll has anticancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. Green fruits and vegetables are high in lutein and indols which have antioxidant and disease-preventing properties. Green leaves are abundant in carotenoids, bioflavonoids, vitamins and organic mineral complexes. Have a minimum of two or three servings of green leafy vegetables every day.
Artichokes, asparagus, green snap beans, Italian green beans, lima beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, fennel, turnip greens, collards, kale, dandelion greens, mustard greens, lettuce (the darker, the better), leeks, okra, green bell peppers, spinach, chives, zucchini, green apples, avocados, green grapes, kiwi, limes, pears, mung beans, or wheat grass.

(from the website

In next week's blog, I will present more information on Goethe's Color Harmony discoveries as well as Chevreul's work with the Goebelin's tapestry dyers.

1 comment:

  1. And the list of greens is amazingly long, Barbara. Your history of color is always so interesting. I would seldom wear green, but I do love to eat greens.