Colors, like people, tend to mix and mingle according to their inclinations. Sometimes two complementary HEXes will combine to create a new color. Sometimes two similar HEXes will merge to illuminate a more brilliant hue. Is it preposterous to label such unions as "straight" and "gay"? The ColourLovers library is full of colors with orientations identified in their titles. At a glance, can you tell a "straight" color from a "gay" one? Here's a three-part quiz, each more challenging than the last. In this first quiz, one column features colors with exclusively gay names. The other column features colors with exclusively straight names. Which is which? For the answer, click on any color to reveal the name.
In honor of this month's release of the United States' redesigned five dollar bill I have been scouring through the 191 currently circulating currencies of the 192 member states of the United Nations to find some of the most colorful, unique and dramatic bank notes.
The New Five
Photo from moneycenteral.msn.com
The redesigned $5 bill was unveiled on September 20, 2007, and was issued on March 13, 2008. Previously covered here on COLOURlovers, the redesign involves some very noticeable changes, mostly for security reasons, but also in an attempt to make the bill more friendly to the visually impaired.
The new five incorporates the use of micro printing of type to make it more difficult to copy. On the front, "FIVE DOLLARS" is written inside the left and right borders. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" is printed at the top of the shield. "USA" is between the columns of the shield and "USA FIVE" is printed on the edge of the most noticeable change, the giant purple "5".
Photo from moneycenteral.msn.com
The giant purple "5". Yes, well, it was added to help those who are visually impaired but it may just leave more of us wishing that we were. Not that I necessarily dislike it, mostly I'm not too concerned with what the money looks like since I'm not collecting it for its aesthetic qualities, but a more reasonable choice, or at least a more colorful choice, would have been just to make the whole thing purple and start color coding all of the bills, much like many, if not most, other countries do. Maybe the Government doesn't want to get too far away from our 'greenback'.
One Interesting thing about the new five is the use of the EURion constellation which many photocopiers will refuse to copy. This pattern, which is used for the series of little yellow "05"s, is used on many other currencies as well.
Other changes to the bill include the increased use of water marks and an added security strip like those already used for higher denominations.
The Most Colorful Currencies
Compared to those previous drab gray and green bills the US has made some colorful changes to the currency, but it is still nothing compared to the beautifully crafted and colored currencies of Venezuela, Switzerland, and Kyrgyzstan.
The Bolívar Fuerte
The Bolívar Fuerte is the new currency of Venezuela since January 1, 2008. It replaced the old Bolívar which was the currency between 1879 and 2007. My personal favorite currency, it is a great example of the amazing bright and colorful notes that are seen throughout many South America countries.
The Bolívar Fuerte includes illustrations of Francisco de Miranda, Pedro Camejo, Cacique Guaicaipuro, Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi, Simón Rodríguez and Simón Bolívar, on the fronts. On the backsides, the notes feature Amazon river dolphins, a giant armadillo, an American Harpy eagle, the hawks bill turtle, a spectacled bear and the red siskin.
Having recently returned from a trip to Madrid, I found myself still marveling over the brilliant colors I had seen there, most evident in the city's cathedrals, which displayed gorgeous stained glass tributes to all the familiar figures of the Catholic church. I've always had an affinity for stained glass, most specifically the Art Deco period, which you can see examples of in the pictures below. While most people think of stained glass as something you really only find in churches, in reality its had a much more diverse spread, finding its beginnings as far back as the 4th century.
by Atelier Teee
Creating stained glass is a daunting task, as there are several major steps to completing such a piece of art and require to maker to be equal parts artisan and craftsman. The glass itself would be colored using metallic salts during its manufacturing process, then artfully arranged between lead strips to hold together the design. These windows can also be created by painting a design on and having the glass annealed in a furnace to set the colors. The first method is the more revered, although both are still considered stained glass. These windows were incredibly durable, some of them lasting hundreds of years ( in Western Europe, stained glass windows from the Middle Ages are the major form of pictorial art to have survived to this day.)
Stained glass found its beginnings in clay pots, where it was mixed with metal oxides while in a melting state over a furnace. Copper oxides were added to produce green, cobalt for blue, and gold was added to produce red glass, creating what was called pot metal. The types of stained glass diversified from there, finding form in cylinder glass, crown glass, table glass and flashed glass (all these were named for the technique used to create each type of glass.) Each method produced different variations in color. Today there are modern glass factories who produce the glass using traditional methods and modern expediency, located everywhere from the USA to England, Russia and Poland.
I'm excited by artists who are finding ways to adapt the rainbow spectrum in their work. Color is so powerful and can be so striking. The color field (or chromatic abstractionist) artists of the 50's often painted with bold swaths of color but rarely used as many together as the featured artists of this article. In the 60's, psychedelic art used colors and patterns together too. The modern artists I'll cover in this post use color in an undiluted, anything but soft array of graphic lines and shapes resulting in work that is both vivid and alluring. Their work circumvents the boundaries their predecessors put in place to arrive at a new and bold take on prior styles.
Jim Lambie is represented by the Anton Kern Gallery. Glasgow-based, Lambie uses glossy tape in varying colors to build installations. The vinyl tape, an everyday material applied in continuous lines, transforms the dynamics of space, changing a white box gallery space into an energetic/emotional space of sensory pleasure. To read more about Lambie's work click here.
Pearly white, cream, yellow, brown, gray, blue, violet, green, olive. Chicken eggs are colorful even before they're dyed and decorated for Easter celebrations. "The color of eggs comes exclusively from the pigment in the outer layer of the shell and may range from an almost pure white to a deep brown, with many shades in between.
The only determinant of egg color is the breed of the chicken. . . . A simple test to determine the color of a hen's eggs is to look at her earlobes. If the earlobes are white, the hen will lay white eggs. If the earlobes are red, she will produce brown eggs" (David Feldman, Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? and other Imponderables, 1988.
Seemingly unintelligible colour names often tell fascinating and amusing stories, at least to those who are willing to delve beneath the surface. We continue our strange and wonderful adventure into the uncharted fringes of language, where we'll discover new "shades of meaning."
The light green colour called hmm represents a sound which a “great conversationalist” makes while listening to keep people talking, as discussed in Think Like Your Customer: A Winning Strategy to Maximize Sales by Understanding and Influencing How and Why Your Customers Buy by Bill Stinnett.
The bright orange colour called hmmmm refers to a “trite expression of wonder, envy and awe” that, along with “oh my,” “well well,” “say now,” and “really?” “will cover your adventures in New York” (Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967).
The golden colour similarly called hmmmm recalls a chant from the Igbo Folk Epic from Sub-Saharan Africa, as discussed in Traditional Storytelling Today: An International Sourcebook by Margaret Read MacDonald.
The dark red colour called hmph recalls an exclamation by the “Good Magician Humfrey” that, according to a translator golem, means “You blundering aviary feline! Get your catty feet on the ground!” (Piers Anthony, Source of Magic).
The pale orange colour called hnnn echoes the grunt of Frankenstein’s monster, according to poet John Quinn in “Subway Station Meditation (New York),” Do Not Ask Me to Compete with the Angels.
The deep purple colour called hssss refers to the sound of a city bus pulling away from a stop, as in The Hearse You Came In On by Tim Cockey.
The bright blue colour called kkkk refers to the sound of silk being stolen: "Aye, Silk’s what they fancy out in India ... over the wall, in your Window, kkkk! Job’s done." (Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon).
The deep green colour called kkkkkkk echoes the rapid bill-clapping sound of the Choco Toucan, as described in Toucans, Barbets and Honeyguides: Ramphastidae, Capitonidae and Indicatoridae by Lester L. Short.
The dusky purple colour called mmmmm recalls an expression of feeling vulnerable upon finding oneself stranded in a strange place at night, as in the song “Cross Road Blues” by Robert Johnson, as transcribed in Trouble in Mind by Leon F. Litwack.
The pale yellow colour called nnn echoes a response to the question “You spigotty anglease?” in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.
All of these colour name insights are derived from my Dictionary of Improbable Words, which is available for online reading.
Cover by jovike.
About the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow
With temperature extremes that reach negative forty degrees Celsius, and normal average temperatures that stay below zero for half of the year, Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province of China, is the perfect place to hold the most spectacular ice and snow festival. Bringing in artist from all over the world the annual Harbin Ice festival is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival. It includes some of the most incredible ice carvings, sculptures, and structures that illuminate with color each evening for an entire month.
The festival first dates back to 1963, but the tradition of the Ice lanterns started during the Qing Dynasty, between the years of 1644 and 1911.
The Derivation Of The Ice Lantern
Photo by gadgetdan
The first Ice lanterns were a winter-time tradition in northeast China during the Qing Dynasty（1644 - 1911), the local peasants and fishermen often made and used ice lanterns as jack lights during the winter months. At that time these were made simply by pouring water into a bucket that was then put out in the open to freeze. It was then gently warmed before the water froze completely so that the bucket-shaped ice could be pulled out. A hole was chiseled in the top and the water remaining inside poured out creating a hollow vessel. A candle was then placed inside resulting in a windproof lantern that gained great popularity in the region around Harbin.
Photo by ianwhitfield
From then on, people made ice lanterns and put them outside their houses or gave them to children to play with during some of the traditional festivals. Thus the ice lantern began its long history of development. With novel changes and immense advancement in techniques, today we can marvel at the various delicate and artistic ice lanterns on display.
You all are just way to talented! Choosing 3 winners from the 1,500 entries was an incredibly difficult task. It actually took more than a few hours to look at all the entries. (You can view all the contest entries here: Photo Color Inspiration with LuckyOliver) So many were creative, interesting and works of art themselves... but in the end we only have enough prizes for 3 winners and here they are:
8GB iPod Touch or $300 via US check or PayPal
iPod Shuffle or $79 via US check or PayPal
iTunes Gift Card or $25 via US check or PayPal
Getting 3 from 1,500 was nearly impossible. Along the way we kept trimming the list of palettes we loved down to a smaller number and the palettes below stayed with us for most of the way. Even though they didn't win, we wanted to share a little extra love with these palettes.
This is part of a series about colors from the 2008 Carnival season. Today we are featuring colors from the incredibly dramatic, ornately crafted and intricately designed costumes and masks of Carnival Venice
The colors of the Carnival festival season have been brightening up the streets of cities across the world since Pre-Christian times. While the celebration may not have always included eclectic parades filled with dynamic floats and street performers, Carnival has become a global celebration that extends beyond its religious roots crossing cultural and political divides.
Photo by Alaskan Dude
The carnival in Venice was first recorded in 1268. The subversive nature of the festival is reflected in the many laws created over the centuries in Italy attempting to restrict celebrations and often banning the wearing of masks.
Photo by Alaskan Dude
Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, December 26) at the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. As masks were also allowed during Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise. Mask makers (mascareri) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.
Photo by Alaskan Dude
If you've never seen a Hayao Miyazaki film, I can honestly tell you that you are missing a truly amazing experience that reaches vastly beyond the general formula of film making. Miyazaki has the same power to refresh the magic of childhood that Disney had down pat during their prime (and some would argue, still have.) Whereas Disney films seem to have lost some of that luster, Miyazaki has displayed work that not only shimmered with the brilliance of gorgeous color, sound and storytelling, but is delivered with such a humble hand that as viewers we are never once reminded of the heart of the film until we are ready to hold it close to us. This is what makes Miyazaki a master.
Hayao Miyazaki founded his own animation studio, Studio Ghibli, in 1985 after working with Toei Animation in his early career as an in-between artist. Miyazaki was the second of four brothers, raised by a highly literate mother who tended to question societal norms. She later suffered from spinal tuberculosis and the family often moved, which a reflection of can be seen in Miyazaki's perennial children's classic, My Neighbor Totoro.
From an early point in Miyazaki's career, his films shared the theme of environmentalism and rarely featured one-track characterizations. The first introduction of the former was in his 1984 film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, in which he tells the story of Nausicaa, princess of the peaceful Valley of the Wind. The adventure focuses on Nausicaa's humane approach to the chaos happening in the world around her and brings up humanistic and ecological concerns rarely seen in animation at the time of its release. The film was well received in Japan, selling nearly a million tickets and landing Miyazaki squarely on the map of the Japanese awareness.