Multicolored and Multilingual

Multicolored and Multilingual


When we talk of colors, we can't help but be multilingual. Our world tour of exotic color names continues on through Italy, England, Greece, and Iran. Let's take a pictorial tour of these colorful cultures, in search of an exotic blue metamorphic rock that yields a bright pigment when crushed.

 

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img by Brian J. Geiger.

Magenta is named in honor of the town in northern Italy where the bloodlike purplish red dye was discovered.

magenta

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Colorful Allusions vol. 2

Colorful Allusions vol. 2


Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour.  In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes.  Try to guess the exact hue of each.  Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words.  Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue.  Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.

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Pink champagne that left me feeling blue.
—Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers, "Pink Champagne," 1950.

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Moonbows: Colors of the Night

Moonbows: Colors of the Night


Just as the sun illuminates rainbows during the day, reflected sunlight from the moon can reveal moonbows and moon halos at night. The most favorable time for a moonbow to appear is during a rain shower opposite a full or very bright moon. The night sky needs to be very dark, and moonbow watchers should stand with their backs to the moon. The colors of the moonbow will be dim pastels, in contrast to the vibrant hues of a daytime rainbow.

A moon halo, on the other hand, is visible near the moon itself as a result of moonlight scattered through ice crystals in very high clouds. The colors of a moon halo tend to be brighter than a moonbow.

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img Moon halo (top) by mitzelman_99. Fogbow (above) by Christian Fenn.

The headlights of a car can create a phenomenon called a fog bow as they illuminate water vapor during misty conditions. Christian Fenn reported "Fogbows are more feebly colored than their Sun illuminated counterparts (rainbows) and usually appear whitish to the unaided eye."

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Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs

Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs


The Micropolitan Museum exhibits an unworldly spectrum visible only through the lens of a microscope. Painter Wim van Egmond photographs spectacular microscopic masterpieces with ethereal color palettes. To capture these hidden treasures, he uses a Zeiss Standard light microscope and an old Zeiss Photo-microscope. Several methods of illumination are employed: bright-field, dark-field, phase contrast, differential interference contrast, and Rheinberg illumination.

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Van Egmond's Insectarium offers such specimens as the iridescent butterfly wing, whose tiny scales possess a microscopic texture that refracts light. Here we find lavender blue and green.

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No Name Colors

No Name Colors


We are the nameless colors. No mere words can encapsulate our radiance. We are questions without easy answers. We are puzzles for the sake of enigma. We are the cats that get your tongue, leaving you speechless in our wake. We are anonymous yet individual, handleless yet graspable, inscrutable yet deep. Would a color by any other name look as sweet? We are the nameless colors--the only colors truly beyond description.

Art expert Joseph H. Krause notes that "In the English language, there are fewer than thirty words whose major function is to designate a specific color. These include auburn, azure, brown, black, blue, cerise, crimson, cyan, dun, ecru, gray, green, indigo, khaki, maroon, mauve, puce, purple, red, russet, scarlet, sepia, taupe, ultramarine, white, and yellow—they are all defined in the dictionary as either a specific location on the spectrum or with the phrase 'as having the color of' or 'being the color' followed by the names of objects bearing the color. . . .

"There are also colors that are named after specific objects—animals, vegetables, or minerals; their names, having been in use for a long time, have come to be regarded, when used in the proper context, primarily as colors. Within this group are such names as beige, buff, lavender, lilac, orange, pink, sienna, umber, rust, turquoise, silver, gold, emerald, sapphire, and fawn. And some of these names have lost their original meaning and now stand for the color alone. However, even with this list, the number of color names remains fairly small. Therefore we use a variety of linguistic devices to extend it.

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The Electrifying Colors of Candlelight

The Electrifying Colors of Candlelight


Warm, romantic, rich, enlivening, homey, flattering to the complexion, prayerful, even mysterious and mystical—there's nothing quite like the atmospheric glow of candlelight. Though typically classified as yellow or golden, a flickering candle flame actually exhibits all the colors of the rainbow. A touch of candlelight can offer emotional appeal, a festive air, or a seductive sparkle to virtually any color palette.

Candlelight - photo-artiste.jpg
img Mirrored flame (top) by Jonathan Assink. Leaning flame (above) by photo-artiste.

According to Celtic lore, candlelight is the only illumination hospitable to shadow. "The ideal light to befriend the darkness, it gently opens up caverns in the darkness and prompts the imagination into activity. The candle allows the darkness to keep its secrets. There is shadow and color within every candle flame" (Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, 1997).

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Lens Flares: Light and Color at Play

Lens Flares: Light and Color at Play


Stray rays of sunlight bouncing inside the lens barrel of a camera leave ghostly trails of stars, glowing halos, subtle rainbows, and specular orbs. Photographers may abhor these secondary traces of light, but lens flares serve a purpose: they create a sense of depth, focus intensity, provide an accent, and lend a dreamy glow to the scenario. The colors of lens flares are typically bright, desaturated, somewhat foggy, and somehow ethereal. Their charm lies in their uncontrolled, unpremeditated, and exuberant nature. Lens flares represent light at play within the tools we use to capture it. They offer brilliant highlights beyond our normal reach.

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A ghostly green spectral crescent and pink aura of the moon inspired this palette.
img by Chealion.
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Colors of French Extraction

Colors of French Extraction


When we talk of colors, we're often speaking French. Many of our most exotic color names are of French origin. Let's take a pictorial tour of the colorful French countryside, where we'll encounter drunken monasteries, burrowing insectivorous mammals, jumping blood-sucking insects, earthy shadows, juicy fruits, and edible ornamentals.

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img by Funky Coda.

Umber is derived from the French phrase "terre d'ombre," literally "earth of shadow." Raw umber is a dark yellow brown pigment, while burnt umber is roasted to a dark brown.

Raw Umber
burnt umber

 

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img by Oklahoma State University.

Puce is of French origin and literally means "flea" color. Puce is purplish-brown or dark red.

184 puce

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Landmark Colors: Burma (Myanmar)

Landmark Colors: Burma (Myanmar)


Burma (or Myanmar, as it was renamed by its military-led government in 1989) is a country of 50 million people. It has an extremely long coastline along the Indian Ocean, and is bounded by India and Thailand to the east and west. The north is bounded by mountains and beyond them, China. But despite its location and its vast natural resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Last month, on September 27, a movement of peaceful protest instigated by monks, over worsening economic conditions, was suppressed by the killing of an unknown number of protesters, including a Japanese photographer who continued to take photographs as he lay dying the street. (The government claims that nine people were killed, but other sources indicate that there may have been as many as 200 deaths.) Since then thousands of suspected protest instigators have been arrested and incarcerated.

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This is a tragic reminder of the general protests and tragic repercussions of the 8/8/88, a general protest march which started on the eighth minute of the eighth hour on August 8, 1988. The military crushed this peaceful uprising by shooting directly into crowds and killing over 2000 people. General Ne Win, the country's military leader at the time, simply commented "When an army shoots, it doesn't shoot in the air. It shoots to kill."

Ne Win is no longer alive, but the severe repression that began when he took power in 1962 continues. In a 1990 election, the NLD, The National League for Democracy, won 82% of the parliamentary seats. The military junta refused to recognize these results, and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has since received the Nobel Peace Prize, has been under almost constant house arrest ever since.

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Color Inspiration from the History of Halloween

Color Inspiration from the History of Halloween


Jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, vampires, witches, ghosts, candy and kids trick-or-treating... Halloween has grown into one of the biggest commercial holidays in the US since the first official citywide celebration in Anoka, Minn., in 1921. But, Halloween has been around for over 2,000 years and its customs and rituals have changed dramatically over time. Here we'll look at a bit of the history of this holiday and get some color inspiration from the day's iconic colors.

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Source - History Channel

Halloween Colors & Symbolism

 Halloween jack-o-lantern 

Probably the most well known symbol of Halloween is the carved pumpkin, or jack-o-lantern. The tradition of carving a lantern comes from the Irish who used potatoes and turnips, but was modified to use the pumpkin in the US where it was available.

Jack-O-Lantern

There are a few colors that are strongly associated with Halloween. Orange and black being the two main colors of the holiday. Although these colors have been mass-marketed in recent years, they are thought to go all the way back to the celtic celebrations and be reminders of the candles and fires that were lit to welcome the cold black winter ahead.

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