The Search for Silent Colors

The Search for Silent Colors

We all know garishly loud colors when we see them. Typically in the range of red, orange, and yellow, loud colors are unwelcome in business attire, unless one's business happens to be the circus. And we all know quiet colors by their instant calming effect. The quiet range of blue, green, and violet is beloved by home designers. But what of silent colors? If they exist, would we find them in cloistered monasteries, or hushed libraries, or ruined castles?

The American ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson found a "sea of silent colors" when he tearfully witnessed the grandeur of the Grand Canyon for the first time. He reported a vivid array of silent reds, yellows, grays, and lavenders (Wild America, 1997).
grand canyon colors
img by davidanthonyporter

The poet A. F. Moritz found silent colors within the curves of a white seashell. He described a "diminished spectrum" of "shades of milk" ("You, Whoever You Are," Early Poems, 1983). The naturalist Timothy Duane found "the silent colours of winter" blanketing the Sierra mountain chain (Shaping the Sierra, 2000).

When feminist activist Ginny Foat found herself incarcerated, she discovered silent grays, blacks, and greens in the steel and cinder blocks of her cell (Never Guilty, Never Free, 1985).

The COLOURlovers library offers a beautiful spectrum of silent colors.

Do any of these colors "speak" to you?
Silent Silent ColourSilent Cries Silent PurpleSilently silent

Silent Grey silentlysilent Silent nightsilent, silent Silent EdgeSilent Strong and SilentSilent Rose Silent WordsSilent Depths silent nightSilent Silent SighSilent Copper silent prayerSilent Hill Silent riverSilent in Darkness silent leafSilent Coral Silent Seaweed
Cover img by superdove.

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig ConleyWebsite: http://www.OneLetterWords.comCraig 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

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Showing 1 - 11 of 11 Comments
What a wonderful and beautiful article! I love to have some silence in my life and there are definitely times when I see colors that just seem to drape themselves over everything, bringing a soft hush of silence. I love the examples you used - the Grand Canyon, a white sea shell, a prison cell - all of them do evoke images and colors of silence. Silence can be such a powerful thing that I think there are times when the colors that surround you can become silent, where colors that you may not see as silent by themselves become silent within the context.

Thanks for posting this, it is wonderfully thought provoking :)
palette made of silent colors
Silent Palette
what language is that?
what language is that?

That sounds terrible!
Cubu, the photo was taken in the Maldive Islands. The language appears to depict the Dhivehi language.
beautiful..... when I was in Austria overlooking the Grossglockner glacier I was overwhelmed by the beauty and silence of the ice and snow....

this is really nice - thanks for using my colour. great photo.
This is a great article! Thanks for using my color, "Strong and Silent".
nice article. here's what it inspired in me:
run silent run deep
funny. that was supposed to be a badge, not a link...
The Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX is breathtaking. Awe-inspiring to me. Anybody else?


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