Minimalist Colors

All colors tend to white,
the fiercer the intensity of light
—Marcel Minnaert

by Greencolander

Did you hear the one about the minimalist who bought a coloring book but deliberately overlooked the crayons?  Visual artists who subscribe to the Minimalism philosophy seek to simplify things down to what’s necessary.  Since the white page of a coloring book reflects all colors, is a crayon truly necessary?  Inspired by COLOURlovers, I created the Minimalist Coloring Book, a meditation on the spectrum contained within white.  As the book features images of white things printed on white paper, it invites us to expand our eye for subtlety.  For, indeed, there is a rainbow of whites at play within the dendrites of a snowflake, the ruffles of a flag, the tufts of a polar bear, or the plumage of a seagull (to name but a few examples).

Following is a random sampling of images and quotations from the Minimalist Coloring Book, accompanied by subtle palettes from the COLOURlovers library.

Seagull A Flock of Seagulls

A wintry seagull hung white as a winter leaf above the surface of the waves.
—Achmat Dangor, Waiting for Leila (1981)

Polar Bears Polar Bear

The polar bear will make a rug
Almost as white as snow:
But if he gets you in his hug,
He rarely lets you go.
—E.V. Lucas, A Book of Verses for Children (1970)

Flag of Truce white flag

A few more years and there will be nothing but the white of our empty chairs around a table, white as the white flag of our shared surrender.
—Marie Claire Blais, These Festive Nights (translated by Sheila Fischman, 1997)

Snowflake Snowflake Scrimmage

You look like a transfigured snowflake yourself, pet.
The New England Magazine (1917)

Milk milk vs. soy

His image of her fades to a screen of purest white as he gazes at the white glass of milk on the white tablecloth, the white crysanthemums, the white tile oven and the white faces.
—Linda Haverty Rugg, Picturing Ourselves (1997)

Igloos Igloo Hideaway

I paint your igloos and your hunting-grounds as white as my face so that you should find your way in the long winter night.
—Henry Beissel, Inuk and the Sun (1980)

Marshmallow Marshmallow

The bishop’s robe was as white as marshmallow creme, and flowed to the ground in front of me, so close that I could touch it.
—Robert T. Sharp, No Dogs in Heaven (2005)


See more sample pages from the Minimalist Coloring Book at / minimalist.


Cover by Pietroizzo.

Craig ConleyAbout 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

Author: Prof. Oddfellow