Art and Knowing · Uncategorized

Thirty Shades Of Gray

Last year some teaching artists and I taught inner city students in Erie about historical landmarks in their neighborhoods. We talked to the students about noticing what makes the landmarks distinctive, including colors and architectural shapes.

I cut apart paint chips and gave each student several shades of each color: whites, browns, reds, and blues. They compared them to the paint on the Erie Lighthouse and decided which shade of color was the closest match. I don’t know if the students had ever considered that there is more than one “red.”

We really notice the many shades of color when we stand in a paint store agonizing over choices for walls and trim. I’ve blogged about choosing paint for my home’s exterior, and how after it was applied I realized it wasn’t the color I had chosen. The sun catches the red in the tone and creates “Butterscotch” instead of “Only Natural.” A friend notes that “It’s like light on an otherwise dim street!”

Actually, it kinda is! Speaking of—light–the withdrawing ice on the Conneaut Marsh (what we locals call the Geneva Swamp) is reflecting yet one more gray day in northwestern Pennsylvania. The last sign of winter is many shades of gray, and I don’t mean the book.

View Of Conneaut Marsh at Hartstown, PA
View Of Conneaut Marsh at Hartstown, PA

I had forgotten gray also has that quality. The uncombed hair of swamp grass caught in the gray ice shakes a dry whisper, a secret of approaching spring.

Let’s hope.

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3 thoughts on “Thirty Shades Of Gray

  1. What a terrible ordeal this winter has been for many people. I hope it will make spring all the sweeter. Here in East Texas spring has sprung. The azaleas and redbud trees are in bloom, but we still have cold mornings. We are trying to restrain ourselves this year, since by this time last year we had already planted the garden, and it got severely nipped. The local wisdom says not to plant before the pecan trees leaf out. So we will try to be wise this year.

  2. Oh, I am hoping – with the very last remnants of my sanity – that spring will get here before those remnants become vague memories. .

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