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.
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.