My Fascination with Orange…..

We read symbols all the time–many even more potent than words! Television jingles from childhood still exist in our brains, corporate logos blanket our urban environments. Even blank walls carry their own messages. I found this photo of the orange wall online and added my message to you.

I want to involve you in this exploration of orange. Each color has it’s own personality. Orange has been neglected. Let’s change that! The range from pale peach to blazing orange offers unlimited options. Let’s communicate with each other. Three women have already sent me photos to include in the next post. Now it’s your turn! Send me your photos and your comments about your photos. I will share them with the group for ongoing comments and reactions. Do it this week! Get involved and next week I will post them.

Consider this! As a girl I traveled much of the U.S. on family camping trips. Kodak film signs greeted us everywhere we drove. Do you remember this, too? Kodak, the corporation, must have done extensive market research on choosing what the most effective colors to use for all their advertising. It was two shades of orange!

Kathy G mentioned that she had never known of other color wheels either. I was introduced to this unique color wheel when I read Joen Wolfrom’s book Color Play. Wolfrom sells tools to help use this vibrant version of the color wheel Herbert Ives (1882-1953) was a scientist and engineer who headed the development of facsimile and television systems at AT&T in the first half of the twentieth century.


Ives was also an accomplished photographer and inventor. He developed this color wheel based on physics and the true colors in nature. Reportedly, the Ives’ color wheel is the wheel of choice for all fabric, furniture, clothing, yarn and paper companies! Ives’ primary colors are Cyan (Turquoise), Magenta, and Yellow. Computers too, use this system. When you buy ink for your printer, note the C, M, Y designations.

Soothing Shades of Peach, Cantaloupe and Tangerine
I’m drawn to these pale, warm (not hot) colors too. Pale versions of orange are generally tinted with white or gray to tone down the “volume” of pure orange. Think sherbet. Picture antique apricot-color velvet curtains. Or picture a group of well worn vintage books. Next I’ve provided some examples of subdued, soothing shades from the talented photographer Chris Lawton.

This “Still Life” could hang above my mantel for years–then I could study the colors, the composition, and the energy contained in each detail. How soon would the bird take off? Would she stay and sing? Would the hibiscus flower bud open today? Is breakfast coming to this table soon? Lawton

The curves and cave elements draw me into this photograph. I’ve never seen a ceiling like this one before. Have any of you? The tree-like columns reference the “tree of life” symbol of ancient Crete for me. The play of light along the curved path is hypnotizing. The hint of green leaves in the distance is almost shocking. Lawton

The soothing colors of the foreground draw us into the deep blues of the distant sea. The grid of the black wrought iron gate adds unexpected punctuation. Lawton

Nature Demands Our Attention
Our everyday surroundings offer us amazing observations. Let’s pay attention to all we have to celebrate in the natural world of leaf and sky, sunrise and sunset.

Winter can offer a variety of spectacular images when we stay aware of nature’s offerings.

Is this leaf orange or brown? Possibly both! One of my friends, A.A., has a passion for brown. I consider brown a close relative of orange–think about the color “rust”. Is it orange with a lot of brown? Speaking of brown, all the traditional “color wheels” ignore so many fabulous options like black, white, brown, gray and chocolate! And taupe! Some of my favorite quilting time was spent exploring the possibilities of those subtle, but vibrant Diawabo taupe fabrics like those I found at Sager Creek Quilts This is a subject for another day!

Natural Sights: Look Around You
Photos of the sun or moon, rising or setting, over any puddle or other body of water, offers the observer many varieties of yellows and oranges evolving or dissolving into one another. Again, notice how the dark accents heighten the drama.

Closing this post with an attentive canine unaware of our admiration. The shaggy doggy fur in many shades of multiple colors contrasts with the harsh metal of a vividly orange vehicle. Contrasts are a central part of engaging the eye and mind of a viewer.

This entry was posted in Color Explorations. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *