Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Color Blind - Not!

Gannet Girl - prompted by Portia's beautiful post, has been musing about color. And I've been reading (and writing) about spaces, spaces for teaching, spacse for liturgy. For me, color matters a great deal. I used to despair when Math Man dressed Barnacle Boy or Crash in colors that clashed, and my guys still enjoy teasing me by putting out very mismatched placemats on the table (orange stripes on top of a green flower jacquard tablecloth anyone?). Color in a space makes a big difference to me. When a favorite chapel - small and filled with light, with white floor and walls -- was redone in heavy rusts and browns, it ceased to be a favorite place to pray. Fastest way to keep me out? Orange! Followed by rusty brown and beige.

I love deep cobalt blues, or blacks with splashes of brilliant jewel tones. But what matters more to me than the color, is the light. I love watching the interplay of light on surface and on colors. So it's probably not surprising that stained glass, with the sun streaming through it, is color come to life in my eyes. This window is one I wish I could sit in front of.

A few years back, I painted my study, tucked under the eaves, deep, dark blue, with white ceilings, and white shades. A few colorful pieces are on the walls (and one - from Stratoz - suspended in the window). (When Barnacle Boy first saw it, he looked quizzical and asked, "Why did you paint it black?" I realized with a start that it did look black to him, he's color blind. Good thing this was not his bedroom!). But what I like best about it is how it warms in sunlight and lamp light both....

I am quantum mechanic - I'm all about light!

The stained glass window is by Dennis McNally, SJ, depicting three of the principal meditations in the Spiritual Exercises.


  1. The Jesuit puts me to shame. That is amazing. I have decided that I am going to take a piece of my glass when I go on retreats.

  2. I think he's in Philly! But where oh where is that window?

  3. Once I visited someone's house which featured orange, bright purple, and yellow as the primary palette of choice. If Mrs. Frizzle had had a house, this would be it. Somehow, it seemed to work.

    Do you like this? http://sfs.scnu.edu.cn/hhzhang/webcourse1/kcln/img/pics/Eastern-Church-Icon.jpg

    and/or these colors?
    http://image56.webshots.com/156/1/91/6/463819106VANLtx_ph.jpg (It is difficult to find a good picture of these colors.)

  4. Re light/color: yes. Isn't it a bit odd to think how something that seems unnecessary changes so much?

    Re light/seeing: It is also odd to me how seeing is an independent/dependent action; it requires you, the "see-er", but dependent on light. Although, when I open my eyes and it is pitch black, I feel as though I can see the darkness (an action of "taking in" nothing?). Perhaps it is, after all, similar to listening to silence, although it seems much more difficult to find complete silence than it is to find complete darkness.

  5. flacie - I can tell you are a philosopher. I suspect total darkness might be easier to find than total silence. I was in a cave this summer, about a mile from the exit. That was utterly dark.

    But you prompt me to think about "seeing in the dark" and what does that mean!

  6. And a print of the the icon you linked to hung over the fireplace behind the altar on my 30-day retreat. There was a memorable homily that drew on its contemplation...thanks for the reminder.

  7. is the location still a mystery. if in Philly maybe we can all meet. Margaret desires to see it also.

  8. Now that you mentioned it, perhaps seeing in the dark is one way I can begin to glimpse the unity of the Trinity with the separation of Christ's pain--or, and something with which I do not really know--the presence of God in suffering.

    I would have loved to hear the homily.