Monday, July 9, 2012

Yellow? I call it ‘Bit o' Buttercup’

I told a girl at church I liked her salmon color shorts. She said she preferred to think of them as ‘coral’. Salmon made her think of smelly.
Later that day, I was correcting a paper one of my students emailed over. I make comments, but it is more fun to make them in color, and it is more fun when the color has a fun name. My Mac has a palette called ‘crayons’. I don’t write in red, blue or green. I write in maraschino, or blueberry, or clover.
I commented on her paper in ‘Ocean’.

In the early 1990’s Crayola announced a contest to name its new colors. When the winners came out I splurged on a box of Crayola Crayons.
‘Macaroni and Cheese’, ‘Tickle me Pink’ and Denim’ were dandy, but as soon as I saw ‘Purple Mountain’s Majesty’ named by Mildred Sampson (age 89) I fell in love. If my sons wanted to butter me up they just had to draw me a picture using Mildred’s purple.

I’m a sucker for emotive color names.
Don’t bother tempting me to paint my kitchen with a couple of gallons of white. Tell me it would look great with a fresh coat of ‘Sun-Rinsed Linen’.
Dark blue trim wouldn’t excite my imagination till labelled ‘Moody Blue’.
Come to think of it, that would look good with ‘Nights in White Satin’. Musical groups provide so much inspiration. ‘Nickelback Gray’. Or ‘Maroon 5’. Your biker-dude husband may opt for some ‘Back in Black’.

Don’t forget literary characters. Can’t you just picture ‘Charlie Brown’? ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ would have to be a pretty potent shade of red. And ‘Tinkerbell Pink’ not only sounds feminine, it is fun to say. Paint your living room “Dorian Gray’ and you probably wouldn’t hang your family portrait in it.
And while ‘Narnian Snow’ would be more tempting than ‘Bright White, it may mean little to those who don’t read fantasy.

Beigey-taupe paint called ‘Putty’ would be OK with my carpenter spouse, but I would pass until it became ‘Shenandoah'.  The duller the color, the more ethereal its name.
Tan is just washed out brown till you name it ‘Grandma’s Casserole’. The name really doesn’t have to do anything with the color. It just has to make an emotional connection.

My husband can be an inadvertent master of emotional connections.
He called his neighbor’s horrific siding color ‘Gang-green’.


Susan said...

So fun!

Sue Vick Finley said...

'Gang-green'! Pretty funny. Great post!

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Way to go, Byron--that's funny. Prude, another pleasing post. Too bad our comments can't be fancified with font and palette!

Lori Lipsky said...

I'm one of those dull ones who has never understood the need for clever color names...until now. Thank you for explaining the other, more creative view.

bethBA said...

Watch out, Anita. Byron is right on your heels!