Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have been reading Victoria Finlay's Color, A Natural History of the Palette, covering all matter of colors -  history, origins, myths, makings .... it is a fascinating read. I have been slowly making my way through it. With my sunbathing hour (now that the sun is out), allows me time to sit down with stack of neglected books.

I am on the Orange chapter, mainly talking about resins, types and where they come from. How they were used on violins and master paintings for varnishes. Some interesting facts I discovered:

 I have always loved to look of a Dragon Tree, native to the Socotra archipelago in the Indian Ocean. But didn't know that produces red sap. "The trees can be harvested for their crimson red resin, called Dragon's blood which was highly prized in the ancient world and is still used today. Around the Mediterranean basin it is used as a dye and as a medicine, Socotrans use it ornamentally as well as dying wool, gluing pottery, a breath freshener and lipstick."

Safflower and Megilp, Madder Root ("Madder has been cultivated as a dyestuff since antiquity in central Asia and Egypt, where it was grown as early as 1500 B.C. Cloth dyed with madder root pigment was found in the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun and in the ruins of Pompeii and ancient Corinth. In the middle ages, Charlemagne encouraged madder cultivation. It grew well in the sandy soils of the Netherlands and became an important part of the local economy.")

Pistacia lentiscus found on the island of Chios, the mastic gum used in the production of high grade varnish (as well as a variety of medical uses and chewing gum.

Victoria also mentions Alexander Scriabin being Synesthesia, where he "saw" and "heard" music colors. Fantastic. I was wondering if I ever did that. Anyway, sent me on a big internet search on "hearing music in colors". Anyone have some good websites to share on that? I found a few, but not quite what I was wishing for. Maybe I had some interactive in mind.

Colors of Music

Hear Color Music

Visual Music

I will keep you updated on the rest of the fascinating history of the rest of the colors. Thank you, Victoria!

Meanings of Colors. I always gravitate towards Green and Gray.

Found this 100 Years of Colour on House and Home the other day and couldn't resist. Guess what color is my fave. ;)


Shelley Noble said...

NO WAY! Finlay's Color is one of my all time favorite books ever. I give away copies like I own shares in her stock!

Cool!!!! xoxoxo

Kim Carney said...

that is sooo funny! We have even MORE in common! Hey, how did your cards turn out?

Ontheroad said...

I was going to ask if the book is worth buying, and was my answer there in your correspondence with Shelly Noble? :)