Thoughts on Color and Consciousness
Artwork by Amanda Chisholm
But not for everyone. I’ve undertaken community service projects in several blind schools, and have seen and conversed with youngsters who do anything but take the beauty of color for granted. As I’d try in vain to ably and artistically describe what makes a hue what it is, the sheer abstractions of shades and tones would come upon me, and I’d be rendered helpless, with the weight of an immense burden nestled between my shoulders. And I realized- color is one of the most inexplicable and precious entities granted upon a majority of the living; it is impossible to elaborate upon the charm of lavender without mentioning the bodies bestowed with lavender into the illustration. We can’t accurately portray green without bringing meaningless scientific definitions of wavelength and frequency into discourse; depicting blue without alluding to the sky, bluebells or oceans is next to futile.
In fact, even defining color to one who was born without the sense of sight is a disarmingly mammoth task, not because we lack the faculties to do so or they lack the faculties to comprehend, but since color refuses to make itself accountable to us pitiable earthlings. And I suppose that it’s this frustrating unaccountability that makes its existence so subtle; it’s only when it decides to flaunt its allure, as it does when it creates a rainbow, that it awakens in us the ability to perceive and appreciate not only one hue, but a harmony of all. I suppose this is why I spent a majority of my years as little girl around paint- colors may seem unapproachable and immutable, but it was nice to think that I wielded some amount of power over something so powerful. I could turn red into orange or blue into purple in seconds, and nothing could stop me.
Everything is beautiful if one understands the utter worth of coloration. The faded red of an old book is still a color- only a new one, just faded. There are no “ugly” colors; it’s the article upon which the color is spread that makes it unappealing. Closing my eyes for a second and trying to envision a specific color was one of the many things I was completely incapable of doing- I could see it in my head, but I couldn’t see it before my eyes. And then I opened them and saw how off I was. It’s elusive, color is, but it’s never too late to start noticing and comprehending their value in our lives- whether it’s the green of a trash can or the cream of a textbook, it becomes surprisingly undemanding to treasure the innate beauty in everything, as long as we focus on the hues that enhance its being.