Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Going Green - Emerald Green, that is!

It seems that the colour green will feature prominently this year. Emerald is the Pantone Colour of 2013, and it is accompanied by two other green hues, Tender Shoots and Grayed Jade.

Bulbs in my garden already well on their way at Christmas-time!

I have mixed feelings about green in general. I don’t think either Emerald or ‘Tender Shoots’ are colours that are universally easy to wear next to the skin. And, true to my Awkward Squad reputation, I dislike the countryside in Spring because of what I think are harsh, yellow-greens! 

My Honeysuckle sprouting new leaves at Christmas-time!

In my pastel paintings, I much prefer the darker greens of fir trees –

But on the other hand, I find Dulux’s ‘Castle Mount’easy to live with. In my previous house, the dining room, living room and cloakroom were all painted in that colour and my bedroom and stair carpets were a slightly darker shade of green! Even now, the tablecloth in my dining room, where I often work, is green, as are the walls of my shower room (below)-

So I turned to my really big book on colour to see what it said about green -


 And what I found was interesting – it seems that green is a colour of contradictions. 

The section on green begins, ‘Green is an ambivalent hue. The colour of mould and decay, it is, none the less, the colour of life itself.’

So I’ve picked out a few points from the book that I hope you will find interesting and maybe a springboard from which to do your own research into the colour green –

  • Green was the colour associated with the Ancient Egyption god, Osiris, the god of both Vegetation and Death.
  • Green is a restful colour to the eyes – hence the Green Room where actors can relax when offstage. But, gruesomely, the Roman Emperor, Nero ‘peered through an emerald to enjoy the spectacle of lions devouring Christians.’
  • Although there is plenty of green to be found in Nature, there are very few minerals available to make green pigments and even fewer to make green dyes. My own attempts to make a dye from the bright green water that I’d cooked broccoli in, resulted in a dirty beige colour and this is, apparently, typical.
  • The human body is never green unless there is sickness present. And many people are repulsed by slithery, green creatures such as lizards, snakes and even frogs, perhaps because green is usually the colour of ‘slime’. Green is associated with poison because of the colour of arsenic and in general, ‘Green is the colour of creepiness’.
  • Green is said to be the colour of emotional balance, being a mixture of happy yellow and tranquil blue. But it is also the colour of jealousy!
  • We say that a good gardener has ‘green fingers’ but in terms of building materials, it describes timber that is not ready for use and it has similar connotations of ‘unreadiness’ or naivety in relation to people, particularly in situations involving new recruits. Do you know why surgeons and their assistants in the operating room usually wear green, and the walls and covers they use are also green. I didn’t until I read about in my ‘Colour’ book. It’s because green is the complementary colour to red so it helps to prevent unpleasant after-images when the surgeon looks away from the wound!
  • On a personal note, I grew up with the belief that green was an unlucky colour, particularly for weddings and for cars. A google search revealed that this superstition is a British one – but how many green cars do you see on the roads these days? 
  • Green is associated with Robin Hood and his followers who wore Lincoln green (probably as camouflage in Sherwood Forest) and with Ireland, the Emerald Isle, where Leprechauns always wear green! 

In spite of all those negative connotations, I'd say that is that green is a very good colour for backgrounds! A green lawn shows off the colours of the flowers, green lettuce leaves make a good bed for a colourful salad . . . and my green walls are just right as a backdrop for paintings, and in particular for my many blue and white china ornaments.

But I also have a lot of houseplants and they are green, of course. Without them my house would look rather barren, lifeless.

So I finally have to conclude that I need the colour green for its life-giving qualities.

How about you? How do you feel about the colour green? 

Click HERE for gifts and apparel in Emerald, Tender Shoots and Monaco Blue patterns in my Zazzle store.

my other blog post about


Brenda Sutton said...

I was disappointed at first about Emererald being the colour of the year, but now I like it. Such a follower!

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Brenda - thank you for your comments.

It's a colour I can use in certain situations quite happily but on its own I think it's quite a harsh green.

Mariana said...

I'm afraid I'm not crazy about Emerald green, and it's certainly not a colour I would wear. I do have some clothing in green but it's more a pale sage green. And I prefer the more 'lime' coloured greens for my designs, although I'll still try and incorporate a little emerald if need be ... :)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Mariana - thank you for your comments. I think plain emerald green is quite a difficult colour to wear, especially if you have a pale or pinkish skin - I've noticed that it can make you look quite red in the face!

jane maday said...

Hi Judy,
I'm a little unsure about the Emerald Green too. I generally lean toward softer greens. I do need to figure out how to update the Pantone book in my Illustrator program though!

Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday and all the encouraging words!

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jane

Thank you for your comments. I'm afraid I can't help as far as Illustrator is concerned. I'm still trying to get to grips with Photoshop. Hope you get it sorted! said...

Green is such a "cool" color. And since St. Patty's Day will soon be here, it will be everywhere. By the way i love the color of your shower room! :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Crystal - thank you for commenting :)

It took me ages to find that colour for my shower room when I first wanted it for my previous house. I was looking for a green that was reasonably 'warm' without being yellowish! I was so pleased when I eventually found it and just hope it won't ever get dropped from the Dulux colour chart, even if they call it by a different name (I have the reference number painted on an old tin lid, just in case!

natacha said...

Emerald green was actually the first green I started to like. Growing up, my idea of green was limited to grass green, hunter green, or the very frank "BP" petro station green. Didn't like any of them. Now I love green, it's such a wide range, from endive green, chartreuse, moss, sea foam to deep olive greens, and thousands of shades in-between. I also acquired a deep respect for that hue through my work. I'm a 3D computer graphic artist working in special effects for movies, specialized in lighting and look dev, and the color green is always the hardest color to work with. I got to work on Ang Lee's "The Hulk", and last year, the Hulk in "The Avengers", and getting that big guy in a consistent shade of green is really a challenge (not nearly as much of an issue with the other super heroes...), as green is very affected by the color of lights or the bounce from its surrounding.
Back to emerald green, I think it's pretty easy to wear, especially for fair skin brunettes.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Natacha - thank you for stopping by and giving us more insights into the colour green. What a fascinating job you have!

Jayne said...

I like most greens -- not that I can wear them, necessarily, but I do find them soothing on the eyes (except lime green, I'm not a fan of lime green). My garden blog is called Green and Serene and that's what it's about, my efforts to create a green and serene retreat in our back yard :-)

Victoria Lynn Hall said...

My grandother loved the color green and decorated every room of her house in green. I can not see a green room or paint anything green without thinking of her, so I am very fond of green.

I tend to stay away from primary or dark green but this emerald campaign may inspire me to venture out of that comfort zone at some point.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jayne - thank you for your comments. Your time may come as far as wearing green is concerned. I've only recently found that some greens suit me; I think our colouring changes as we get older :)

Judy Adamson said...

HI Victoria - it sounds as if I would have liked your grandmother and her house :) I think it's quite difficult to imagine a world in which there was no green, more so than any other colour maybe/

Betsy Grant said...

I love your pastel painting!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Betsy - it was just a road near where I lived but every time I drove past those trees, they begged me to paint them!