“Reds Like Hearts” & “Pinks Like Candy”: Color Walks with Painting 1A

Arts Instructor Ascha Drake shares excerpts from a recent lesson on color. 

The Painting 1A artists are beginning to think and work with color.  The painters began the term using only black and white and shades of gray, so diving into color requires some thinking and patience. There is a complexity to color that is exciting and exhilarating.

To get into the color mindset, the artists were asked to take color walks. They then wrote about their experience of walking in an environment for one hour — uninterrupted.

Read through and see if their perspectives and observations open your eyes up to the world around you.

Genevieve ’17

When I first head outside I notice mainly earth tones, and the brilliant blue from the sky. Where I live, the sky is always a very unique color blue. Either a beautiful bright blue, in the afternoon, or a warmish gray lavender in the morning or when it is cold. I also notice as I walk around the almost warm gray path that surrounds my block all of the many different leaves that almost change color as I walk by. The sky is really popping against the dull suburbia on this day. Some purple and deep blues of flowers are also really coming to life, as I begin to seem more and more in. The green of the leaves all over are also slowly making their clear presence into my vision. These greens, all different colors, but all look so beautiful next to one another. One color I am noticing that I really did not expect to ever find on this walk was the earl gray lavender color that the sky is starting to change.

Kiyona ’14

The shades of the speckled sand is a mixture of browns, tans, slivers of white, black, getting darker as you dig deeper beneath the top layer, as the grains become saturated with salty sea water. The puddles of rocks arrange themselves on the shore, the mass of slick grays dotted with bright green, white, pale blue, red and brown beer bottle sea glass, sanded down to smooth, muted shapes worn down by the water and time. The gray churning sea bubbles and boils, creeping up onto the sand, tendrils of water clawing at your wet heels. The ocean foams at the break, pushing the yellowy fluff onto land.

The sun is blotted out by the blanket of clouds, rendering everything in dull shades of gray and blue. The light reflects off the water, embossing the ripples on the surface. In the distance, the sky and sea blend seamlessly into each other, the line blurred by the waves of fog rolling slowly in. The brown cliffs stand out in the water, jagged shards of soil and gray rock sticking out of the liquid, outlined with dark green trees that bend in the invisible wind. Over on the right, the clay colored red Golden Gate bridges the gap leading into the bay, standing out against the stark, blinding pale pale gray sky, the towers reaching up into the ether.

Embedded in the sand passing slowly under your feet, a red plastic bottle cap lays. You pick it up to put it into the blue recycling bins in the parking lot.

There is a dried yellow rose laying on its side on a pile of rocks up near the bluffs, the stained brown petals peeling away, shriveling. The steam has turned a sickly green, pale and pleading. You lean down and look at the flower so it lays against the background of the sky, the yellow against the grey, an ugly combination but here, beautiful.

Maddie ’14

As I enter the park from 7th Avenue this bright green appears in my vision.  These big patches of grass and these tall trees are suddenly surrounding me, I keep walking with the green as my path until I turn the corner and a whole world of color is introduced to me.  Bright reds like hearts, yellows like the sun and pinks like candy surprise me.  The sun pours down on them giving them life.  Making this beautiful garden shine.  I keep walking and walking and before I know it I’m in the height.  Walking on the hippy streets seeing all the plaid and then I approach a store that has a beautiful blue scarf in the window.  The blue is like the sky on a beautiful day, a happy blue.  I go inside and every color in the store was happy, it made me smile, so bright and sparkly.  I decided to keep walking and instead of just simple colors, layers of colors appeared.  Stripes, plaid, poka dots, layers and layers of colors all around me.  All the layers gave me the feeling of energy.  One color that was introduced to me a while back ended up the color I saw the most of.  Gray, gray was everywhere.  In the sky due to the fog and on the sidewalk.  Somehow though, it ended up giving all the world of color I was seeing something extra.  All the colors mixed together created a sense of belonging, created a warm feeling no matter how cold it was outside.  On my walk back to my house I saw something you normally see only once a year, I saw a ton of orange.  Halloween. So much black and orange give an extra kick to everyday life.

What I came to realize on this color walk and I don’t notice color.  The walk I took is the same way I get to school in the morning and I never realized how beautiful the colors are because I don’t stop and take a minute.   If I can take a minute every day of my life and just look around, the world would really become beautiful.  Every color I saw, created a new feeling toward color.  My life doesn’t have to feel black and white; I can create color.