Colors are a big part of my life. I was working as a freelance illustrator for quite a long time, so I do familiar with several terms of graphic design, especially about colors.
Cold tone. Warm tone. Complimentary colors. Opposite colors.
I loved how the combination of two or more colors could create a new one. How a little drop of a certain color could change the whole piece. Make it warmer, make it colder, do it in terracotta, what color associates with professionalism, which color expresses hospitality, what color should be used to highlight a clause in a sea of information, what layers of color could implicitly send the softest sense of urgency.
Colors are magical.
My niece once had a discussion with me. I don’t think she remembers it by now because the conversation happened even before she entered elementary school. We are doing watercolors at the moment, and she was eagerly showing me that blue plus red equals purple.
“Look! Look!” she said to me as she dragged her purple brush across her drawing paper.
It’s clear that she mixed too much water in it, so the color wasn’t showing that much. Even though, a thin layer of purple was seen in several parts of the paper like a speck of bruises.
I was in my last year of high school, If I’m not mistaken. But a forever child at heart, I deliberately welcomed myself to join the excitement. I mixed several colors for her too. Blue with yellow, yellow with brown, put a hearty dose of white and there you go, a pastel color to roam.
My niece did it a little more heroic than me. She added a little bit of every color and mixed it happily, only to find a black nasty lump at the end of her little magic trick. No amount of colors (at the moment) able to change it. White color could only make it gray.
“Why do the color turns black?”
“You add too many colors in it.”
“But I thought it would be beautiful. But it becomes black.”
“What color do you want?”
My question went unanswered, because lucky for her, she didn’t think that much about what just happened and decided to move on to her favorite cartoon show. Me, however, being a mellow thinker I am, can’t help but to feel a little bit sad, that even the most colorful combination of colors end up black once you mix it too much with each other.
I wonder if this concept of colors works for human too. That every human mind was born as clear and as white as it could be, that the colors are added through the years of the human’s life.
The initial color that is given by your parents.
A uniform color added by your education system and religion.
Some colors from friends you met along the journey.
That special pink and red, and maybe purple-ish red, from your lover(s).
And maybe one day you realize that you don’t have that many colors, and maybe you wish for some more.
So you add the colors by yourself. Turquoise, lilac, coral, and maybe mauve.
On a rare day, you met the bluest blue you have ever seen. The color of a supernova. The color that shows up in your dream, the day after a beloved family member went to die.
Then you realize that your color is somehow getting darker and darker these days. But you continue to add more colors, no matter how dark it seems, because,
It’s hard to go back once you go black.
And even the fact that having too many colors is a torture too in some ways, only by that way, you know for sure which is what, and what is how.
So you could help other people to find their way.
For instance, asking your niece this particular question:
“What color do you want? Let me mix it for you to see. If you like it, put it on your paper. And if you don’t, we can always fix it together.”