I recently stumbled across the book, “The Secret Lives of Color.” How cool it would be to learn where the colors that draw your attention the most come from, so of course I bought the book. Every page filled with another eye bending shade that I cannot wait to learn about. Since I was younger I was always drawn to the colors yellow and green. Chartreuse to be exact. It was always my favorite. The vintage feel it gave off, the warm feeling it gave me when I added it to a room.
The book is vast, but throughout the months I’d like to share some of the stories I’m reading. Why are we drawn to certain colors and what does that mean about our personalities? This month I’m going to write about Chrome Yellow.
Artists in the late 1800’s had access to the richest red and blue paints, but were missing their third primary color – yellow. Many believed without this they could not create a truly dramatic and complementary composition. Artist’s such as Vincent Van Gogh, reveled in the new color, chrome yellow, when it finally arrived. “It owed its genesis to the discovery in 1762 of a scarlet-orange crystal in the Beresof gold mine in deepest Siberia.” Van Gogh used chrome yellow to create his series of sunflower paintings while living in Arles in the south of France. Today the color of his sunflowers is iconic. Fun fact: chrome yellow actually browns with age due to a reaction with the sun and other pigments.
For more information on the history of colors and Chrome Yellow you must read “The Secret Lives of Color” by Kassia St. Clair.