Sunday, February 5, 2012

Things You Should Know About Me: Colors

When I was a kid I was convinced I could invent a new color.

I was five or six years old when I first learned about the color wheel. You know, mix red and blue to get purple, yellow and blue to make green and so on. I had some kind of cardboard and acetate color wheel that I could rotate and see the various color combinations.

I couldn't accept the limitations of the standard color wheel though. I was positive there had to be other colors out there, just waiting to be discovered. So I'd get out my box of 64 Crayola crayons and experiment, trying to come up with a brand new color.

I managed to come up with yellow greens and bluish reds and such, but those were just shades of existing colors. I wanted something totally new.

I thought perhaps my failure was due to the medium I was using, so I switched from crayons to watercolors. The results were even less promising with paint. Most of my watercolor experiments ended up a disappointing dishwater gray.

Needless to say, I never discovered any new colors. It didn't stop me from trying though. I was sure that my failure was due to the fact that I just hadn't found the right combinations in the precise percentages.

Desperate for results, I even cheated at one point. I mixed white and red and of course got pink. I refused to call it such though and insisted that I'd discovered a new color called Light Red. Unfortunately the scientific community (which at the time, consisted of my parents) didn't buy it.

Of course as a child it never occurred to me that the human eye can only see certain wavelengths and that even if by some miracle I did come up with a brand new color, I wouldn't have been able to see it anyway. Say, that gives me an idea. Maybe I could take a blank piece of white paper and tell everyone I invented a new color that's beyond the range of human vision!

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