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 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Color


Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. ~Claude Monet

[C]olor is an infinite thing... ~F. Schuyler Mathews, "Comparative Colors and their Relation to Flowers," 1894

But men are so serious. Why? Why violence? Why hatred? Why war? If people want to make war, they should make a colour war, and paint each others city up during the night in pinks and greens. ~Yoko Ono

Wherever men are noble, they love bright colour; and wherever they can live healthily, bright colour is given them — in sky, sea, flowers, and living creatures. ~John Ruskin (1819–1900), Proserpina: Studies of Wayside Flowers, While the Air Was Yet Pure Among the Alps, and in the Scotland and England which My Father Knew, “The Flower,” 1874

One pleasant Saturday morning early in spring, those children... asked me what was my most favorite color. I said gray was... But soon... a Mariposa lily bloomed in my vacant lot. It was red. Very red. Suddenly red became my favorite color — until wild roses popped open their sunny yellow petals. All that year into the whiteness of winter, I discovered the colors of Easter eggs, June bugs, firecrackers, Concord grapes, goldenrod — and all were my favorites. ~Harry Behn (1898–1973), "Color," Chrysalis: Concerning Children and Poetry, 1968

...various shades of pink, rose, and salmon... scarlet, crimson, and maroon... yellow, apricot, maize, and lavender.... buff, blush, orange, silvery grey, deep pink, purple, white, heliotrope, terra-cotta... ~T.H. Cook, James Douglas, & J.F. McLeod, Carnations & Pinks, 1911  [colors of flowers —tg]

Purple is the soul-lifter
Red, the flame of passion
Yellow, the light of warmth
Green, vibrant stem of life
Pink, a whisper of beauty
Orange beckons, take a chance
Blue is the sea tide in us all
~Terri Guillemets

Red is passion-lit, orange is flowerageous, yellow is suntastic, pink is lipsensual, green is lifebursting, blue is skyful, purple is berrydancing, gray is cloudrainy. ~Terri Guillemets, "Love colours," 2011

A colour, no doubt, is a trifle in itself, and only has its full value when it is in contrast or harmony with other colours.... each colour has an expression and a character peculiar to itself, and each is enlivened as it approaches its lightest shade by its mixture with white, just as it is saddened and perishes as it approaches its darkest shade by its mixture with black. ~Auguste Alexandre Philippe Charles Blanc (1813–1882), Art in Ornament and Dress / L'Art dans la Parure et dans le Vêtement, "Personal Adornment: Colours and Their Expression," 1875, translated from French

In fact, why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? ~Pablo Picasso

Flowers and flames. And colour... The last mad throb of red just as it turns green, the ultimate shriek of orange calling upon all the blues of heaven for relief or for support; these Georgia O'Keeffe is able to use. In her canvases each colour almost regains the fun it must have felt, within itself, on forming the first rain‑bow. ~Charles Demuth (1883–1935), letter to Alfred Stieglitz, 1926 December 26th  [So cute! — he referred to her elsewhere as G'Keeffe. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Among these kinds of beauty the eye takes most delight in colours. ~Joseph Addison, The Spectator, June 23rd 1712 (Nº 412)  [Quoted Addison by Maturin M. Ballou, 1886: "In the recognition of beauty the eye takes the most delight in color." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

What could be more lovely than a winter night such as this, when the moon shines out of a cloudless sky upon the glittering, fresh-fallen snow? Beauty without colour seems somehow to belong to another world. ~Murasaki Shikibu (c.978–c.1014), The Tale of Genji: A Wreath of Cloud, translated from the Japanese by Arthur Waley, 1927

Nature is your true landscape painter. The mile, not the foot, is the unit measure of her canvases. Upon her palette rest colors, with their infinite variety of shades and tints, found in no moral studio. When the summer panorama is unrolled, count, if you can, the thousand-and-one hues that blend with the ubiquitous green of the picture, or give a name to the dyes that greet the gaze when the autumnal canvas glides into view. ~Sister Mary Blanche (Elizabeth King, b.1852), "A Study in Gray," Idyls and Sketches, 1916

My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I'm told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it's silver when it's wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.
~Shel Silverstein, "Colors"

We have no reliable nomenclature of color tones, and we resort to nature at once for a color name which scientifically does not exist; as, for instance, peacock blue, cherry red, sulphur yellow, sea green, crushed raspberry, and old gold. ~F. Schuyler Mathews, "Comparative Colors and their Relation to Flowers," 1894

One of the strongest elements of beauty in Nature is her colors. ~F. Schuyler Mathews, "Comparative Colors and their Relation to Flowers," 1894

I walked along a street at dawn in cold, grey light...
The lamps were fading, and the sky was streaked rose-red...
The golden trees were calling me: "Come! Come! Come!"
The trees were fresh with daylight, and I heard bees hum.
A cart trailed slowly down the street, its load young greens,
They sparkled like blown emeralds... London's upthrust spires
All tipped with gold and shining in the brisk, blue air...
~Amy Lowell, "Coq d'Or," Pictures of the Floating World, 1919

Earth's favorite color is Spring,
Spring's best-loved color is green,
and green himself loves to party
with yellow, red, orange, and pink.
~Terri Guillemets, "Parti-colored," 2008

To this day, color is an enormous delight to me. It means experience, adventure of all kinds. ~Harry Behn (1898–1973), "Color," Chrysalis: Concerning Children and Poetry, 1968

...chaos of color, like a shattered rainbow... ~G.K. Chesterton

[V]ariety of climate should always go with stability of abode.... an Englishman's house is not only his castle; it is his fairy castle. Clouds and colours of every varied dawn and eve are perpetually touching and turning it from clay to gold, or from gold to ivory. There is a line of woodland beyond a corner of my garden which is literally different on every one of the three hundred and sixty-five days. Sometimes it seems as near as a hedge, and sometimes as far as a faint and fiery evening cloud. ~G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions, "The Glory of Grey"

Fancy lays down her pencil here:
Her palettes, bright with mortal hues,
To yield immortal tints refuse:
And those who know Truth's glorious face,
Need not an artist's hand to trace
Her beauty, as she rose in light...
~James Hamilton, "The Shipwreck of St. Paul," c.1856

Out of life's tangled skein
      Draw here and there a thread;
      And one is black with pain,
      And one with grief is red,
      To show a heart hath bled.
And one is white as youth;
      It marks its perfect time,
      When life, untouched of ruth,
      Mounted toward Summer prime,
      Through love, romance, and rhyme.
Beside Love's glowing threads,
      Here one is cool and gray,
      Where passionate morning weds
      A neutral-tinted day,
      And Peace comes down to stay.
Imperial purple weaves signs,
      Hints of loftier bliss bespread,
      Memories in royal ray tread
      With pallid and paling lines
      Of youth forever fled...
Yet, touching them, they glow,—
      Again the young, warm thrill,
      The tones all sweet and low,
      The hushed heart waiting still,
      As eyes with love o'erfill...
We seat us down some day;
      And from life's tangled skein,
      That Memory holds alway,
      We smooth out lines of pain,
      And love-threads hold pure gain.
O myriad-tinted threads!
      We gather you all at last;
      You mark our whitening heads,
      You bind us to our past,
      And we hold you close and fast.
~Mary Clemmer (1831–1884), "Life-Threads," 1882  [a little altered —tg]

I will have me a symphony of coloring. I will enmesh me in the noon sun's gold and wind about me the moonlight's silver sheen. I will dream in a gown made of the haze of a summer evening twilight, and I will have robe on robe of the sky's deep blue, and I will line them with clouds of ermine, and from their trailing folds red stars will gleam. I will pluck the green from the treetops, where wild birds nest and sing, and in the weaving I will ensnare a song. And when Sorrow is my guest, I will wear a gown made of the cold, gray mist. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

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Original post date 2009 Apr 29
Last saved 2021 Oct 06 Wed 14:10 PDT