saffron-yellow-art-benarasi-silk-saree-331x445I love yellow….but yellow is a color of contradiction. 

Here is a yellow inspired riddle from Iran:  “What is purple in the earth, red in the market, and yellow on the table?”

The answer is saffron – the world’s most expensive spice…

Yellow is sunshine, gold and butter…

Yellow is also the color of bile, caution and the first signs of deterioration in green plants. 

As a word “yellow” derives from the Indo-European base word “-ghel” meaning bright and to cry out.  And, yellow does cry out.  In design, yellow will “control” a piece if there’s anymore than a little bit. 

So, that is the trick of yellow — a little is magnificent, but a little too much and it overtakes the overall impression of your work.

Lascaux2Historically, yellow is one of the first colors to be used artistically.  Yellow ochre pigment, made from clay, was used for example in the cave of Lascaux to depict a horse and is estimated to be over 17,000 years old.

Yellow paint pigments exported to England from India in the 19th century were secret in formula with speculations as to their manufacture that included being made from the dried urine of camels or cows that had been fed mango leaves. 

YellowKidAnd, it was in this same century when commercial manufacturers began producing cadmium and chrome yellow.  Then, in a few decades comic strips began to appear in newspapers.  One of the earliest characters in comic strips was the Yellow Kid because of the yellow nightshirt he always wore.  The term “yellow journalism” is drawn from this era.  Yellow continued on into the 20th century with some very negative associations as in the yellow stars Jews were made to wear in Nazi Germany. 

Yongle_Emperor2While in other parts of the world, such as China, yellow has been the most esteemed color associated with nobility and virtue.  In both Hinduism, Buddhism and in the islands of Polynesia, the color yellow is associated with holiness.

Yellow, I guess you either love it or hate it, but it won’t be ignored.  As I said in the beginning, I’m a yellow lover…in fact, I’m going to pick “Saffron” as my hippie name…:-)

We have a beautiful yellow-themed secret Pinterest board for you…Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Yellow!

  • July 4, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Yellow is so important and is used to make other colors pop!! I for one will never wear yellow but love it in other things and painting/dying. Really a good read!!! I enjoyed it.

  • July 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Great post, interesting and informative. I agree that a little yellow goes a long way……I love it in small doses. I would add that yellow in the retail world is the hardest color to sell. I can’t quote the source for that but have read it many times.


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