Thursday, February 12, 2009


#43, Staré Město, Prague

There are colors in Prague that you can only find in Prague. One of the earliest pleasures of the pre-Pantone days of my youth was looking at a fistful of paint chips and sounding out the names of the colors. These hues had names more exotic than those found in the standard box of Binney and Smith, though few childhood experiences of mine surpassed the joy of cracking open a fresh-smelling box of 64 crayons. Those perfectly pointed tips, that dizzying array of color, that little sharpener in the back of the yellow-orange box. What could anyone possibly need other than these 64 colors? Well, 64 was soon bumped up to 72, 72 went up to 96, and by 1998 Crayola was cooking with gas and 120 crayon colors. Progress. Snazzy new hues were introduced: there was now Shamrock and Mauvelous and Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown alongside the old fuddy-duddy Carnation Pink and Periwinkle. I thought a good deal about color for this 43, striving for le hue juste. It's been a nostalgic-for-no-reason week over here at &7, so I thought I'd stick with the theme and go straight to the source.

Casting a cold eye at the current list of colors on the Crayola Crayon Chronology , it's hard not to feel scandalized by the brash new colors with their cutesy-clever names and to read, as one would the obituary page, the roll of old colors that have gone to eternal rest. When I read the following sentence: Thistle was removed from the 120-count assortment to make room for indigo, a tiny part of me shriveled up and died, falling to the floor like so many carelessly peeled bits of crayon wrapper. Not Thistle! But nevertheless, it was true. Crotchety old colors like Maize and Raw Umber have been booted out for the sunny, youthful likes of Dandelion and Razzle Dazzle Rose. Fair? Hardly. But the color wheel of life rattles onward and so, too, must we.

But how do you describe the colors here? When a building has been weathered this much, bit of Burnt Sienna and a dash of Goldenrod isn't going to cut it. Then again, the times they have a-changed over in that crayon factory I so idolized, so it looks like we're stuck with Wild Watermelon. Except even that's outdated. In 2008, said color was renamed once again to, yes: Awesome. Ick.


Jackie said...

"le hue juste!" Too, too funny.

No kidding, my word verification word is: redstedl

redstedl - a style of painting which utilizes primary red and none of its variants

Strangely appropriate, right?
Big Brother is watching?

Unknown said...

I enjoyed this post and now can't wait to break out the crayons with the kid this weekend.

word verification word: quarsi
Usage: Am I quarsi or are those leptons in your daiquiri?

Therese Cox said...

Pete -- fun! Be sure to see if Awesome is in the box and let us know if you make any other discoveries. And if you see Indigo, be sure to crack it in two and throw it to the floor.

:still silently weeping over lost Thistle:

Jackie -- maybe we can collaborate on a post about pen colors next. Ha!

Julie said...

Particularly enjoyed number 43.