Monday, April 13, 2015

sunlight white

the truth of a colour...

when this idea struck me it seemed simple enough but as i delved into preparing for this first in the series i realized it really won't be that simple at all

-that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality... but so much of what we believe about colour is rooted in perception rather than in science - at least, for most of us that is...

the full spectrum of colour theory, scientific colour theory, can range from daunting to boring to fascinating - but colour is also emotional, full of meaning - cultural meaning, both present and past

 as in many things, to understand a colour is to take a trip into history - an interesting look at our own journey through the ages - what a colour meant and what it means today - what it is, and what it is not

far too big and broad a scope for what i intend so i hope you don't leave disappointed...

i'm beginning with what is called the colour that is an absence of colour...


 i always understood that to be the truth about white but it seems that is just too simple

i like this one better...

"white is the colour of sunlight"

the colour of truth, perfection, honour, cleanliness, purity

at one time also the colour of mourning

b5200 is the whitest of the dmc stranded cotton embroidery threads
 {viewed above and below}

whiter than "blanc" even

which itself looks pretty white, when viewed alone

 illustrating a perfect colour point - colour is relative, and what can be said about the colour of an object when viewed alone may change when it's placed alongside of another version of itself

colour is not absolute and so, you will find no absolute truths in these words

just a few things i have learned along the way

{above and below}

both colours above look white when viewed separately but when placed together, as you see below, there is a difference

 i suppose you might now say "white and off-white"?

vanilla, eggshell, ivory, soft-white, meringue, froth, on it goes
{and why do they say "vanilla" when vanilla itself is brown????}
{{i told you colour is complicated!}}

 then there's #3865
my favourite of the dmc whites

different again... perhaps a little yellower?

and then #3866, which is just slightly darker - viewed together you would most likely pick the top one if you were asked to point to the white one

when people come in to the store in search of white thread they choose one of these - oddly enough b5200 is chosen the least - not because it isn't thought to be the whitest, but because it's thought to be the harshest

when i'm working with vintage laces, they seem to range in colour in much the same manner as the skeins above... when i looked through my lace i found only two that were as white as b5200, all the rest were varying shades

white was not the colour i was going to begin with but last night i finished the cross-stitched piece you see below

on white silk, using waste canvas
{the layout of the letters is a mess as i'm going to cut it up and sew it back together but that's a different story for another day....}

i began the stitching with one white and somehow got mixed up and switched to another - as i was stitching on "white" waste canvas, in evening lamp-light, i couldn't tell until the whole thing was finished and the waste canvas removed... in the evening light the subtle differences were lost to these poor aging eyes

the piece below is made up of various strips of "white" cloth and "white" lace

the first image taken with the stitchery placed on a tan cloth for photographing, the one beneath on a white one

what's underneath definitely casts it's own shadow

 below is a sample made up of three layers  - white silk, white paper and white lace - all slightly different versions of white; layered, slashed and stitched, all melding together into a new white

 next is the same idea except instead of being layered and slashed, the lace and silk were cut into bits and stitched in place on top of the acrylic painting paper - here you can easily see the differences in shading, they haven't melded together so much - maintaining their differences, staying separate

clouds and snow appear white to us because when the sunlight enters them, very little of the colour spectrum which is contained in sunlight is absorbed, so ultimately, the sunlight is reflected back to us

thus snow and clouds are the colour of sunlight... the same effect is found with quartz or limestone beaches - they too are the colour of sunlight

and this is just the tip of the iceberg...


Rachel said...

Colour is very complicated, isn't it. Even black and white aren't as simple as people think!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

WOW! What an interesting post! Loved the pictures and I loved seeing those 4 colors of white threads. I think I need all four of them.

Thank you for taking the time to write up this post and sharing your creative pieces.


Marj Talbot said...

I'll have to check out my white. One would think that some have just aged but maybe not!!!
Hmm, tip of the iceberg - which white is that??? Great post - very interesting and thought provoking.

Dorthe said...

After seing your most beautiful embroidered pieces, I would say ,that there is not such as a true colour .... one white ,not more true than the other , and so on!!!
I love the letter stitching- also just as it is, now- and the vintage lace looks fantastic on the curled background fabric, dear Jillayne.

JennyPennyPoppy said...

What a wonderful post Jillayne. I certainly have not paid any attention at all to the white DMC threads I've used in the past but I will now! Your pieces are beautifully done.

Mosaic Magpie said...

A very interesting post. After you pointed out that the B5200 was harsh...I noticed it did seem a bit bright. I will have a look through my white threads today and NOTICE the differences. Thanks for the enlightenment....wonder what shade of white that is???

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Yay! I was excited to come here to read what you planned for us on Monday (and this is Wednesday already, but I wanted to save it until I had time to really read and digest what you had to say). Such an interesting discussion and much food for thought. We often think that there are 'only' a few actual colours, but rarely take time to contemplate the fact that within each colour there is a myriad of tones and shades and nuances. Love your post today!!

lynn said...

gosh your work is so beautiful
love the tones of white
I can see that framed and cherished forever
xoxo hugs

Createology said...

And what color of white is that iceberg? Or is it not white at all? Oh the dilemmas of color. I am so glad it is you willing to study white and not me. I just know what I like and the least options the better for me. Creative Color Bliss Dear...

Christine B said...

Great post Jillayne! I was thrilled to see your DMC comparison because I too have pondered over the fact that Blanc is white yet B5200 is whiter. I love mixing whites can't do that with a lot of colours. I love the subtle nuances of white...and the shadows they cast upon each other. White on cream too and vice versa

Suztats said...

Studying colour can be fascinating. Playing with it can be such fun. I enjoyed this.

karen said...

the many colours of white, I know them well. I LOVE what is happening in the last images Jillayne