The House of Tatterdemalion


Recent Posts



Color, revisited

August 25th, 2007 by tatterdemalion

I meant to do pictures with my post of seasons/colors, but pretty soon I realized not having pictures ready was keeping me from writing the post. So I wrote it without pictures. But then someone just happened to take a snapshot of me that was just too easy to crop (though entirely unprofessionally), so now I feel obliged to post pictures.

I’m not much of a picture sharing person, at least, not pictures of me. I’d be just as happy if no one ever discovered what I looked like, and I remained a mystery forever. Everyone would have to lay awake at night wondering what I looked like, for all of eternity. Ok, so really I know that no one lays awake at night wondering what look like. At least, I hope they don’t. I’d be rather disturbed to discover that anyone did.

The point is, you aren’t going to see pictures of me all that often. But when I do post pictures of myself, I believe in the unvarnished truth. The varnished truth is so common, it is expected. Sometimes people get upset or disturbed if the truth isn’t varnished. If you aren’t used to seeing the unvarnished truth, try squinting.


What do you think, white or cream? I’m not sure that’s the right shade of “cream” or “off-white”, but that’s half the problem anyway. A yellow cream? A green cream? A cream with pink undertones? What counts as cream? And what counts as white? I’ve seen a lot of whites “in real life” that seemed to have blue undertones, and it seems that this white vs. cream is supposed to determine blue vs. yellow. The white that I used here doesn’t have any blue undertones to it (to my eye). It has more of a gray undertone, I think.


Personally, I don’t think either white or cream does much for me. I guess if someone put a gun to my head and made me choose, I’d pick the white. Or, wait—maybe the cream. But really, I think I’d avoid either color in large amounts. By the way, I notice in these pictures that my glasses look kind of silvery. I think that’s mostly glare; in real life, they are a gold sort of color, though a pale gold. (I suppose this would also be a good place to warn against the fact that, you know, monitor colors vary, and cameras can’t always capture the truth, so this can neither be scientific nor conclusive. Just so you know.)

Blue red or orange red? Also known as crimson or scarlet? (Which I can never keep straight and always have to look up, because I think of “crimson” as an orange (or yellow) red and “scarlet” as a blue red, but the powers that be disagree with me.


The difference here is pretty subtle; I think I didn’t make my blue-red blue enough. It might even still be a yellow-red. I was trying to pick colors of the same intensity, and the blue-reds always wanted to be a lot darker.

Let’s try this. . .

dark redcream

Here’s a more extreme example; a kind of eggplant color against a salmon or coral color:


Personally, I think the eggplant color look a million times better on me. They say you can tell which colors are better for you by which colors put more emphasis on your face. In other words, if the first thing you notice is the color, its a “bad” color for you. If the first thing you notice is your face its a “good” color.

How about greens?


Again, I would say the blue-based, hands down. But if you’re still not convinced, here it is again with brown:

Now let’s look at color intensity. . .


Which did you chose? (I take to the dark blue.)

In this pink example, you can see how my darker pink is also more blue.


Here’s another green example:


How about these three?


Pastel pink or dusty pink?


I don’t like either of them. Sometimes you just can’t save a color, no matter what you do to it. Like orange, for example.


I don’t like dusty rose or yellow or mint, either


But I like black and charcoal, even though my Mom thinks they’re ugly colors.


Light gray or dark gray?


I could go on comparing colors for nearly forever, but there isn’t much point to it. I’ve already made up my mind before I even started changing background colors. And I think that at this point, either you have already discovered what I mean about what colors are good for me, or you have already discovered that seeing different colors behind the same face doesn’t help you pick out “good” colors for that person. Either way, I think my work here is done.

But if you have found it helpful, try it yourself. Get a totally honest snapshot of yourself in natural but overcast lighting (outside on a cloudy day), crop out your face, and keep changing the background colors. This is pretty easy to do in this modern, hi-tech day of digital cameras, timers on cameras, and fancy-shmancy photo-editing software. Or you could go do it the low-tech way, by standing in front of a mirror and holding colored paper or fabric up to your face. The good thing about doing it the low-tech way is that you can really get much more subtle colors with fabric than you can on a monitor.

And, by the way, Laura, though I never got back to you in the comments, I too have an irrational dislike of tan, and it’s cousins ‘camel’ and ‘ecru’. I can’t decide if it’s because they look dirty to me, or if it just reminds me too much of corregated cardboard. And I think “early spring run-off” is just a more polite term for “mud-season”. “Early spring run-off” brings to mind sparkling clear streams, but in reality, it just means everything gets turned to mud.

And you’re right about it sometimes not really mattering, because no one will sell you what you want anyway. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a good green? Everyone wants to sell me kelly green (a green leaning toward yellow), olive green, sea-green, over-cooked aspargus green, lime green, jade green, mint green, apple green, split-pea soup green, and sage green, but almost no one wants to sell me hunter green or forest green. Bah humbug.

Posted in Color | No Comments »

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.