After enjoying some afternoon nature walks, we are considering the incredible variety of greens around us during art class. The children are mixing paints to make a wider variety of greens, and trying to use descriptive terms for the colors we mix. Greens vary in value, the relative darkness or lightness of the color. Greens vary in hue, their place along the spectrum between yellow and blue. Green also varies in saturation, being bright or dull. Greens can be described with these terms, for example dark yellow green or bright blue green. The color variations can also be described with more fancy specific names like lime, chartreuse, jade, swamp, pine, hunter, avocado, army…or even mint chocolate chip ice cream green!
Color adds such richness to our experience of the world. Color names add important distinctions to our descriptions of the world. Did you eat a cucumber, a pickle, or a Hot Wheels classic 1968 Camaro? I dunno. It was something green.
Growing up around Cornhusker football fanatics, it bothered me that the team colors for the University of Nebraska, and its fiendish rivals Oklahoma U, Alabama U, and Arkansas U were all red and white. We could not ALL be the best team in the known universe! We could not all yell “Go Big Red!” It was comforting to learn that NU was the Scarlet and Cream, which was clearly superior to Oklahoma’s Crimson and Cream, Arkansas’ Cardinal Red, or that dastardly Crimson Tide of Alabama.
Will it ever be important to know how to mix twelve different greens? Yes, this knowledge has a very practical application. As a MOBO, (a Mother Of Boys Only), I received many requests for army camouflage birthday cakes. The food coloring box has red, yellow, green, and blue. You’ve got a brand new package of plastic toy soldiers and flags for the cake top, but you have to frost the cake. The guests will arrive in less than an hour. Green is for GO!
© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder