August 13, 2012

Lesson 28: White in the Background (The White Series)

"The first of all single colors is white ... We shall set down white for the representation of light, without which no other color can be seen." wrote Leonardo Da Vinci.

This week we'll be discussing white. If you missed the first post, you might want to read this first.

What comes to mind when you think of the color white?

I often think of freshly washed sheets or towels. I think of porcelain sinks in a new kitchen or bathroom. I think of the words light, airy, clean, new.

If I think deeper on the color white, I actually often think past whatever white image comes to mind, and think rather of the colorful object or pattern on top of the white. I think of the vibrant embroidered pillow sitting on top of the white slip covered chair. I think of beautiful blue hydrangeas in a clear vase on the white granite counter top. I think of the bright, hipster scarf worn over a white pocket tee.

In this deeper thinking, I understand what Da Vinci is talking about. White is necessary to see other colors.

I wonder if this seems overly obvious to you. Framed pictures are often matted with white in order to highlight the print within.

But do we incorporate this principle into our homes?

When you see that fabulous new paisley bedding, do you immediately think "not only should I get the duvet cover, but also the coordinating shams, a matching dust ruffle, and the suggested throw pillow?" Do you rush to pull a color from the swirls to use as a paint color for the walls and another as material for curtains? Do you pinterest rooms with paisley coverlets and matching painted dressers?

When you succeed in all this matching, do you feel overwhelmed by the room you've created?

Are you even able to see the original paisley that you loved so much? 

What if instead, you considered the print and thought to yourself, would the beauty and intricacy of this print be highlighted if I set it against something white?

9 times out of 10, I would say yes.

Imagine its the pillows on these beds that you fell in love with. Which print are you actually able to appreciate more?

Lesson Learned: Using white as a backdrop for a print or color is an excellent way to make that special print or color stand out!

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