Color Series: Green

Color Series: Green
April 12, 2022 Rachel Biel
Wearing the Green St Patrick's

How does the color green make you feel? We all have our favorites and certain shades may evoke different emotions. When I was young, I hated the color green, at least for clothing and accessories. Later, I realized that it was probably a reaction to the avocado green craze of the 1970’s. I still think that a lot of the color combos of that era were pukey, especially avocado green and orange. Yish.

1970’s Avocado Green Kitchen

A couple of friends of mine got married in the 1980’s and she moved into his place. She made a big pile of things that she didn’t like and said, “Pick what you really are emotionally attached to. None of this appeals to me.” Almost all of it was avocado green, gifts given to him by his mother….

But, I really love green in Nature! I’ve been to American deserts a couple of times and although I know they have their own beauty, they make me feel sad. I’ve always lived in climates where there are lots of trees and plant life and even though I don’t care much for winter, there is nothing like watching Spring come to life! The renewal and growth after cold and barrenness.

Linnea Pergola has traveled around the world and captures places and fantasies vibrantly through her silk paintings. Green is, of course, the color of forests, of the Amazon, of life…  But, as in this painting, it blends with other colors to create moods and riches.  This piece is for sale here on Artizan Made: A Day in the Forest  Visit her website to see more of her work: Linnea Pergola.

 

A Day in the Forest, a silk painting by Linnea Pergola

A Day in the Forest, a silk painting by Linnea Pergola

 

As with most colors used in fabrics, paintings, and objects, the color green has a toxic past.  Modern Met has a nice article here:

“In 1775, Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele invented a deadly, bright green hue made with the toxic chemical, arsenite. Called Scheele’s Green, it was so popular that by the end of the 19th century, it had replaced the earlier mineral and vegetable dyes—but its invention came with a price.

Scheele’s Green was used on paper, wall hangings, fabric, and even children’s toys. Some 19th century journals contained reports of children becoming ill in bright green rooms, and ladies in green dresses becoming sick from consuming the toxic vapors. Historians believe the pigment caused the death of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1821, as his bedroom wallpaper featured the deadly hue.

By the end of the 19th century, a similar pigment called Paris Green replaced Scheele’s Green. However, it was still highly toxic. This was the pigment used by French Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir to create their lush green landscapes. Some believe the pigment may have been responsible for Cézanne’s diabetes and Monet’s blindness. Paris Green was eventually banned in the 1960s.”

“The Arnolfini Portrait” (1434) by Jan van Eyck (Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain])

“The Arnolfini Portrait” (1434) by Jan van Eyck (Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain])

“In the Middle Ages, the color of clothing indicated a person’s social rank and profession. Red was worn by the nobility, while brown and gray was worn by peasants. Green was worn by merchants, bankers, and the gentry. The bride in The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck (1434) wears a bright green dress, signifying the status and wealth of her family.”  One of the other interesting bits on green in the Modern Met article.

 

 

Colors have meaning in most cultures. When I think of it, the first thing that pops into my head is its association with ecology, a “green” product. Then, the Irish and dyeing the Chicago river green on St. Patty’s Day. Green with envy. Green thumb. Green backs. Green in the gills. Nausea. Money.  Bourncreative has a good list of associations to the color green:

“Green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy, is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy, and wall street.

The color green affects us physically and mentally in several different ways. Green is soothing, relaxing, and youthful. Green is a color that helps alleviate anxiety, depression, and nervousness. Green also brings with it a sense of hope, health, adventure, and renewal, as well as self-control, compassion, and harmony. The green color is often used to indicate safety in the advertising of drugs and medical products. Green is directly related to nature and energy, so it is also commonly used to represent and promote ‘green’ products.

In different cultures green carries different meanings. For example green is the national color of Ireland and is commonly associated with good luck, leprechauns, clovers, and Saint Patrick’s Day. Green also has close ties with Islam.”

Jannelle Olmstead of Something Else Studio often uses Celtic lore and folk tales in her bags and jewelry. Here is a princess about to kiss a green frog…

Something Else Studio - The princess and the green frog purse.

Something Else Studio – The princess and the green frog purse.

 

Green is abundant in gemstones and crystals and they have been given meanings, too. Shop LC says this about green stones in general:

“Throughout history, many healing properties are ascribed to green gems. They have been used for harmonizing, detoxifying, and regeneration. Verdant green hues are nearly universal as a symbol of nature, growth, and even luck.  Green stones for men are associated with joy, hope, but also the decline of friendship. Green stones for women, on the other hand, are linked to ambition, change, and child-like delight.”

Abdul Wardak has been importing gemstones from Afghanistan since the 1980’s. He sells at bead shows following a circuit between Chicago and Florida. His gallery in Paducah, Beads and Rugs by ATA, shows off beads from around the world, along with textiles, carpets, and gift items. The many shades and colors of jade are amazing! There are so many green variations, but pinks and yellows and oranges, too.

Beads and Rugs by ATA in Paducah, Kentucky. Jade assortment.

 

What do you think of when you let your mind wander and contemplate the color green?

Let us know in the comments!

 

From our Green Category:

Comment (1)

  1. Author
    Rachel Biel 8 months ago

    Yikes! I was curious about the Wearing of the Green song, thinking it must be some fun Irish reel. The lyrics are so sad!!! I’m going to leave it as it struck me how similar this is to what is going on in Ukraine, where a people are being wiped out for standing up for the blue and yellow. And, if you mix them…. you get GREEN!

    Here is Judy Garland singing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0dfdckeFaw

    Oh, Paddy dear and did you hear the news that’s goin’ round?
    The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground
    Saint Patrick’s Day no more we’ll keep his colours can’t be seen
    For they’re hangin’ men and women for the wearin’ of the green
    I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand
    He said: “How’s dear old Ireland and how does she stand?
    She’s the most distressful country that you have ever seen
    For they’re hangin’ men and women for the wearin’ of the green”

    For the wearin’ of the green
    For the wearin’ of the green
    They’re hangin’ men and women
    For the wearin’ of the green

    Then since the colour we must wear is England’s cruel red
    Sure Ireland’s sons will ne’er forget the blood that they have shed
    You may take the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod
    But ’twill take root and flourish there though underfoot ’tis trod
    My father loved his country and sleeps within its breast
    While I that would have died for her must never so be blessed
    Those tears my mother shed for me how bitter they had been
    If I had proved a traitor to the wearin’ of the green

    For the wearin’ of the green
    For the wearin’ of the green
    They’re hangin’ men and women
    For the wearin’ of the green

    But if at last our colours should be torn from Ireland’s heart
    Her sons with shame and sorrow from the dear old isle will part
    I’ve heard a whisper of a land that lies beyond the sea
    Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of Freedom’s Day
    Oh Ireland must we leave you driven by a tyrant’s hand
    And seek a mother’s blessing from a strange and distant land
    Where the cruel cross of England shall never more be seen
    And in that land we’ll live and die still wearing Ireland’s green

    For the wearin’ ot the green
    For the wearin’ of the green
    They’re hangin’ men and women
    For the wearin’ of the green
    For the wearin’ of the green
    For the wearin’ of the green
    They’re hangin’ men and women
    For the wearin’ of the green

Questions or feedback? Leave us a comment!

%d bloggers like this: