Art Culture

DOGWOOD DAZE

| September 28, 2021 | 0 Comments
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My color for 2007? A glorious red informed with brown, what the 1960s Sherwin-Williams catalog would have termed “Autumn Red.”

Ghost Coffee visit

Not that it signified for me the end of summer or the onset of winter. No, it is a glorious burnt red, older and more cautious than brilliant scarlet, richer and more alive than dull maroon.

Over time, unconsciously at first, I embraced this red with childlike passion. In 2006, I purchased bedroom curtains in the color, regal satin shot through with gold thread. Seeing that shade every night must have infiltrated my psyche, branded my very spirit. I embarked upon a burnt-red shopping spree that continues to this day.

dogwood daze

May 2007 found me acquiring a Blackberry of a similar hue (I call it my Raspberry, of course:)) In June, I came across comfy shoes to feed my craving. Late in the year, I collected linens of the same shade, first sheets, then a blanket, then a comforter to match. Even my storage containers flaunt lids of this hue. As I glance around my bedroom now, it is awash in burnished red, a testament I think, to a life well-lived, long enough to have acquired a bit of age, brief enough to have retained its vibrance. In the last months of 2007, I found a purse and scarf in the color and am now (consciously, at last!) looking for a briefcase and hat to match.

But what name, my passion? Reddish-brown? Unjustly dull. (And it might be confused with brownish-red, a color I would never allow into my life.) Autumn Red, too mundane; burnished red too imprecise.

At New Year’s start, as I wandered through our glistening new Whole Foods, my eye fell upon my passion – all bunched up in the floral section, by the exit. Its name was Dogwood.

For more than a year, it seems, I have been living in a dogwood daze, a riot of rich red thrilling me to the bone, consuming my private space, bleeding out to my public face.

What is it about color that possesses us? In my 20s, I fell in love with green — Kelly green, spring green, lime-green. I bought a coat of brilliant green and kept it in the closet (for two years!) until my blossoming personality could catch up with my imagination. Once emboldened, my enthusiasm went off the charts: I wore the coat every day until it literally fell to tatters. It’s still with me, of course. Wouldn’t dream of letting go.

Are we obsessed with color? Taken up with it? Overwhelmed by it? Year upon year, fashion and beauty teams search unceasingly for new names to the same shade: One year it’s Lover’s Red; the next it’s Scarlet Fever. They spend thousands concocting clever aliases to seduce us…when it’s the colors themselves that work their magic, named or not.

I am not gifted at the visual arts. It’s one area where I stand in awe of the successful. I cannot draw a straight line or faithfully render still life. I am happy to pull off a simple geometric shape.

But with color I am drunk, and always have been.

Dogwood, by any other name….

Category: Culture

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