Having found lists of obscure/obsolete color names and rounded out the alphabet with a few simply-charming-to-me colors, each day, I’ll introduce a color and a swatch I’ve painted and then write about whatever comes to mind as I muse about the day’s color. Fair warning, my mind is a non-linear traveler, so who knows where my contemplations will take us.
C is for…
Celeste – a light bright blue inspired by the color of the sky and based on the Italian word, which means heavenly.
Oh, the glorious sky – I can muse about it forever. I always smile when I think about this Mark Twain quote: “The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be – it is the same the angels breathe.”
There’s something about the sky that always makes me think about mythology and creation stories. I see clouds and imagine the Nephelai, who were considered by the Greeks to be the cloud nymphs who arose from the Earth, encompassing River Okeanos, bearing water to the heavens in cloudy pitchers.
I think about the charming tale that suggests elephants once had wings and flew amidst the clouds. One elephant, tired after a long flight, decided to rest a bit by landing on a large, very old banyan tree. But, alas, the tree couldn’t support his hefty weight, and the branch he landed on cracked and fell upon a meditating yogi sitting under the tree. The man lost his temper and cursed away the wings of all elephants, who henceforth had to resort to walking.
I love thinking of clouds as cosmic travelers moving hither and yon, allowing us sometimes to catch glimpses of their journeys and yet, really just going about their own business. Delivering rain sometimes, providing a bit of shade sometimes, shape-shifting at whim. Even with storm clouds hustling and bustling wildly, I imagine cloudland to be an inherently spacious place of peace.
While today’s color suggests a daytime sky, I love the night sky equally. I like thinking about the Egyptian goddess Nut. She was the daughter of Shu, god of vital breath, and his wife, Tefnut, goddess of heat. Nut’s body is depicted as the star-strewn sky arching over the world, usually with her head in the West and her feet in the East. She is said to lie with the Earth each night, first swallowing the sun, which then moves through her body overnight, at which time she gives birth to it once again.
I couldn’t resist making a little bit of cloud art. Years ago, when I was quite actively involved in papermaking, I made a batch of the most fabulous, softest paper – truly as soft as clouds. I saved every little scrap of it left over from the original project and have joyfully used small bits of it here and there. It’s made me very happy to use a bit to depict a cloud.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” What’s not to agree with that?
What about you? Like to keep your eyes on the skies? Are you a card-carrying member of the Cloud Appreciation Society? Feel like you’re walking on clouds and want to share with us so we can celebrate with you? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.