I am not a fan of memes. They tend to annoy me at no end. When something goes viral on social media and other spaces of the internet, you cannot escape it. The fact that memes tend to appeal to the least desirable of human interests compounds the problem for me.
When “The Dress” image meme started making the rounds, my first thought was, “Why is that ghastly dress getting any notice at all?” Regardless of what color it was, it had no appealing qualities to me, especially the way that the photo was cropped and posted.
As I read one of the bazillion posts about “the dress” that appeared in my social media feeds, I knew instantly the science behind the visual controversy. I have been exploring the science behind color theory and visual appreciation of color all of my life.
The meme wasn’t really about the science or color, however. The meme was, instead, an excuse for people to argue and insist that they were right, when there was no right or wrong in the first place. It was an excuse for everyone to pile on and participate in an unwinable fight. The content, although tapping into a deeper meaning, was really crappy content that was getting much more of its “15 minutes of fame” than it was due.
Thankfully, the meme has evolved into a more valuable discussion of the science behind color and how we each see it a little bit differently. There are reasons why we see color in the way that we do and why each of us sees it differently.
If you want to discuss the art and science of color, why not share a more appealing image?
When I paint a portrait of a pet such as the one here of Edie, my thought processes are not simply focused on achieving a likeness of the pet. Instead, I am focused on using color as a way to bring that likeness alive in a vibrant and colorful feast of color.
Edie is a brownish grayish tabby and white cat. Her natural colors are not ones that I prefer to use on my palette, so, rather than paint her actual colors, I chose to use colors that suggested them. When I paint white on an animal, it is never a pure white. it tends to be a shade of blue or a shade of pink that is developed through layering. Underlying layers contribute to the visual appreciation of the final layers of color, through reminiscent bits of color that are revealed around edges and through the interaction of pigments within the layers. The use of an orange background and a blue blanket on which the cat rests also contribute to the way that we see the overall color effect of the image.
Negative and positive space interaction make the composition dynamic, and light and dark contrasts also contribute to the way we see the overall image.
I am not a scientist, and I confess that most of my exploration of color theory has been an intuitive journey based on what I know of the basics of the science. Still yet, I think that my portrait of Edie has more to offer in the debate about color than that ridiculous dress does.
Why not give Edie her 15 minutes of sharing on the internet?
Life is an Adventure!