There could be thousands more colours than your standard rainbow seven, if you take a moment to consider how you might name them.
Anyone who’s ever had to choose a paint for a wall or a piece of furniture will have found themselves immersed in colour charts and sampler pots where there’s more to colour than their product codes or Pantone reference. Every shade, tone, and hue comes with its own name– chocolate comtesse, mineral grey, crushed oregano, millennial pink. In a description of just two or three words, a whole world can be conjured up or reimagined.
But what about all those colours yet to be given names? What would you call the blue the sky turns 20 minutes after a summer sunset, for example? Or the particular grey the clouds look when half the sky’s about to storm and the rest is brilliant sunshine? How should you describe the colour of your mother’s eyes, or define the shade you like your tea? Don’t let the paint companies have all the fun. It’s a mindful practice to look carefully at the colours around you and really see them.
Start a colour experiment to recreate colours you love in paint in a journal, logging what you mixed and in what proportions, and then name your colours however you like – striplight yellow, garden shed brick, bank holiday traffic. Baby’s comfort blanket, granny’s dining table, mum’s golden flecks. Colour can capture moments, memories and places as well as words or pictures.