Monday, April 30, 2018

Purple Daze 1, Various Purply Names

Occasionally, I kick around purple colors in my head. I've been dazed about them more than other colors pertaining to elementary school crayon colors, primary/secondary tempra colors from art class, and visible light colors. Purple seems a more dominant color name than violet, which Crayola uses, but with a nod to purple. "What were the original eight (8) colors in the 1903 box of Crayola Crayons?" lists the color as "violet (purple)".

My pixstrip shows purply clothing items (some with only smaller purply bits) and corresponding color snippets with lighter background. I wistfully thought about a couple of purply items I donated in the distant past.

Eye See Violet and Purple 

Hmmm, so what's the deal about the dodgy term "violet (purple)"? Are they the same color? Some resources explain:

"Difference between ‘violet’ and ‘purple’" (purple/violet contrast image at the author's article)
purple looks more “reddish” than violet … Purple is formed by mixing red and blue at a ratio close to 1:1, whereas violet is perceived by your eyes as containing more blue than red. … no spectral colour activates the “blue” path and the “red” path at the ratio of 1:1 without also stimulating the “green” path. In other words purple is not a spectral colour.

Purple is a mixture of red (which is at the opposite side of the spectrum than violet) and blue (which is relatively far from violet), so it is, in terms of wavelengths, a completely different colour.

"Violet and Purple Aren't The Same Thing"
When you see brown, you're seeing a mixture of light wavelengths that activate different cones in varying ratios to produce a color your brain finally interprets as brown.

Violet activates the blue and red cones—the blue cones a lot, the red cones a little less. Purple, on the other hand, hits your eyes in the same way our brown example did above. It's a combination of the spectral colors blue and red. Rather than activating blue and red cones in a given ratio, purple combines the cone ratio for blue with the cone ratio for red to come up with an entirely new color.

"Purple Color Meaning – The Color Purple"
The difference between violet and purple is that violet is displayed in the visible light spectrum, while purple is simply a mixture of red and blue. Violet vibrations are the highest in the visible spectrum. … violet is not quite as intense as purple

"Primary colors: The truth about purple"
Purple is a mixture of colors, like white. If you mix blue light and red light, your eye will see purple, but in reality, it’s just a mix of blue and red. … Scientifically, purple is not a color because there is no beam of pure light that looks purple. There is no light wavelength that corresponds to purple.

"The Meanings of Purple" is loaded with information; however, the absence of "violet" is somewhat suspicious. The article does link to a probably more technically correct explanation regarding visible wavelength, which is violet.
Purple is the most powerful visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy. It’s just a few steps away from x-rays and gamma rays. …

Variations of purple convey different meanings: Light purples are light-hearted, floral, and romantic. The dark shades are more intellectual and dignified. …

The earliest purple dyes date back to about 1900 B.C. It took some 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye - barely enough for dying a single garment the size of the Roman toga.

For more extensive information about purple history, read "Purple Daze 2, Deeper into History".

Loads of Various Purply Colors

Besides violet and purple having dazed me, I've also been befuddled by other purply terms, which I hesitate to label such-color items. Many of them pertain to flowers or fruit.

Lilac and lavender have confused me lots over the years. "Lavender vs. Lilac: What's the Difference?" contrasts these purply colors with pictures, a table, and descriptions. I thought about the song "Lavender Blue". Coincidentally, I ran across another similarly worded song that also mentions "lavender blue", "lavender green", "dilly, dilly", "king", and "queen".

Grape and plum are a couple of foods with purply colors. For grape flavors, such as ades, jellies, and jams, seems all grape colors are purple, excepting wines and juices ("white grape" somethings).

The oddest purply color I've encountered is "aubergine", associated with another food—eggplant. "Why Is It Called an Eggplant?" explains the color as well as the eggplant name itself.
There is actually a color — aubergine — that resembles the purple of the eggplant.

A long, gourd-shaped, purple fruit is what most people think of when they hear the word “eggplant." … way back in the 1700s, early European versions of eggplant were smaller and yellow or white. They looked a bit like goose or hen's eggs, which led to the name “eggplant."

I mentioned "mauve" earlier. Oddly, Merriam-Webster's entry for "mauve" shows differing definitions that seem non-committal:
a : a moderate purple, violet, or lilac color
b : a strong purple

Three Purply Colors in My Box of Crayola Crayons
I rooted around looking for my box of 64 Crayola crayons (with sharpener) to see what purples I have—"violet (purple)", "blue violet", and "plum". During the very elementary grades when receiving the 8-pack (BIG-size for indelicate handling). (Maybe I was too young to think of "violet" or the parenthetical purple, only remembering "purple" as the dominant term.) IMO, the wrappers and sticks look a lot closer to each other than the circular marks I'd made. The "violet (purple)" mark looks a lot more like the "plum" mark than the "blue-violet" mark.

A Blog Article with Three Mentions of Purple Regarding Spiderworts

Only about a week ago, a blog article mentioning some purply terms nudged me to firm up my theme about purple. From Steve Schwartzman's "Another white variant"—"white variant of a spiderwort, a wildflower that is normally purple or magenta or violet. Another purplish wildflower that occasionally shades to white is the bluebonnet".


Steve Schwartzman said...

You've gathered lots of good information here. The subject certainly is complicated, and I'm not sure people will ever all agree on naming the various "lesser" colors.

whilldtkwriter said...

I learned quite a lot by poking around the web. What a great library that's available without even needing to leave home!

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