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Purple and Violet… 400th Post

May 9, 2016

Purple and Violet

What’s the difference, you say? To communicate, it seems necessary to find a word to help others understand what you mean. Take the word PURPLE for instance.  Purple plants and flowers have been around for centuries. The word purpul was first recorded in England in AD 975. The history goes back much further as the word is derived from the Latin word purpura which comes from the Greek word  porphyra.  Porphyra refers to the secretion of a gland of a marine snail  – the spiny dye murex snail. Thousands, perhaps millions of snails were used to make the purple dye murex – the famous color that Tyrian red, purple, royal or imperial purple alludes to.

The color violet is named after the flower violet. The first recorded use of the violet name in England was in 1370.   Violet is also one of the colors of the rainbow – a spectral color that is the shortest wavelength on the spectrum, sometimes referred to as a bluish purple. Both the names purple and violet are often referred to as one and the same, especially when used around the color wheel. If you are interested in finding out more about these two colors, start looking up words that are associated such as purple, mauve, mauve pink, pale lavender, electric violet.

Personally I react strongly to the visual sensation of the colors as I see them.  Although the history is fascinating, all that information doesn’t really help to see a color.  Sometimes looking is the only thing that needs to be done. Finding words may get in the way.

Have a look at these  flowers that are reddish violet, mauve, deep purple etc. that I have included in this post.   I imagine that your reaction will be as visceral as mine. Here is also a look at the online Color Course that I have developed for my students.  Level 1 Color Studies is also offered at the Studio this July. Gail

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Penny Peters permalink
    May 10, 2016 4:10 am

    Simply beautiful photos of gorgeous color. I learned so much in the Color Course. I recommend it to everyone…even if they think, or don’t think purple is their color!

  2. May 10, 2016 10:36 am

    Thx Gail I have just had both cataracts taken out and colour is again a delight to experience. Love Judy

    Judy Alexander Artist Blog: twitter. JudyAAlexander Sent from my iPhone

    Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature’s unrealized ends.” (Aristotle)


  3. May 10, 2016 5:04 pm

    What a lovely post about purple and violet. One thing I have learned for sure is that you can grow to love colors that you didn’t think you liked once you really start delving into color. The color class is an excellent way to dive into color 🙂

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