Image courtesy of HomeSpot HQ.
I lay in bed this morning looking at our bedroom’s freshly painted walls. I studied the color, trying to find accurate words to describe it in my mind.
That’s not accurate. Cream — dairy cream in real life — is more white. This is closer to vanilla ice cream, but still darker. Richer. It’s the color of French vanilla ice cream. It’s a rich cream.
And then I realized that’s the name on the paint chip: Rich Cream.
I have great admiration for the vocabulary of whoever names paint colors. Think of the scope of words you’d need to know. Most colors are named for something concrete: an object, a noun. For example, my office color is Lime Mousse. Our son’s room, a terra cotta color, is Oxide. Like rust.
I often want to paint a room a certain color simply because I like the feeling the name evokes. Our original pick for our room was Kansas Grain, which I loved the thought of sleeping in. Warm, light, golden. But the color wasn’t right for the space. It was too peachy. Now we sleep in Rich Cream, a bowl of silky vanilla ice cream, which isn’t a bad evocation either.
I suppose that’s another element of naming colors, which makes me appreciate the skill even more: the names evoke pleasant feelings. Our daughter’s room is Jamaica Aqua; our front door is Florida Aqua. Two colors, two names, that take me to warm, islandy, happy places.
I’m not the best at home improvement projects. I scowl and snap when I paint or try to execute upgrades at home. But I do love browsing paint chips. Frosted Emerald; Waterfall; Roman column; Wood Violet.
I love the sensory experience of seeing all those colors and exploring temperatures, tastes, textures, and smells the names evoke. I’d be terrible at naming — too many options! so much specificity! — but I delight in the work that paint-namers do.
For the month of April, I will publish a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Trying to get back into the writing habit.