Pink, Rose, Orange: a Well Being Between Pleasure and Delirium

Among the things to miss for a lifetime of not living in India:  her uses of colour.


An example of which is this enlivening combination of rose, pinks, oranges.



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Worshipers in the great Jain complex, Palitana, Gujerat, 2010



Juxtaposed, overlain on each other, or absorbed into each other mysteriously.




Length of furnishing or clothing fabric, silk, metal-wrapped thread, plain weave, brocaded, c. 1628-58, Mughal (1526-1858), India.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




In the West, it seems that only artists are free enough to jump publicly into this meld.





 Untitled (Maroon Over Red), 1968, acrylic on paper mounted on linen.

  Mark Rothko, 1903-1970, American. Luminous block color paintings achieved by the application of thin washes of color one on top of the other.

  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia





Philip Guston Painting 1954 MOMA


Painting, 1954, and detail; oil on canvas.  Philip Guston, 1913-1968, American. MOMA, NY

The artist noted that his impulse to self-expression was so urgent that he could barely wait to apply each successive stroke to this canvas. He did not step back to look at it while he painted it. 

This statement makes me unaccountably happy.  I cannot decide whether it is because of the gorgeous colours or because I know when I look at this that this represents the act of a free and happy man.





Untitled, 2019, oil on canvas. Jennifer Packer, born 1984, Philadelphia.  Whitney Museum of (North American Art) 2019 Biennial, NY






And the costume designers of performance art:




Costume design for a eunuch in the ballet ‘Scheherazade’;  gouache and graphite heightened with gold paint, c. 1910.

Leon Bakst (1866-1924, Russian) for the Ballets Russes.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




And the haute couturiers who use colour as they use materials and venues:

for their rarity and exclusivity to fashion and to flaunt their creations for the very few.


Marni, Milan, Prêt-à-porter,  Autumn 2019. Photo from Le Figaro’s website.



Schiaparelli, Paris, Autumn/Winter Haute Couture 2019/20.  Photo from Le Figaro’s website 




Why the gods of our Western civilizations have chosen to restrict the widespread use and enjoyment of colour in our manufactured world is probably a matter – like everything – of our cultural and, especially of our economic, history:


so much cheaper to restrict the textile production lines to grey-blue-brown-black than to gear up rainbows of colour for our voyages through life.




Junya Watanabe, Paris, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2015.

Said to have been inspired by the colour theory of Wassily Kandinsky



We have, of course the considerable consolations of our natural world.






Kurume azalea in bloom every May at Winterthur, Delaware



But for a few weeks every year only and we can’t wrap ourselves in them……



In India colours are everywhere and for the enjoyment of everyone. 





Taj Mahal, 2010, Agra, India. 

I saw only the colours until this family had moved past me.


I smiled politely when an affluent Indian  disparaged the loud and insistent colours of some of her countrywomen on grounds of their lack of education in the matter of taste and finesse.



Something that Chanel or Schiaparelli would perfectly understand, I thought:  colour as a designator of class. 

Drives me over an edge.



So here a small sampling of the enlivening rose-pink-oranges in India.


Joyful colours, all overflowing from, variant and imaginative and softer offerings of those bold, loud primaries: red and yellow!







Kantha, late 1800s, West Bengal or Bangladesh, cotton embroidery on plain cotton weave.  Stella Kramrisch collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art





 Detail of kurta made of cotton with reverse applique, Self-Employed Women’s Association, 2010, Ahmedabad, Gujarat





At the night market, Ahmedabad, 2010





The Tourist Office, Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010




On an Ahmedabadi street, 2010 




Embroidery on the leg of a salwar worn by a friend who permitted my focus on her lower leg and foot. 2010.





Ahmedabad on the street.  A ceremony honoring Lakshmi at the beginning of the business year, Hansiba, Ahmedabad




Designs by Villoo Mirza for Navratri, 2019, Ahmedabad, Gujerat 






Jaipur, Queen of the Pink-Rose-Orange Cities, 2010




 Ghanesh at the apex of an archway in Jaipur, Rajasthan, the queen of the pink, orange, rose cities. 2010










 A look through the front door of Anokhi’s anchor store.

  Faith Singh and her husband, J.P. (John) Singh revived expert handblock embellishment with organic dyes of cotton and silk in Jaipur, Rajasthan more than 40 years ago









dsc00917Textiles being transported in Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2010















In an Ahmedabadi textile shop, 2010




At the Sabarmatic market, Ahmedabad 3 (1)

Sabarmati Sunday market, Ahmedabad, 2008







In Anurag, an Ahmedabadi textile shop, 2010.

  You don’t have such fabrics in your country? asked a shop assistant.  Yes, we do, I answered, but like the colours at dusk.






A representation of Nandi in a temple of Lord Shiva off CG Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat




A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva just off CG Street,  Ahmedabad, Gujerat




Bougainvillea, Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010



Ganesh cards-6

 A representation of Ghanesh on hand-made paper, Ahmedabad, Gujerat





Lychees in the main market, Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010





In Ahmedabad, 2008





 A kurta embellished with handblock which has been overembroidered with mirror work and various kinds of hand stitches.  Made by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2008





A rural street scene between Sanganer and Samode, Rajasthan, 2010




 A customary colour combination for sadhus.   The old city, Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010




On an Ahmedabadi street, 2010





A traveler at the Indian Rail station, Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2010




In a shop in Ahmedabad, Gujerat in time for the birthday of Ganesha, 2010




On an Ahmedabadi street, 2010





In a shop in Ahmeabad, Gujerat, 2010 




Cotton bed coverlet made and embellished with applique by members of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010




On an Ahmedabadi street, 2008






Ritual paraphernalia for sale at a Sunday market, Ahmedabad, 2008



On an Ahmedabadi street, Gujerat, 2010




On an Ahmedabadi street, 2010




On a railway platform at the station in Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010.





 A shop on an Ahmedabadi street, 2010



On an Ahmedabadi street, Gujarat, 2010



On an Ahmedabadi street, 2010




In a textile shop in Sanganer, Rajasthan, 2010




In a shop in Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2010




 A shop within the compound of the Amer Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2010




























10 thoughts on “Pink, Rose, Orange: a Well Being Between Pleasure and Delirium

    1. Merci! Oui.

      On peut les voir ici mais seulement chez la grande couture. Cela me navre parce que les couleurs m’ont beaucoup soulage les petites tristesses de la vie!

  1. It is impossible to look at this post, absorb the colours and your love and attention to them, and not feel some joy that wasn’t there before. Thanks to you, I will be reminded to experience that joy when I see those colours juxtaposed against my grey day. Brilliant.

    1. Thank you! The thanks, of course, to the sensibilities of the people of the subcontinent!

      I hope you surround yourself as you can with such colours and that you wear them when you can. They lift your mood and remind you of our good fortune to live in a world of colour! People smile when I go out in unaccustomed colours and some touch my arm as though to absorb some of the pleasure. People I don’t know!………Sarah

      1. I love to wear bright colours, but struggle sometimes with being conspicuous. Thank you for the reminder to think outside of this, and think of the joy that they can bring. I also like to have bright colours in my house, and am trying to ascribe to the idea to “decorate like no-one’s watching”.
        Thank you, for brightening my day Sarah.


      2. It can make you conspicuous but you get used to it and you learn how to be balanced. As you grow older, you begin to enjoy the conspicuousness. It is worth it!

        Best of luck! Sarah

  2. Oh Sarah,My large thanks to you for such brilliance,such exuberance,such lucious enchantment!
    One day may you find yourself in a marketplace in Haiti-a riot of strong color against their range of stunning skin tones.This will elevate your spirit -Just imagine a royal purple saturated fabric against almost blue black skin.

    I cannot get enough of this Philip Guston painting!

    Rilke’s words, ”Dance the orange” seem so fitting for this wonderful offering of yours,Sarah.
    I wonder if you know his poem,
    ‘The Poet Praises’
    It’s last 2 stanzas follow:
    “…Dance the orange.Throw it’s warmer landscape out of yourselves,let the ripeness shine in its native air!Peel away,radiant,

    fragrance on fragrance!Create a kinship
    with the pure and reluctant rind,
    with the juice that loads the ecstatic fruit!
    (one of his Sonnets To Orpheus)

    Sarah,When we met in the jury selection room,my eyes kept sinking into the colors & textures of your garments.
    Much pleasure had-
    Perhaps one day I may have the experience of you wearing pink,rose,orange.

    ‘ Dance the orange.’!

    1. Jane: Dance the Orange……?!………How wonderful. Let me track the whole poem down and I do have the Sonnets to Orpheus here.

      I am very admiring of Philip Guston (is that underlying pink wonderful?).

      You may know that he was at the height of his Abstract Expressionist powers, when he decided that he wanted to tell stories again and the rather rigid rules of Expressionism did not allow this. He returned to the figuration with which he had started his career and the Abstract Expressionists all but burned him alive.

      He withdrew to Woodstock, NY and continued to tell stories. He never returned to NY but his paintings continued to garner huge popular support. What a courageous man.

      I would love to step out in this combination but my flesh is weak!

      Thanks for pointing me to this poem, Jane. When I go to Jury Duty at month’s end, I am going to be inconspicuous because I have had enough for the year! Sarah

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