|Central St. Giles designed by Renzo Piano, London, 2010 (source)
Pastel is pure pigment, ground up and mixed together with a small measure of binder, then shaped into stick-crayons for ease of application. Rubbed into the grain of paper, unadulterated color adheres strongly, remaining bright with age.
In painting, the Impressionists best exploited pastel’s means: recording subjectively-seen views en plein air to reflect the unexpected hue of sky or field at certain moments of the afternoon—and which had previously gone unpredicted by the interior lighting environment of the studio.
But the Post-Impressionists (see: Roger Fry) pushed their forebears’ strong use of color, already scandalous, to new extremes through their arbitrary choices; ultimately rendering worlds colored by emotion. Writing in the literary magazine The New Age in the first decades of the twentieth century, the critic Huntly Carter affirmed: ‘Color has the rare merit of changing men’s atmosphere’. Yet such change might not always be constructive:
In other words, we notice color straightaway when it is garish; it assaults our senses pornographically.
|Astwood Cove, Bermuda, 2007 (source)
In Bermuda, irregularly offset coral barriers contain shallow turquoise-tinted waters, leading to sandy pink shores. Reverberating the characteristics of the shoreline, the pastel is the unifying element which sets the tone throughout the island. Bermuda’s popular fashions and architecture are designed to minimize the absorption of heat while maintaining the light atmosphere of leisure. A classic, colonial-inspired brand of preppiness pervades the manner of dressing, which fuses with the setting, by way of a shared palette. Here tennis whites are paired with pale polos by the likes of Lacoste and Fred Perry while equestrian enthusiasts trot roadside wearing Ralph Lauren in similar hues. Complimentary sherbet-colored cottages, dot the island, staying cool with peaked limestone roofs. The local climate defines the landscape, in addition to the island’s enclosures, at multiple scales, ranging from those which are tailored for the singular body to those which house multiple bodies.
Erandi de Silva
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