Mark Ballard

Fascination with color extends beyond cherry blossoms’ pink

When my hometown’s 27th annual Cherry Blossom Festival ended last Sunday, it was the grand finale of an exciting 10 days bursting with color. Yes, there was a lot of pink. That goes without saying. In fact, I have a huge pile of pink shirts, suit coats, sweaters, socks and ties waiting patiently to go to the dry cleaners to prove it. After they return, they will be carefully packed up for another year.

However, pink was not the only color represented during our festival. Spring always brings with it just about every color in the rainbow. The bursting forth of new life is very vibrant.

The tree’s new leaves are every shade of green and the blooming azalea’s pinks, corals and reds seem to be presented in Technicolor.

I have always been fascinated with color. While in art school, I took a color theory class that was both interesting and fun to me. I learned how fields of color react when placed beside each other. In fact, I had to put together a “color book” that demonstrated the ways colors coexist. After that grueling course, I definitely consider myself a color theorist. It has certainly helped me in my decorating and creative processes.

Another thing I enjoy is looking at the names of various colors.

If you ever need a little chuckle, you need go no further than the makeup counter at your local department store. There, in the rows and rows of lipsticks and nail polishes, you will find some of the most interesting names for colors.

Some examples of those names are Passion Pink, Ruby Red, Tasty Wine, Perky Geranium and Tantalizing Tiger Lilly to name a few.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall of the person’s office who is naming these colors? In fact, I think it would be a fun job.

Not only does makeup offer creative names for color, but also the makers of wall colors. Sunshine, Moon Glow, Daffodil and Lemon Zest are just a few of the colors given to wall colors to denote various shades of yellow.

It is amazing how many of the names of colors come from nature. Quite a few of them are based on the colors of spring.

During the recent Cherry Blossom Festival, my wife and I organized the Fashion Show. One of the many things I had to do, besides emcee the event, was to pick out the clothes for our models to wear on the runway.

I definitely relied on my color theory training for this job but again, because it is springtime, all the fashions were colorful.

Being an artist who is very familiar with the naming of colors, I always try to describe a color using a reference that everyone will understand.

For instance, one of the male models in the fashion show wore a shirt that reminded me of the inside color of a cantaloupe so when he walked the runway I referred to his shirt as “Cantaloupe.”

Another man wore a brightly colored purple shirt I called “Iris.” Doesn’t that sound better than plain old purple?

Most of the ladies wore beautiful colors as well.

There was a “sunshine” yellow jacket, an “azalea” colored sundress and a “petal pink” suit to name a few.

Some of the women’s clothes were so colorful even I had trouble attaching a name to them.

The tuxedo-clad men also proudly donned colorful vests for the fashion show.

There was a pale pink and a grassy green vest and yours truly wore “fuchsia” with my tuxedo. The entire show celebrated springtime with its very colorful palette.

Our cherry trees bloomed on cue this year for our city’s “Pinkest Party on Earth!” Also blooming were the dogwood and redbud trees, camellias, azaleas and daffodils.

We even had to tiptoe through the tulips in a couple of Macon’s downtown parks!


Ÿ Check out Mark’s Web site,, for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff for springtime.

Ÿ “The Mark Ballard Show” is on Cox On-Demand.

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Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA, 31208 fax them to (478) 474-4930 or call (478) 757-6877.