Colors, Colors, Colors!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Colors, colors, colors! I’m in the mood to write about colors — big, bold combinations of them — and to look at those combos in the eight photographs that decorate this article. Who, after all, doesn’t like snazzy hues that are having a ball playing together? They can make your day.

Manhattan, New York City
Philadelphia Flower Show (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

And before I go any further, I have to say that the pictures, all of which I took in recent years, send tingles from my head to my toes. But wait, I’m exaggerating. The truth is that the tingles don’t come close to reaching my toes. Due to my advanced age, the best they can do is terminate one foot above my groin, where they paddle around for a second or two and then go poof! Shit, such is life.

Abington, Pennsylvania
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Where was I? Yeah, I’m a sucker for vibrant color displays. Always have been. Like just about everybody, for instance, I’ve dug fireworks for almost as long as I can remember. Circa 1954, when I was very young and living in Brooklyn, my parents took me to the roof of a tall apartment building on our block. There, along with a bunch of other families, we watched fireworks exploding in the skies above the Atlantic Ocean near Coney Island Beach. The fireworks were several miles away from where we stood, appearing small at that distance, of course, but I found them groovy. Colors, colors, colors.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

And in my adulthood, which has been a work in progress for over 50 years, my admiration of fireworks has done nothing but grow. I always get close to the displays, as I like having the shifting shapes and colors in my face as much as possible. Many communities in the USA, including Philadelphia and various towns surrounding it, set off fireworks on July 4, which is America’s Independence Day. My wife Sandy and I live near Philly and have attended many Fourth Of July shows in that city or in its burbs.

What’s more, for a long time Philadelphia has gone one step further by ushering in each New Year with fireworks on the city’s Delaware River waterfront. Sandy and I love those shows too. As long as the outside temperature isn’t an ass-freezer, we go. The fireworks photo included with this story was snapped in Philly on the final evening of 2019. Right, we didn’t freeze our asses off.

Cape Cinema (Cape Cod, Massachusetts)

The other photograph that I’ll expend some words on is the one from Cape Cinema, a movie theater in the Massachusetts town of Dennis, on Cape Cod. My wife and I have vacationed almost annually on Cape Cod since 1998. And Cape Cinema has become one of our must-go-to entertainment venues. It shows good movies. And, incredibly, it is blessed with a swirling, otherworldly artwork that covers every inch of its auditorium’s ceiling and much of the auditorium’s walls.

Is there another theater in the world such as this? If so, I’m unaware of it. Created by Rockwell Kent and Jo Mielziner in 1930, the enormous mural (which was painted on canvas strips that then were glued to the interior surfaces) blows my mind every time I see it. Which is often, because I’ve been to this theater at least 35 times. The mural depicts mythological creatures and heavenly objects, but the subject matter hardly matters to me. No, what I’m interested in is allowing the feast of colors and patterns to intoxicate me, which they always do. I get lost in them. Cape Cinema is magical.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Yet, here’s the thing: As much as I love to be around color extravaganzas, there are limits to how often. Lengthy exposures to them on a regular basis (or to any forms of excitement, come to think of it) would cause my system to overload, to beg for mercy. Of that I have no doubt.

And so, if I were forced to make a choice, color-wise, between flash on the one hand and mellowness on the other, the latter would win hands down. To cite an example of mellowness, there’s almost nothing I’d rather do than stand, facing the water, on a sandy ocean coastline on a clear day. Hundreds of times I’ve done exactly that, drenching myself in the tans below me, the teals in front of me, and the great expanse of baby blue overhead. The palette in such a setting soothes, man, soothes. No, I wouldn’t be pleased about eliminating bouncy, bright color schemes from my life, but I would if I had to. I have a feeling that most people would choose the same as me.

Thank goodness that none of us has to make that choice, though. There’s a vast number of colors out there. And there’s a time and a place for each of them. Say hallelujah, girls and boys! Amen.

(Comments are welcomed, as is the sharing of this article. Mucho gracias.)

(If you click on any photo, a larger image will open in a separate window.)

128 thoughts on “Colors, Colors, Colors!

  1. Lyn Douglas May 4, 2020 / 12:31 am

    Great post, I enjoyed reading it. I actually love colours but yeah there certainly is the need and place for mellowness. Lyn

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lynette d'Arty-Cross May 4, 2020 / 12:38 am

    I love your photos and it was a great read. 🙂

    I could do with some mellow and am hoping for a bit of a slowdown this week. It’s been really busy for two and a half months now and I’m starting to feel it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. homeschoolguru May 4, 2020 / 12:46 am

    A lovely post to wake up to on a Monday and thanks for the uplifting photography! I want that bistro table set in my courtyard garden right now!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:23 pm

      Hi. That place is a vegetarian cafeteria-style café in Edinburgh. It’s called Henderson’s. A real good place. I hope they’ll survive the virus situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dfolstad58 May 4, 2020 / 12:49 am

    I like colour! Too many black, grey or blue suits when I worked. Now orange! That’s colour!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. cindy knoke May 4, 2020 / 1:20 am

    The whole spectrum of color confirms to us, it is okay to be alive.
    After all, if weird colors exist, why shouldn’t you or I.
    “But wait, I’m exaggerating. The truth is that the tingles don’t come close to reaching my toes. Due to my advanced age, the best they can do is terminate one foot above my groin, where they paddle around for a second or two and then go poof! Shit, such is life.”
    And then of course, there is humor.
    I have seen wild animals have it.
    It is huge testament to a person who creates it.
    Like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sniderjerry May 4, 2020 / 2:59 am

    “THE SOUL BECOMES DYED WITH THE COLOR OF ITS THOUGHTS.” MARCUS AURELIUS – Thank you for another masterpiece – have a great day friend. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Basia Korzeniowska May 4, 2020 / 3:11 am

    Lovely photos, I too am a massive fan of colour. Especially in clothes. My mum always said everyone looks better in black. That’s possibly true but I feel a lot better mimicking a parrot!
    And I love riotous gardens and fireworks. The sky at sunset and dawn. The sea: only in pictures. I find it terrifying in real life. So I’ll never see the colours of a coral reef. A lovely post Neil as always

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:28 pm

      Evening, Basia. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how many colors, and gradients of colors, there are. Enough for everybody!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thewonderer86 May 4, 2020 / 3:30 am

    We all need colour in our lives. Colour just makes me happy. But you’re right, guess we need something else as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:30 pm

      Hi. Good to hear from you. I like bright colors a lot, but I couldn’t live with them constantly. That’s where muted colors come in.


  9. andrewcferguson May 4, 2020 / 8:27 am

    Great post, Neil! Yes, sometimes beige and vanilla suits our mood, and sometimes it’s the all-out colour assault we need! Bit like music, come to think of it…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Paddy Tobin May 4, 2020 / 8:37 am

    I’m with you on the mellow side! I see you posted a photograph of deciduous azaleas. There is a garden close to me which has a walk of nearly 100 metres planted with these azaleas on both sides. You would be in your snazzy colour heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. joyce hamilton May 4, 2020 / 9:44 am

    Liked the recap of your year. Hope you will find more colors this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. tylerus May 4, 2020 / 9:48 am

    Color makes the world go round . . . in so many ways. I’m partial to peach and turquoise myself-such as the peach of a May sunrise or the beach-side shores of Oahu. Love your photos (always do). 🙂 Take care and stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Laurie Graves May 4, 2020 / 10:02 am

    If ever there were a time for bright colors, it is now, now, now! Stay safe, be well!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Anonymous May 4, 2020 / 10:07 am

    Uplifting post! Everything is riotously in bloom here in Philly. It must be all the rain…or I am noticing more things after being sensory deprived inside so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:36 pm

      Hi Debra. Spring definitely has sprung. Have you gone yet to the Azalea Garden near the art museum? It must be gorgeous there now.


    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:39 pm

      When it comes to colors, the more choice we have, the better. Hi, and thanks for the visit. I appreciate it.


  15. Paula B May 4, 2020 / 12:38 pm

    All of the photos are lovely, but I especially like the Manhattan and Edinburgh shots. Something about the mixture of urban streets and color, I guess. Neil, you have lived in some great places (Brooklyn, Philadelphia). And by the way, I’d never heard of Cape Cinema but I want to go there immediately. Thanks for letting me go places in my imagination during this pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jacqui Murray May 4, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    Good post. Probably Color and Mellow aren’t antithetical (did I use that right?). Your pictures I actually found soothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:42 pm

      Yeah, I like snazzy colors and mellow ones too. But if I had to choose between them, I’d go for mellow ones. I find them easier to live with overall.


  17. JT Twissel May 4, 2020 / 1:01 pm

    Color has much more of an impact on the way people feel than most realize.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Catwoods May 4, 2020 / 2:42 pm

    Great post, Neil! I love intense colors, though I often like to see them interspersed with “neutrals”. I’m fascinated by color in nature, life, and art, and even explored this at some length in my cat book. I referenced a book you might enjoy, actually, Walter Sargent’s The Enjoyment and Use of Color. It’s color theory for painters but it’s also meant to enhance anyone’s experience of color in daily life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:54 pm

      Hi. Good to hear from you. I could be wrong. but I think that the majority of nature is neutrals (tans and browns), or other relatively calming colors (blue skies, green flora). Not all that much, overall, of very bright colors in nature.
      Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m making a note of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Catwoods May 4, 2020 / 6:35 pm

        Yes I think that’s true of most scenes in nature; the eye rests on those areas of less intensity, and then has more zing when it comes back to more vivid areas. I think of reds yellows and oranges as accent colors and prefer blues and greens generally. That may be due to always having lived in landscapes that with that color scheme though. And, I had though preferences when I was a painter and mixed media artist, before becoming too ill to do visual art.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. tiffanyarpdaleo May 4, 2020 / 2:52 pm

    Great post! Color is a huge part of my life, as a painter, I am obsessed with trying all of the combinations, I can’t read enough about color theory, and don’t get me started about color therapy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 5:55 pm

      Yes, your life is color. And I know, from looking at many of your works, that bright, vivid colors mean a lot to you.


  20. cath May 4, 2020 / 4:49 pm

    I thought it was going to be the grocery display that won, for me. I love seeing fresh fruit and veg all neatly arranged. How is it that nothing clashes in nature? Then you offered us The Cape Cinema. If it was near me, I’d be visiting lots too. How wonderful, Neil. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 6:00 pm

      That picture was taken in a central part of Philly a year or two ago, alongside the Philadelphia Museum Of Art.
      Azaleas are blooming like crazy in my area now. Are they doing the same in Scotland?


  21. Silver Screenings May 4, 2020 / 6:19 pm

    The Cape Cinema looks utterly cool. There’s something about historic movie theatres that make them irresistible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 7:42 pm

      Hi Ruth. I’m not sure when it was built, but I guess it’s more or less 100 years old. The mural there is so unique. To find something as big and impressive as that in a theater is really something.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sandy May 4, 2020 / 8:50 pm

    If you love movies, Cape Cinema is not to be missed. I smile every time we go in there. We love the place so much that during a rare winter visit to Cape Cod, we sat shivering through an entire movie because the ancient heater had broken. Cape Cinema prides itself as being the theater where the Wizard of Oz premiered in 1939. Until some interior renovations were done a couple of years ago, you sat in the original seats, each one covered with a sheet to hide it’s aged appearance. I miss those old seats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2020 / 9:10 pm

      Cape Cinema is one of a kind. We’ve never seen anything like it. I’m surprised that seeing the huge mural isn’t part of the agenda for most visitors to Cape Cod.


  23. eden baylee May 4, 2020 / 9:29 pm

    I wear black about 99% of the time, but I love colour in everything else — flowers, furniture, art. Thanks Neil, for showing me the beauty in the pictures you’ve taken.

    I especially love the fruits and veg…. As a foodie, I need to see what I’m eating. I think it enhances the experience so much more.

    Stay well,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 5, 2020 / 7:15 am

      That photo is from Manhattan, in a neighborhood not far from Times Square. Old-fashioned produce stands like that one are hard to resist.


  24. annieasksyou May 4, 2020 / 10:25 pm

    Delightful as always, Neil. But when you said much of nature tends to be neutral, I immediately thought of the birds in our backyard. Yesterday a vibrantly gorgeous cardinal showed up, followed minutes later by a fabulous blue jay, while Marcel, our woodpecker, gorged himself. Though he’s black and white, he sports a red beret, hence his name. And the goldfinches have emerged from their winter tedium to a spectacular yellow. These are all the guys, of course; their female companions are on the dull side —a trick of nature that I understand for evolutionary reasons but nevertheless resent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 5, 2020 / 7:18 am

      Right, many birds are loaded with dazzling colors. And thank goodness for that. But, in volume, birds comprise only a tiny fraction of the natural world.


  25. Ann Coleman May 4, 2020 / 10:29 pm

    Colors are wonderful, no doubt! I loved that mural on the theater ceiling, but like you, I can stare at the coast (sand, sea and sky) for hours….the combination is both stunning and soothing. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Cindy May 4, 2020 / 10:33 pm

    Beautiful photos, Neil. Those stunning azaleas! I recognize them from our frequent walks behind the art museum. Each week in April another color bursts into bloom. Many of the blossoms have fallen now. But as you pointed out, green is a pretty great color, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 5, 2020 / 7:22 am

      A neighbor near me has what I think are the biggest azalea bushes in my area. They are enormous. And their blossoms started to open a few days ago. Very beautiful.


  27. Robert Parker May 4, 2020 / 11:17 pm

    I love colors, even if I don’t know the names for all of them, if they weren’t in my jumbo box of Crayolas. That movie theater ceiling interested me, I thought that artist Kent was the guy who turned into Superman, but I guess that was his brother. I’d like to see that theater.
    Colors affect our minds in all sorts of ways, it’s kind of a fun hobby to see how paintings, flowers, architects, even what they put on a can of beans, influences our behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 5, 2020 / 7:27 am

      You know, Rockwell Kent was an unusual guy. Besides being an artist, he was an adventurer. I read a book by him that describes a sailing adventure he went on. He started somewhere in northeast USA I think, and sailed to Labrador. And maybe to Greenland. I forget. Anyway, it’s a good book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Parker May 5, 2020 / 7:51 am

        I looked at some of his paintings – – really nice! I didn’t know anything about him, I didn’t know he’d written anything, I thought he was a book illustrator, but the paintings are great. I saw that Jamie Wyeth owns one of them, I guess when a famous artist buys your stuff, that’s a good recommendation, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Helen Devries May 5, 2020 / 10:50 am

    That cinema is just stunning!
    I was brought up in a period when sub fisc was the rule…colours were vulgar. I did break out as a student and buy a red brocade coat…but opportunities to wear it were strictly limited. Then I joined a profession where black and white was the rule with slight tolerance for grey after May…even my garden was subdued.
    But in Costa Rica clour has taken over! My garden blares with bright blooms and I celebrated by buying a pair of orange shorts, though not to be worn in public!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 5, 2020 / 11:30 am

      In one of your upcoming essays, you should include a photo of you wearing those shorts!

      Morning, Helen. As always, I appreciate your input a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries May 5, 2020 / 11:39 am

        You want a number of inncent people to lose their eyesight? I was never an oil painting,,,but those shorts would offend even a modern art critic…..

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Des May 5, 2020 / 1:10 pm

    I really enjoy the way you are able to break down and identify the simple pleasures that move you. Sometimes it’s just basic things like colors that make life fun and interesting, don’t you think Neil? Life is interesting, and colorful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 5, 2020 / 2:36 pm

      Right. To a large extent it’s the little things that count. That’s sort of a cliche, but there’s a lot of truth in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Alyson May 5, 2020 / 2:30 pm

    Like everyone else I love that cinema ceiling.

    We watched a news story last night about the bright blue waves coming in at night in California because of the phosphorescent plankton (I think). It was beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Pam Lazos May 5, 2020 / 4:32 pm

    What a colorful post, Neil! I think my favorite colors to watch is the sky as it floats from baby blue to midnight blue sometimes within minutes of each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Christy B May 5, 2020 / 7:44 pm

    How wonderful to see the many colors around you ~ and a reminder that we’re all surrounded by vivid shades if we just stop to look for them 🙂 I like bright yellow flowers because they’re so cheerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. candidkay May 6, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    Love the bright Edinburgh set. Every coffee shop could use a burst of color. I’m particularly enjoying the tulip color combos on my walks right now. Nothing beats spring in the garden:).

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Crystal Byers May 6, 2020 / 12:52 pm

    Have you ever seen the Sherwin Williams paint logo that says, Cover the Earth? It’s an image of our planet dripping in red paint, reminiscent of blood. Which marketing genius thought this campaign was a sound decision? Of course, man-made colors can be mesmerizing, but nothing compares to the beauty of nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. selizabryangmailcom May 6, 2020 / 4:57 pm

    Hi, Neil.
    It’s good to have a choice. If everything was bright and vivid…would we care about it as much?
    With nothing to compare it to?
    Cheerful, uplifting post!

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Pazlo May 6, 2020 / 5:15 pm

    Lovely, lovely, lovely.
    Nice job Neil.
    Good story about fireworks as a kid, watching them from the roof.
    There’s something magical and nostalgic about them, it seems, having known them all of our lives.
    And one of the greatest joys of parenting is carrying on the tradition.
    Lying on a blanket. Watching little faces light up with the sky. Sitting close enough to hear them launch, and yelling “Mortar!” after that throaty concussion.

    And aren’t modern fireworks more amazing than ever? Shapes and patterns.
    And every year a new color!



    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 6, 2020 / 8:04 pm

      You’re absolutely right about the creativity behind fireworks. There are some real artists involved there, always trying to come up with something new.

      Enjoy the week. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

      • alhenry May 6, 2020 / 8:13 pm

        We’re fairly colorful here. A lively tomato red for the dining room. A teal in the dining room. Terra cotta in the hallways and stairwell. White cupboards and upper walls in the kitchen BUT bright green on the wainscoting below with an intense dark blue chair railing.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. carolinehelbig May 7, 2020 / 12:53 am

    I enjoy a pop of colour and our spring here in Vancouver is producing a fabulous show. I have to agree though if forced to select, I’d go with the mellow colour palette. I find desert scenes particularly soothing.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. viewfromoverthehill May 7, 2020 / 11:58 pm

    Your photos and writing exude the pleasure you get out of life and the memories you hold on to of pleasures enjoyed in the past. Good. I hope you always hold on the every wonderful experience. Good on you!

    Liked by 2 people

  39. George May 8, 2020 / 12:39 am

    Some cracking pictures here, Neil. The cinema mural looks amazing but my two favourites are the Cape Cod sky and the New York vegetable stall.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Librarylady May 8, 2020 / 5:12 pm

    I too love color. You should see my outfit today. I’ve never understood people who are into beige and ecru. Colors are there to brighten our days!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. jeanleesworld May 9, 2020 / 8:45 am

    Yes, colors! I do so love a Wisconsin sunset where clouds are splashed with pink, orange, and violet. Today I’m hoping we can go to a greenhouse for some seeds for the kids to garden–ah, the promise of colors surrounding the house! It lifts m’heart. 🙂 Hope and pray you and yours are healthy and well. Keep looking for colors! xxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 9, 2020 / 10:15 am

      The best colors on my block right now belong to my neighbor across the street: reds, violets and whites of her huge azalea bushes

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld May 9, 2020 / 5:16 pm

        Awesome! We just got back from visiting the greenhouse for ideas on some much-needed landscaping. I’ve forgotten how many shades of pink there are among geraniums!

        Liked by 1 person

  42. johnlmalone May 9, 2020 / 6:07 pm

    I love the snazzy concept of colours playing together having a ball; cue in Donovan’s ‘Colours’ 🙂
    have a good one, Neil: the world is reopening. Yay! fanfare a carnival of colours 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  43. ckennedyhola May 11, 2020 / 10:32 am

    Hi, Neil! Great post about colors–the flowers are bursting with colors here–and I’m thinking I should start planting some soon. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 11, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      There are two rhododendron bushes in my front yard. They are loaded with buds, many of which have opened. The flowers are deep red and beautiful!

      Liked by 1 person

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