Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How many browns are there?

While driving back to Georgia today, I was struck by how many browns there are in the landscape in Armenia. Actually, I was completely enthralled by the variations of just one color. A monochromatic landscape can be dreadfully dull, but the textures made up for it.

I made a list of the colors that I could name as we drove:
      Terra Cotta
.....and Brown.

I also kept thinking that in the spring and summer, the whole drive would look entirely different. Most of the dingy drabness would have color to it, and the colors must look striking against the natural grays of the rocks. But, it isn't summer or spring. It's winter, and everything is brown.

The two most prevalent textures in brown were the rocks and grass. Armenia is mostly mountainous, and the rock formations, textures, and colors varied as we drove. In some places, the rock was more smooth and putty-colored, then it changed to rough and terra cotta, then to bumpy and umber. Sometimes there were chalky, cream-colored layers in the rock. Other places had rusty pockets in the rock face. The grasses that grew last summer stood dry and feathery waiting for the spring rains to make them green again.

Most of the countryside that we drove through was treeless, but in the villages there were apricot orchards and other trees. The gnarled khaki and tan trunks and main branches ended in straight sienna twigs. Here and there in the orchards, neat piles of freshly cut wood stood stacked and waiting to be taken inside. Any tree that had passed its time and usefulness was cut down and cut up for its final use. The small stacks of wood had some of the brightest browns in the landscape - sienna and ochre.

Alongside many of the orchards, and sometimes within them, haystacks dotted the field. The ecru and sepia straw stacks looked like little huts - just like in Monet's paintings. Well, the shape was the same - the color certainly was not! Monet's haystacks have much more yellow, green, blue, and red. These were just brown.

Here and there under a tree or on the side of the road, a piece of a car offered some kind of shelter for someone. The steel had oxidized leaving rust and chocolate colors mixed with the paint that was left in places. I'm not sure it the shell of metal was supposed to offer shade from the hot summer sun or just a place to sit with a roof of sorts. But the texture of rusty metal was cool addition to the landscape.

I shot a few pictures, but from a moving vehicle, I couldn't get the textures in the photos to match how I felt about them in what I was seeing. What I can tell, is that there was a lot of brown.

1 comment:

  1. This was a very pleasant entry for me to read....I LOVE brown, in any shade and chocolate, in any flavor! Thanks!