Posted by: E (The Third Glance) | February 13, 2012

Rainbows

When I was a little girl, I thought rainbows were the prettiest things in the world. They had every color in them, that made them the best. Because they had every color. And if they had every color, that made them the prettiest.

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo Violet. – ROY.G.BIV

When I was little I would sit around and order my blocks and toys in rainbow order. Over and over, I would rearrange them in neat little lines, sometimes in spirals, sometimes in straight lines. Always in rainbow order. My crayons and colored pencils and markers and all other art supplies would be sorted in rainbow order too. My candy (M&Ms and skittles) would be sorted into neat little rows, in rainbow order, then I’d eat them in rainbow order, saving one of each color for last. Rainbows were the best. They had every color. And so all of my things would be in rainbow order. I even convinced my mom to let me have a rainbow blanket on my bed.

My kindergarten class sang a song to remember the rainbow colors:

Red and Orange, Green and Blue

Sunny Yellow, Purple too.

All the colors that I know

Live up in the rainbow!

I hated the song, because it put the colors in the wrong order. Yellow came between orange and green, not between blue and purple!

In school, we used Mr. Sketch markers for art. You know, those awful scented markers that come in packs of 8 or 12?

Pink, Magenta, Red, Orange, Yellow, light green, dark green, light blue, dark blue, purple, (brown, black) – the last 2 didn’t count as rainbow colors, for some reason. I would obsessively put every single box of markers into rainbow order when art time was over. It was the same thing with crayons and pastels and colored pencils and everything else. I had to make sure every box was in order before we put them away after art class. Every.single.box. Every.single.time.

I used to fill up whole pages with these markers, drawing line after line of rainbows order. Sometimes I would make circles, or spirals. Sometimes I would make a box around the edge then work my way in, each line carefully drawn next to the previous one, with the next color of the rainbow. I would fill up graph paper, white paper, lined paper, anything, with my rainbow line drawings. Sometimes I would draw a shape in the middle in black, then outline it over and over with rainbow orders until the whole page was full. When I was drawing, I would make sure I used the wide edge of the marker, very carefully straight, so as to not let any white of the page show through. Spirals, boxes, circles, lines, diagonals, and diamonds filled my pages, tessellating, oscillating rainbows. They were fascinating to me. I would count and see how many lines would fit on the page with each unique design.* When I got older, I would use the graph paper and make diagonals, bouncing off the edges of the page by changing direction. Sometimes I would change color each turn. Sometimes I would fill up with only 1 color until I ended up in a corner, then start again with a new color. Sometimes I would do a combination of them. I always worked with rainbow order. It was logical. It was sensible. I used every color.

And I never understood why everyone else’s pictures looked better than mine, with their flowers, and dogs, and blue sky and suns. Because mine were rainbows, and I used every color, and rainbows were the prettiest things in the world. I had, and still have no real concept of negative space. I’m not a visual artist**. I think in terms of numbers and structures and patterns. I fill up space with orderly lines and images. I “draw by the rules” – rules that I made up to help maintain order, not rules for any sort of visual pleasure. I’ve never been able to translate the pictures I saw in my head into drawings. I have pretty bad fine motor skills (I used to fail handwriting, another topic for another blog), but that really wasn’t the reason. I just can’t translate what’s in my “mind’s eye” onto the page. Or the computer screen.

When I was a little girl, I never understood why no one else drew rainbows. No one else drew by the rules. I didn’t understand that they didn’t have those rules to follow. I learned how rainbows were made in 1st grade when I learned about the different spectra of light. I spent hours waiting for the light to hit my window just right so it would make a rainbow on my floor. I would always go outside after a rainstorm to find the rainbow, because I knew that when light shone through raindrops, it could make a rainbow. I lived to find the elusive double rainbow or the “sundog ring” around the sun. I learned about the spectrum of light, and it still mystifies and fascinates me today how the color wheel works, with red bleeding into purple, even though they have totally different wavelengths on opposite ends of the visual spectrum. It’s ironic that I ended up identifying as “LGBT” (see my post on Asexuality for more of an explaination), and now rainbows represent neurodiversity too. I guess I picked a good obsession.

Rainbows mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but to me, they will always represent structure, beauty, and inclusion of every single color in a neat, orderly fashion, where each hue has its place, in making a wonderful, beautiful whole. Calming, reassuring, always the same pattern, never the same, rainbows are one of the most beautiful things in the world.

—————————

*I tried in vain to create a similar type design on my computer, but alas, my drawing skills are not good enough for that in powerpoint, and as I have already discussed, my photoshop abilities are nonexistent. My best attempt to recreate one of these designs is at the bottom of this post, however unfortunately, it isn’t quite true to form – I had to scale the sizes of the rectangles, so the lines get smaller too. That’s not how I usually do it. Usually the lines stay the same width. But you get the picture.

**I am a musician. I play piano and viola and sometimes other stringed instruments. I have been learning guitar a bit. I also knit (one of my stims), but I am just NOT a visual artist in the traditional sense of the word.

******************TRIGGER WARNING***********************

BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD LINES AND REPEATED PATTERNS BELOW.

MAY CAUSE MIGRAINES, ETC.
This isn’t exactly what my pictures would look like, but it’s pretty close. I made it in powerpoint…

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Responses

  1. I painted as an adult, and always lined up my paint tubes and pastels in rainbow order, too!
    I like your design. To me it appears to be moving. 🙂

  2. I love it!

    I, too, still line up all writing utensils in rainbow order, and eat my skittles in rainbow order too. I do enjoy other color patterns as well, but rainbows remain my favorite.

    (I always got annoyed about “Indigo,” though. I have yet to find it on any proper rainbow).

  3. ordering colors in rainbow order is just logical… it’s not just rainbow order, it’s the order of colors!
    I also did the same with sweets and M&M’s 🙂

  4. You wrote

    “I would obsessively put every single box of markers into rainbow order when art time was over. It was the same thing with crayons and pastels and colored pencils and everything else. I had to make sure every box was in order before we put them away after art class. Every.single.box. Every.single.time.”

    Yes to this!

    Although I never had the opportunity to organize other’s art materials, we are a ROYGBIV family. Our clothes, books and toys are sorted by color. It is so soothing and orderly.

    Happy sigh! 🙂

  5. Rainbow are the best. And I drew things like this, all the time. Rainbow lines on rainbow lines on rainbow lines, filling in all the space. I wanted to be rainbow-colored. Everything was lined up that way.

    My mom had this giant box of colored pencils, because she was a landscape architect, and organizing all the different colors into shades of rainbows so it was just the right way was amazing.

  6. “When I was a little girl, I thought rainbows were the prettiest things in the world. They had every color in them, that made them the best. … My crayons and colored pencils and markers and all other art supplies would be sorted in rainbow order … Red and Orange, Green and Blue

    Sunny Yellow, Purple too.

    All the colors that I know

    Live up in the rainbow!

    I hated the song, because it put the colors in the wrong order. Yellow came between orange and green, not between blue and purple! … It’s ironic that I ended up identifying as “LGBT””

    ME, TOO! I did all of that! We have so much in common we should make a secret handshake! (joke) 🙂
    Did you look for the rainbows in sprinklers? Garden hoses?


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