In the gray-tinged news last week, Crayola Crayons “retired” the color dandelion. Let’s be real. Crayola put the crayon out to pasture. The company has gone dark (taking a cue from its outer space hue) about the crayon’s replacement, but it’s a safe bet that a blue player will assume dandelion’s place on the top shelf in the 64-crayon box with BUILT-IN SHARPENER. The scrawl is to crayons what Megan Kelley is to the TODAY show. No one is safe.
To some, dandelion is a weed. To others, it’s a wish. While more a fan of sea green and Pacific blue, dandelion was my go-to color for my hair when I drew my family. It worked pretty well for the sun, too, when I wasn’t in the mood for the more prosaic yellow. Dandelion sketched a glowing halo for angels during the Christmas season. When it came to coloring daffodils in the spring, dandelion, not canary, cut it. Canary sang when coloring birds, though. Maize was the perfect hue for Halloween corn stalks. As for the base of candy corn, only dandelion would do. Maybe that’s why maize was sent back to the farm in 1990 and dandelion, a yellow upstart, took its place.
Lemon-yellow was logical for lemons and nice for glowing moons, but bananas required a deeper expression - dandelion mottled with raw umber (another retiree). Black-eyed Susans (my mother’s favorite flowers): dandelion and black. Giraffes: dandelion and sepia. Sunflowers, spaghetti, bumblebee stripes. All dandelion. My mind drifts towards the Minions. I wonder. If dandelion can’t color their capsule bodies, will they be relegated to plain, old yellow? Note to Illumination Entertainment: you may want to consider unmellow yellow.
It seems to me that coloring books, butcher paper, and construction paper have issued a travel ban on the yellow family. Compared to the blue clan that offers 18 hues (not counting the purples) and the red group that offers 14 shades, yellow pales in comparison, coming in with only five variations. And here’s another vexing truth: goldenrod is still blooming. I hated that color! It never could decide if it was gold or orange (never mind yellow), plus it was waylaid with a tinge of brown that made the color look like mud with a yellow-ish afterglow. Yuck.
Icons of our childhoods die hard. When they have influenced our development, in this case, the unleashing of creativity and the understanding of color as tangible and usable, the icons melt. Were I to blow a wish into the dander of the dandelion, it would be this: that it seeds your heart to color outside the lines with whatever color moves you. Maybe you would like to express your color personality with a simple arrangement of dandelion yellow flowers. Here's how.