For my first article on Sensational Color, I’ve decided to write about what I know best and love most – the colors of Belgium, my little country. It is not easy reducing a country to one color. However there is a palette that defines this low land and its quiet nostalgic beauty; Vert de Gris.

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In French, Vert de Gris literally means green of gray – but more generally, it has come to describe a grayish/greensish/bluesh deposit that forms on copper, brass or bronze surfaces (it is also a poison).

This nuanced color includes combinations of many shades ranging from mossy grays, to silvery greens and steely blues – hues that fit Belgium’sheavy rainy skies and landscapes of green.

Quite naturally, these palettes are reflected in architecture and urban landscapes.

Combinations of gray and green thread through time; on doors of Medieval walls and entrances to Baroque churches.

During the Art Nouveau period, when industry and nature were celebrated, green and gray were particularly popular;

And today, in Brussels, these colors continue to grace busy streets. (Belgium is the capital of comic strips or “BD” which decorate many city walls as murals – this one is a Belgian version of Edward Hopper’s “ Nighthawks”)

I have even spotted Vert de Gris combinations in the port of Antwerp

and on a more romantic scale in my neighborhood flea market.

To me, the colors of Vert de Gris spell “home” and are as soothing, poetic and comforting as a gentle rainy day. Avid travelers and color lovers will be charmed by Belgium’s color palettes… and the beer and chocolate!

About Michele Coppin Like poetry, color feeds my spirit; it sings soothing little ballads but also shouts overwhelming and inspiring speeches. It is a constant companion, a lover – filling my canvases, guiding my lens, and pours from my pen. As a driven apostle, I want to share its beauty and power. www.micheleacoppin.com

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