Brown is the most fascinating and least popular color. The best way to enjoy it is to surrender into its universe of variations. Of course being a bit recessive brown benefits from extroverts like yellow.
Why shouldn't brown be as warmly regarded as any other color? Part of its problem is associative: brown indicates that green things, the upside of organic life, have expired.
Associations aside, a clear-eyed look at a brown leaf may find it more beautiful and interesting than its recent prominence in green.
When plant leaves cease their production of chlorophyll their green coloration reduces or ends. Yellow and red pigments that have been masked by chlorophyll's vitality may briefly come to prominence (fall coloration), along with new, temporary purplish pigments associated with completion of the leaf's biologic role. This purplish surge generates the exuberant part of the autumn brown landscape. The recessive part comes not from living tissues but from the celluloid structures within leaves and other parts of the plant, that eventually crumble to humus.
When brown sings it receives respected names from the world of fashion: beige, taupe, mocha, cinnamon, écru. Many of the favored names come from animals that adopt brown protectively.
Brown is the color that plant life takes in consolidation for solemn, enduring functions like wood. But it is also the color of decay and mud and excrement, stuff under foot, the devolved color of humus, the reduction of the organic rainbow. After brown comes black: darkness, the end of the life force.
You can begin taking delight in brown by mixing any primary color with its complement. Pick a point on this color wheel and combine it with the hue that waits diametrically opposite on a line through the center of the wheel. In a wet paint exercise you'd concoct one of the infinite shades of brown as you vary the proportions of the three primaries, along with white and black.
Most of the browns you'll encounter on a walk in the vegetative world are warm browns from the yellow-red side of the spectrum tinged with a little blue. Blue itself is relatively rare in nature except in the sky (and its reflection in water), so we seldom see the cooler browns deriving from blue, except in certain flowers. Painters, decorators, and fashion designers can use mineral-based (inorganic) blue pigments to explore the realms of brown as the iris does. Iris, the goddess of the rainbow.
On another pathway to brown at Halibut Point, light mixes reflected yellows and reds onto the blue surfaces of water where it is admired by people of many hues.
In its full range the color brown adorns the diverse vitality of life.