“Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss…but every once in a while you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.”
– Wendelin Van Draanen, Flipped

From pigments of paints and crayons to chlorophyll and melanin, each balances the right combination of absorbed and reflected light. A pigment is about interaction with light and is dependent on its chemical composition. It weakens, fades, deteriorates — It’s temporary. We try to preserve them, we dip them “in flats, in satin, in gloss…”

Yet, there are structures that interact with light on the nanometer scale.

They are made out of numerous small openings that reflect the very properties of light. They capture minute differences between wavelengths, separating each color accordingly.

As a whole, they create endless numbers of rainbows.
At each angle, a different color is made visible.

As long as the structure stays, color is permanent. Each viewing angle, each perspective brings out a newly combined whole. It needs no coat of stain or gloss. The very structure itself interacts with light.

That’s iridescence.

“When you painted on earth, it was because you caught glimpses of heaven in the earthy landscape. The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpse too…light itself was your first love, you loved paint only as a mean of telling about light.”
– C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce