Friday, July 22, 2005

What Color Are Your Windows?

Last night I watched a fairly mediocre movie - mediocre because the heroine's only redeeming quality was that she was pretty in a 1950s porcelain doll sort of way but otherwise I have no idea why the hero was so in love with her - with the exception of one thing. Music From Another Room was one of Jude Law's cutting-his-teeth films before he made a real splash in The Talented Mr. Ripley. And honestly, I could watch Jude Law mowing the lawn and be more than quite content, so even though I didn't love the movie as much as I would have liked, it wasn't a waste of time.

Plus, watching Mr. Law be his beautiful self got me thinking about the heroes I write, specifically about their eye color. In one shot of the film, the lighting was such that his eyes were a true green, the kind of green you read described in romance novel after romance novel but rarely if ever encounter in real life. This, of course, sent me scrambling for images of Jude Law so I could capture that green-ness for future reference. But most of what I found indicates his eyes must range from true blue to a blue-green, none of the images containing that same green I’d seen in the movie. Not that I'm complaing about what I did find, mind you.

Whatever exact color they are, I consider Jude Law’s eyes to be of the Paul Newman caliber. I use Paul as my benchmark since his have to be probably the prettiest set of eyes to hit the big screen. Even as he’s aged, those icy blues retain the ability to dazzle:

Then there’s Elijah Wood, whose own eyes are such a pure blue the digital enhancement performed on them for Lord of the Rings seemed superfluous.

Another of my favorite light-irised actors is Viggo Mortensen. His eyes can appear so pale that they seem translucent.

What is it about beautiful light-colored eyes that I find so appealing? And I’m not just talking in famous people.

We have a good friend whose eyes are the palest pale gray, and I think they are just lovely. My son’s eyes are the color of faded denim, and I hope they retain that particular shade because they are also large and fringed by thick eyelashes, speaking of a future as a true lady killer. I could look at his eyes for hours at a time.

My own eyes have run the range from sage green all the way to turquoise when I put on particular sweaters, although normally I’d call them a muddy mixture of blue/green/gray. I don’t find them beautiful by any means, but I like knowing that the shade changes.

To be fair, it’s not only light colored eyes that appeal to me. It’s any eye color out of the ordinary. My husband has deep brown eyes, so dark they appear almost black. The color of rich chocolate, and I find them beautiful, much like those of Goran Visnjic.

I’ve seen countless sets of hazel eyes that really are beautiful, especially on women. Demi Moore has gorgeous hazel eyes.

Kristin Kreuk of Smallville has stunning eyes.

I think the way Julia Roberts’ eyes match her reddish auburn hair is very cool.

And I tune in to NBC Nightly News so I can admire Brian Williams’ eyes, which perfectly match the charcoal gray suits he so often wears. Sorry, no picture of Brian’s eyes. Couldn’t find any. I don't think we're supposed to be waxing poetic on the color of an important and serious newscaster's eyes.

But whatever color, one thing seems to be universal when it comes to the heroes and heroines of my books. They must have gorgeous eyes. I’m not talking your run of the mill sky blue or hazel flecked with green and gold. They are always so striking that they become the character’s most attractive feature.

I have to work on changing this, of course. Because a world populated by Newman-eyed people is not only completely unrealistic but it dilutes the impact. Not every single one of my heroes can have a piercing silver stare, because then he wouldn’t be special.

What I find so often in reading romance is when the character has eyes a color that goes against what you'd expect. Usually this is the raven haired hero or heroine with bright blue eyes. I remember reading in Priscilla Presley's autobiography Elvis and Me how Elvis found a black-haired woman with blue eyes to be the epitome of beauty. Thus she spent a good portion of her formative years dying her hair jet black. Most of the time, though, I don't know how heroes and heroines manage to pull off their unique eye colors without the aid of colored contact lenses. Most blue-eyed blonds are of the average blue, not the drop dead, color of the sea after a tempest tossed night blue. Most brown-eyed folks aren't doe-eyed nor do they have chips of mocha radiating outward to a ring of obsidian. They're just an ordinary brown, as far as I've noticed. Not so in romance novels because normal brown and blue just won't do.

However, I do feel better about writing people with drop-dead gorgeous eyes because I know there are some really out there. Sure, I have yet to meet a man or woman with tawny, golden-colored eyes which I’ve seen described but can’t imagine on anyone human. Too, I'm not really sure what eyes the color of a new leaf would look like, nor sapphire eyes or eyes the color of flaming emeralds (how, exactly, to emeralds flame?). I know Liz Taylor is famed to have violet eyes, but I suppose I just haven't met her up close and personal to see how purple they truly are. It seems in fiction, eye colors can reflect every single hue of the Crayola color chart, the deluxe 64 count box even. Perhaps the reds and oranges should be reserved for the paranormal and villains, though.

I guess that means if I stick to the blues and greens and hazels and browns, there’s plenty to work with where I can find real examples of what my mind’s eye sees.

After all, the windows to Jude Law's soul are the most perfect shade of Caribbean blue.


Anonymous said...

Just a note ... Goran Visnjic's eyes are actually green. Depending on the lighting, they can be pretty light. (You're spot on about the others, though.)

cynthia said...

some people have natural eyes that look like they have wore contacts.