I love spending time with my artist siblings for a great many reasons, one of which is the conversations about color.  My brother-in-law talking about the colors in the fused glass portraits he’s doing, how to get flesh tones and shading right through double-digit firings, my sister talking about the colors she uses on her crystal eggs that she is making to goto the Dolores Cannon Transformation Conference or “Arkansas” as we call it, and what colors we’re wearing and how that reflects our moods.

Today this branched into talking about combinations of color and how they affect us.  Different people have different tastes and different desires when it comes to color, but there is more to it than that.  Colors are symbols and have meanings attached to them.  If you don’t think so, try ignoring a stop light or two.  Brown in dirt=good, brown in plants = mostly bad if it’s supposed to be green.  Bright colors in small amounts good, in large amounts overwhelming.  A huge living room with all bright walls in fire engine red is hard to live with.  The same room with cream walls and red accents is warm and inviting.   A kitchen in bright yellow can be cheerful, but it’s not overwhelming because the actual wall space with color is minimal compared to all the appliance and counter and cabinet colors which are usually more neutral.

Cool or neutral colors on walls make us comfortable and allow us to accent smaller things, focal points by using brighter color.  Spring is full of bright color, but this is mediated by tons of green and beige and brown and more green in every possible shade.  In this green becomes a neutral to create the backdrop for such vibrancy.  Unless it’s a lawn which becomes a bright tone in comparison to all the less uniform, more textured, darker greens.  We talk about tropical colors as riotous, burgeoning, abundant, intoxicating, all things that point to an overwhelm of the senses, not necessarily in a bad way, but noticeable for their lack of balance.  Each speaks loudly, each primary tone demanding our attention and our response.  Jewel tones declare themselves like sparkling stones, color straight from the palette asking us to be in this now, experience this moment, come out of our shell and join in the experience even if we express nothing.

Putting colors in perspective, situating them in context, not only in place but in ourselves, helps us create a world that connects us and inspires us.  What colors are you living in, working in, wearing, imbibing?  Are they what suits you or inspires you?  Are they something that supports you or hinders you from having a great day today?  Look around you.  Perhaps it’s time to put some things in perspective…