Fog Magic

Fog Magic

One recent overcast Saturday morning, I set out in full regalia, walking to my exercise class, which was just down the road.

It was foggy, not an unusual state of weather in San Francisco. However, instead of dull and dismal, the softly filtered light and shrouded landscape felt mysterious and  magical.  I remembered a book from my childhood entitled “Fog Magic”, in which a young girl encountered a magical world only visible in the fog.  How did the fog change the look of things?

Intrigued, and going on instinct, I walked right past the church where my Jazzercise class was now surely in full swing.  The air itself was soft, damp, and seemed full of possibility.  I was on an adventure…and  heading West, towards the water.

The pastel colors of the buildings were muted further by the fog, softened, yet distinct.  I was struck by the difference in hue, yet similarity in value of a row of house colors which seemed to nest like colored Easter eggs, side by side. They reminded me of the “rear view” house colors I was moved to write about in a previous post.

I have always been intrigued by this very private abode, and have perused it many times while walking west towards the ocean.  It emits a strong Japanese sensibility, its plain frontal facade, and very specific landscaping distracting attention from how far back it stretches.

The blend of cultures, ethnicities , belief systems and their myriad expressions in the Bay Area pervade its neighborhoods. Weather-dusted gems such as the unexpected Buddha can appear anywhere, such as the end of a condominium walkway  across from Ocean Beach

The pop of a red door seems even more intense in the fog. White body, blue trim, and gray-blue accent give new meaning to the term “white picket fence”, and all that term implies.  This neat little dwelling is bright in the sunlight, and a grayed down version of flag colors in the fog.

Slightly north stands the stately enclave of “Sea Cliff”, home to movie stars, moguls, and probably a lot of moms, too.  Here, the trail of vines spreading across a picturesque stone wall creates the inspiration for a mural composition.  The rich fuchsia color jumps out against the green and gray in the overcast light.

Fog magic is mysterious and powerful. Days don’t have to be bright to be illuminated, or objects well-lit to be radiant. Through the softly veiled, diffused light of the foggy overcast we so often live within here, we can see the glow of treasures we might otherwise overlook, blinking in the sunlight.

Has a walking adventure changed the way YOU see things recently??  

If  you feel so moved, please share about it with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all adventuring through this thing called Life, together.


Small Changes…Big Results

Small Changes…Big Results

We have all experienced the power of small changes: that slight shift in hue, design, tone of voice, or verbiage, that can lend an entirely new meaning to something we see, say, or feel.  Color consultation is all about this, and it doesn’t always take a lot.

Before Painting

After Painting

Well, sometimes it does!

Before Painting

After Painting

A “simple” choice of color can affect  the entire look and feel of something.

Yellow House, Green Swag

The Devil is in the Details

Whatever we may think about the green swag against the yellow house body trimmed in white, we can probably agree that the choice of color, any color, of this decorative detail makes a significant difference in the look and feel of the building.

We know as artists, colorists or both, that the tiniest drop of tint into a paint color can change it completely.  Many of us have found this out through intentional or unintentional experimentation.  The balance can be shifted from warm to cool, from clear to muddy,  from light to dark, from saturated to diffused.  The process is always a discovery, an adventure, and a journey.

Taking the Journey

So it is with our words, our actions, and perhaps most importantly, with our thoughts.  We have all had the experience of an interaction escalating into a tirade or an argument, and then thinking later that if we had made just a small change in how we spoke, or behaved that the whole experience and outcome could have been different.  Or, we do make a comparatively small change, such as wearing  a new color of clothing, finally purchasing something that we needed, giving something away, or rearranging possessions, and we think to ourselves something like, “Why didn’t I do that sooner? Keeping these things in a box instead of a bag is just so much easier!”

Why is it so hard to learn these lessons?

I am not sure of the answer to this, but I do know that practice in making the small changes can help us make the big ones without our even being aware of it.  Practice may not always make perfect,  but it may help us approach the larger transitions and decisions in our lives with greater acumen and  confidence.  If we get into the habit of changing small things,  the larger changes we face may be that much less overwhelming.  Our change muscles are flexed, having done some preliminary exercises, and primed to take on the greater challenges of our lives.

Recently, on the wonderful blog talk radio show “Artistically Speaking“, my colleague Lyna Farkus was interviewed about her career as a decorative painter, and inevitably, her life journey.  She shares how recently, she allowed a fellow driver she encountered on a busy workday morning to go ahead of her, and how she saw clearly how that simple act of  generosity would potentially affect that person’s entire day; his interactions, relationships, and who knows, maybe even his safety.  By easing the driver’s frustration, that “random act of kindness” may even have saved his life. by causing him to be calmer and thus more careful on the road.

We don’t know the ripple effect of our actions, and there is an infinite amount of factors that we cannot control.  But, just like the tiny drop of tint that can completely change the character of a color, a tiny action,  change or shift can yield significant results.  Just as we learn about color mixing through practice and experimentation, so we can make small changes a practice.  However daunting, scary and heart-stopping change may seem to be, we can fall back on our experience of the positive outcomes engendered by the changes we have entered into willingly, and enter the mystery of the unknown with that much more clarity and serenity, and maybe, even a modicum of joy.

Entering the Mystery... may yield results

If you feel so inspired, please share with us some of the changes you have made, and how you were able to make them.  We love to hear from you. Remember, we are all  in this thing called Life, together.


Oak-town Wonderland

Oak-town Wonderland

I  recently had occasion to traverse the San Francisco Bay east-ways,  travel over the two spans of the East Bay Bridge, and take a little foray into “Oak-town”, or our fair city across the Bay,  Oakland, Ca.
Often maligned, perhaps not enough appreciated, Oakland is a diverse, multifaceted place,  encompassing its own wonders,  not the least of which is warmer weather.

Even though I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I know it, and I APPRECIATE it, sometimes it is just good for the soul to take a foray into a different world.

Here in the Bay Area, that is very easy to do. I am fortunate in that my work takes me North, South, East, and as West as you can get without hitting water.  In fact, many of my job sites take me across water, over hills, under freeways, and around town. It’s big fun.  I especially love it when I am afforded the opportunity to get a fresh new view of a place, a site, a town, or, a lake.

Oakland's Water Jewel: Lake Merritt

I had a meeting planned at Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital, right on the shores of Lake Merritt,  with a fun associate, and a new contact, already setting the stage for an energy boost!

On this beautiful day, the water glittered, and sky scraping buildings of the City of Oakland curved away from its banks, as the lake itself, framed by its walking path, seemed to curve towards me in a gesture of welcome. “Take a moment”,  it seemed to say. “Take a breath, take a moment, enjoy the sun, the air, my water,  and the ‘Three Sisters sculpture in the park  across the way.”

"Three Sisters" hang out...

Being one of three sisters, the sculpture rang resonant, humorous, timeless, forever.  Who was who…I wondered.

Forever Three Sisters

And then…all too soon, it was time to go back.  Back to the other fair city across the Bay, traversing  the two span bridge yet again, westward this time.  Back to the other body of water I am privileged to dwell near…mother to the Bay, and great big sister to Lake Merritt, the blue Pacific.  It tends to be a little colder there!

Indians on the Beach

It was time to get back to work, back to the rest of my work for the day.  But I left, vitalized , energized, and inspired  by the warmth, community, vitality, and connection, that is Oakland.  It wasn’t just a glimpse into another world, it was a moment in time in a world that is mine, too.  A world that is there for all of us to visit, support, participate in, and enjoy.

Oh- those aren’t “real” Indians on Ocean Beach.  But that’s another story…ah, I mean, post!

Here’s wishing you discovery, happy adventures, inspiration and energy, wherever you go, and whatever you do, today, and every day. If you have an adventure or a discovery that was right around the corner, or across the Bay, please share it here. We’d love to hear about it!

Happy Trails!