ColorFULL of Meaning: PURPLE

ColorFULL of Meaning: PURPLE

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This series of posts delves into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Today let’s play with  magical, mystical, provocative  PURPLE!

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  PURPLE associates with internalization, depth of feeling, dignity, wealth, exclusivity, mysticism, and magic. No wonder we are provoked by it.

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In Europe and America, PURPLE is the color most associated with vanity, extravagance, and individualism. Among the seven major sins, it represents vanity. PURPLE is a color which is designed to attract attention.

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Lighter, and containing more red, PURPLE can become sensual, seductive, secretive, sweet, cosmetic, intimate, and can associate with love. Closer to blue, it can associate with nobility, borne out by its association with royalty, and use in royal garments. It is the color most associated with  royalty. perhaps because  Tyrian purple was expensive. PURPLE is also associated with piety, and is religious color worn by priests.

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According to Max Lüscher /the  Lüscher color test, PURPLE (technically violet, a lighter shade of PURPLE) can also express magic and romance, as expressed above, as well as perception.

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Child of blue and red, PURPLE  suggests blue’s integrity, and red’s strength. PURPLE can also give lonely, mournful and pompous effect, hence its use in Victorian times as a color to be worn after the first year following the loss of a loved one. Certain PURPLE hues can appear, or “feel” unsettling, degenerate, morbid, and narcotic. When very dark in value, PURPLE can appear “strict”.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, PURPLE (technically violet)  associates this way: Sound: sad, deep, minor key/light PURPLE – weak and restrained. Temperature: depends on the ratio of red to blue in the hue. Taste/Odor: narcotic, heavy, sweet/light PURPLE – sweetly tangy. Tactile: velvety. Weight: heavy/light PURPLE – light

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On an energetic level, PURPLE (technically violet) corresponds to the vertex chakra, symbolizing wisdom and spiritual energy, and influencing the pituitary gland.

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How do YOU respond to PURPLE? Do You see it as passionate, provocative, pensive or playful? Does it express mourning , morbidity  or money to You? Are You attracted to its magic and mysticism, or penitence and piety?

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Kings and Cardinals have worn PURPLE.  It can express vanity, dignity, strictness and sensuality. PURPLE can seduce, exclude, unsettle and sedate. How do YOU weigh in on this bewitching and complex color which changes its meaning, feel and effect so drastically depending on its hue? What does PURPLE mean to YOU?

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ColorFULL of Meaning: ORANGE

ColorFULL of Meaning: ORANGE

Color Wheel

This series of posts delves into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Today let’s jump into a color that can be both juicy and burnt…can it transcend its own contradictions? Here we go with ORANGE!

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The primary associations of ORANGE are stimulating, happiness, joviality, warmth, sociability, and pleasure. It is lively,  outgoing and energetic. According to Max Lüscher /the  Lüscher color test, ORANGE can also express  competition, excitability, and excitability. Bright ORANGE excites and stimulates,  while light ORANGE cheers. When it is highly saturated, ORANGE can feel intrusive, brash, or aggressive. Next to red, it is the colour most popular for extroverts, and is a symbol of activity

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ORANGE also associates with nature in a way very different than green:  Fall foliage…Autumn leaves,  harvest, (think Halloween pumpkins, Thanksgiving centerpieces replete with brilliant leaves and Indian corn), sunsets, the canyons of the Southwest. Although ORANGE closer to the actual color of fire…red is fire’s symbol (“fiery red”).

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On an energetic level, ORANGE corresponds to the spleen  Chakra, symbolizing energy,  and influencing the heart and the spleen and pancreas.

ORANGE may be used as a color of warning, or caution in temporary and construction signage  specified by the US Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices  A skull with an ORANGE background indicates a toxic substance or poison, possibly also hearkening back to the scary aspect of Halloween. Level ORANGE is second only to level red in the US Department of Homeland Security‘s color system indicating  the threat of terrorist attack.

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ORANGE can stimulate the appetite, and is often seen in the cheerful decor of casual dining establishments. It is the color of a wealth of fruits, vegetables and spices; from oranges (of course)  to carrots to pumpkins to salmon to paprika, and can be a great choice of hue for a variety of eating environments.

In fact, the “…colour orange is named after the appearance of the ripe orange fruit.[2] The word comes from the Old French orenge, from the old term for the fruit, pomme d’orenge. That name comes from the Arabic naranj, through the Persian naranj, derived from the sanskrit naranga.[3] The first recorded use of orange as a colour name in English was in 1512,[4][5] in a will now filed with the Public Record Office. Before this word was introduced to the English-speaking world, the colour was referred to as ġeolurēad (yellow-red)….” the parent colors of ORANGE!

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ORANGE is the hue most visible in dim light, or against the water.  It is  the color of life rafts, life jackets or buoys. It is worn by people wanting to be seen, including highway workers and lifeguards, and people who others want to keep track of, like prisoners (“Orange is the New Black“).  San Francisco’s  Golden Gate Bridge  is painted international orange to make it more visible in the fog that often shrouds the San Francisco Bay.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, ORANGE associates this way: Sound: loud, major key. Temperature: warm, flame-like. Taste/Odor: strong. Tactile: dry

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Born of red and yellow, ORANGE enlivens and cheers us, cautions us, encourages us to eat and warns us not to,  illuminates both what we want to see, and wish we didn’t have to. Always warm, and often inviting, ORANGE encourages, expresses, beckons, halts and screams both yes and no.

What does ORANGE mean to YOU?


ColorFULL of Meaning: GREEN

ColorFULL of Meaning: GREEN

Color Wheel

This series of posts delves into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Let’s delve into the many nuances of not always serene GREEN!

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Melding the happiness of yellow and the dignity of blue, a GREEN centered between it’s “parent” hues, blue and yellow, is calming.

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  GREEN is the most restful color to the eye, as it focuses GREEN exactly on the retina.

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When GREEN holds more yellow then blue, it becomes more stimulating, lighter and less serious,

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and when GREEN contains a higher proportion of blue than yellow, or “leans to the blue”,  it becomes colder.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, GREEN associates this way: Sound: dull = muffled, saturated = shrill. Temperature: cool. Taste/Odor: sour/juicy. Tactile: smooth to damp.

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On an energetic level, GREEN corresponds to the fourth, Heart Chakra, Anahata, symbolizing love, sympathy, and harmony,  and influencing the heart and the thymus gland.

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 GREEN associates with  relaxation, calm, freshness, contentment, tranquility, refreshment, quietness and Life! By the same token, it may be used to refer to youth and inexperience, (possibly relating to unripe or GREEN fruit) embodied in the term  “greenhorn“.

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We can also be “GREEN” with jealousy or envy. The expression “green-eyed monster” was first used by William Shakespeare in Othello: “it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Shakespeare also used it in the Merchant of Venice, speaking of “green-eyed jealousy.”[59]

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We associate GREEN nature, strong growth, regeneration, and new life.  However, GREEN is also the color of decay, mold, poison, sickness and death (in humans). How often do we say someone has a “greenish” cast to their skin when they are ill? Do we ever say, something has gone “GREEN” in the refrigerator?

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GREEN can express hope. It can offer a sense of safety and shelter. We may use the term “GREEN light”, when we feel permission to go ahead with something, referring to GREEN traffic lights which signal that it is safe to proceed. Our reaction to GREEN is  emotional AND rational..(apparently these are not mutually exclusive), which shows the tremendous range and complexity of GREEN!

What does GREEN mean to You? Do You like to use it in your work or living spaces, design with it in your marketing materials, or express with it artistically? Do you prefer yellow-GREENS, or blue-GREENS? Or, the “just-right” in-between GREEN?  What about GREEN rooms, and GREEN screens? There’s just too much to talk about…regarding GREEN!

ColorFULL of Meaning: YELLOW

ColorFULL of Meaning: YELLOW

Color Wheel

This series of posts will delve into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Let’s look now at the not always mellow YELLOW!

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YELLOW associates with happiness, joviality, cheerfulness, optimism, high-spirits, and the sun. Related to light, and the most luminous of colors,  it  can symbolize a bright future, hope, expansiveness, and wisdom. It is also associated with gold, and wealth!

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YELLOW is the color most often associated with the deity in many religions. Let’s remember that in Greek mythology,  Apollo is the god of light and the sun, as well as, truth, music and prophecy.  Perhaps that is where the idea of the “light of truth” originates!  The expansiveness of YELLOW means communication (which means mental and spiritual enlightenment).  It is the color of mail boxes in many places, and a symbol for the gods’ messenger, Mercury“You might have noticed the prevalence of the color yellow in stones and plants. YELLOW is a color of intellect and clarity. Wear yellow when you’re having a fuzzy-minded spell. Mercury’s attention is attracted to yellow, and offers clarity in response to it.”

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When too strong, it can become glaring (think of about glaring sunshine). It is the color that most captures our attention, and thus can express egoism and madness. It is used to indicate caution, as the Green “GO” light turns YELLOW as a warning before it turns Red, demanding  that we stop! It is the color of pedestrian crossings  more easily seen than white. YELLOW is also used to express cowardice, jealousy and betrayal (“Yellow-bellied“)

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In the world of advertising (and thus branding and marketing),  YELLOW communicates  activity and cheerfulness, expansiveness, search for new horizons, and  communication. Our reaction to YELLOW is primarily emotional. It alerts us, and activates out attention,and combined with  black, it communicates warning: think about bumblebees, black and YELLOW signage, the coloring of certain wild cats. Although we may respond to YELLOW with philosophical detachment, and also can awaken our anticipation.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, YELLOW associates this way: Sound – shrill, major key. Temperature –  hot/warm. Taste/Odor – sour. Tactile – smooth. Weight – light.

On an energetic level, YELLOW corresponds to the Solar Plexus Chakra, symbolizing knowledge and intellect, as well as being the seat of tension. It influences the solar plexus and the adrenal body.

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In conclusion, I am wishing you the happiness, enlightenment,  wealth and clarity of YELLOW, minus any egoism, betrayal or cowardice that this complex color associates with. May your paths be expansive, luminous, and paved with gold, or at least…YELLOW brick!

ColorFULL of Meaning: BLUE

ColorFULL of Meaning: BLUE

Color Wheel

The next series of posts will delve into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Today let’s look at and feel the confidence-inspiring hue of BLUE!

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 BLUE can symbolize  calm and relaxation, security and comfort, tranquility, truth, spirituality and wisdom. It can feel sober, contemplative, and maternal. Nobility, dignity, poise, and reserve can all be associated or symbolized by hues of BLUE.

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BLUE can also be frightening, depressing, cold, melancholy and sad. We speak of Having the blues.

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We associate BLUE with passivity, quietness, wetness, cleanliness, having no odor, mental reflection,  sea and sky.  Light blue especially may associate with yearning or longing, as in the song lyrics, “Blue, blue, my world is blue…”

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BLUE can symbolize “The best”.  Think  blue ribbon (winning first place!) and blue chip (enduring, and of high quality and value) companies and stock.

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In the world of advertising (and thus branding and marketing),  BLUE communicates trustworthiness,  security, and quality, and is used to inspire confidence. BLUE may stimulate consciousness, consideration, and decision.  Our reaction to it is  primarily rational.  It expresses seriousness, clarification, certainty, and satisfaction.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, BLUE associates this way: Sound:  distant, flute to violin. Temperature: cool. Taste/Odor: no odor. Tactile: smooth to not solid. Weight: relatively light.

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On an energetic level, BLUE corresponds to the Larynx  Chakra, symbolizing religious inspiration, creativity, language and communication.  It influences the thyroid gland.

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Pale blue, royal blue, true blue, feeling blue, which BLUE are You? The answer to this may only be found moment to moment, as our moods, and our associations change with our feelings and circumstances. As we found in our exploration of RED, colors may be inflected many different ways, and even contain within themselves systems of opposites (associating with both Love and Hate, for example). Mysterious and ever fascinating, our study, knowledge and experience of color is ever-unfolding, a journey, rather than a destination.

 

ColorFULL of Meaning: RED

ColorFULL of Meaning: RED

Color Wheel

The next series of posts will delve into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the color FULL races…starting with the ever powerful, ever provocative, unique hue of RED….

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The primary associations we make with RED  are heat, fire  and blood, (“red-handed”),

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and by further association, wounds, pain, war, victims, and revolution, warmth, sunset, the  tropics, excitement, and enthusiasm.  Have you ever spoken in a “fiery” manner, or been told, “You’ve got fire in your belly!”?

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In Astrology, RED is associated with  Aries, the hot-tempered, impatient, aggressive leader,  and is the symbolic color for  Mars, god of war.  We know what color Mars the planet is!

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RED also associates with life, love, passion, activity, devotion, eroticism, strength and sacrifice,

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as well as aggression, intensity, fierceness, destruction and death.  Covering the gamut, RED is a color of extremes.

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Physiologically RED energizes, stimulates, excites, initially raises blood pressure, and stimulates the appetite. A good choice of color for dining rooms, restaurants, and other eating areas.

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RED can be provocative, (waving the  red flag at the bull to get it to charge),  a call to action, the signal of revolution. It is the color of combat, rebellion and dominance.

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RED can be the color of hate…

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or the color of love…

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Attention-getting RED may be the most  dynamic of all colors, dominating other hues. It is used across cultures in branding, marketing, publicity and advertising.

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The lens of the eye has to adjust to focus red light wavelengths, thus RED advances, making  red objects seem closer then they actually are.

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On an energetic level, RED corresponds to the Basis Chakra, symbolizing life, fertility, and reproduction,  and influencing the sex glands and organs.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses RED associates this way: Sound- loud, trumpet. Temperature: warm-hot. Taste/Odor: sweet, strong. Tactile: firm, solid. Weight: heavy.

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On a psychological level, RED is instinctive, and sets an alarm mood. Our reaction to it is primarily emotional.

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In short, RED is a powerful color, the color of power, and through our own experience on all levels shows us the Power of Color!

The Power of RED

The Power of RED

Whatever you want to say about it…the color RED elicits strong emotions. What are the associations and meanings  of this volatile color, and what does it symbolize to us?

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An effect of light: COLOR

From an energetic point of view, red is related to the Basis chakra (energy center), and influences the sex glands, and sexual energy.  It symbolizes life and reproduction.  Studies show that it is associated with both love and, to a lesser degree,  hatred,  as well as life, heat, fire and blood.

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Life Force

Red is arousing, stimulating,  and exciting, relating to both passion, strength, activity and warmth, as well as aggression, rage, intensity and ferocity.   One aspect, it would seem, that can be agreed upon, is that red is energizing!

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I am RED hear me roar!

 Synesthesia, the experience of a sensory “cross-over“, ” is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.“.  Thus a color may elicit associations with particular sounds, tastes, smells, or tactile sensations.  In the case of RED, is associates with loud sounds, specifically, the trumpet, as well as sweet and strong tastes and odors.  Red’s tactile association is firmness and solidity.

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Firmness, Solidity, Strength: holding it all together

What is in common here? Strength. No  half-way measures here…RED packs the proverbial “punch”.  Indeed, if we are punched, the area where we are impacted more often becomes red quickly, as the  the blow brings up our actual blood in response so healing/repair can begin immediately..  Seeing Red anyone?  Well, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to You!

Let’s look at happy, healthy, healing and sometimes outrageous but always energizing uses of RED!

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Brilliant RED, setting off the adjacent gray, adds fire to this exterior architectural color scheme! Symmetry is avoided, but balance is achieved.

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Red does double duty here  energizing both door  and address numbers, again framed by cooling gray, which makes the red stand out that much more.

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The red door let’s us know exactly where to go to enter this charming Victorian, which also employs grays and blues and a touch of lavender as a counterbalance to the eye-catching accent door and architectural detail.

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The red side of this bar ties into other red hues in the flow-through living room, as well as the kitchen rug, and other details not pictured, such as a bright red teapot! Fresh white trim frames and accentuates it.

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Red is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it a natural choice for an eating area. In this home, the red of this dining room, and  the blue and gold of the adjoining hallway/entry and living room respectively create a potent triad of primary colors!

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Red associates with love and the heart, and thus is a natural, life affirming accent wall color choice for an organization like Dress for Success, which helps women prepare for fresh starts in their lives.

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The associations of red with grapes and wine may be obvious, especially to those for whom such spirits are their “life blood”. This red accent wall provides a vibrant frame around the vineyard scene.

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Red doesn’t always have to cover the wall to have an impact. Above, it is used as an energizing accent, and makes a statement in the context of the painting, textile, and rug. There is just enough to enliven a smallish room, and add warmth, layering and texture to the predominant hues of beige/cream, white and deep blue.

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The painting of red with turquoise blue in this narrow hallway packs the proverbial punch, and lights up our senses. The brightness and richness of both these colors holds our attention and really keeps us awake!

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Red and turquoise play nice together as strong accents on this painted chair, reminiscent of the Southwestern United States, in both imagery and hue.

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Setting each other off like black on white, the green background makes its compliment, red, pop! Loving ladybugs, anyone?

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Red is the perfect choice for a sidewalk “sandwich” sign, designed to attract attention, inform, point the way, and draw in customers!

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Flying high…the associations are here are clear!

What does RED mean to YOU?!

The Power of RED: Doors

The Power of RED: Doors

Why use red on a front door?

(Or a side, service or interior door, for that matter?!)

It seems that all can agree that RED is energizing.

Here we  explore why…and why red so often greets us as the port of entry into all sorts of spaces.

val_bAn earthy, pink-toned red works well on this door, which receives in strong sunlight, with the warm-toned earthy brown house body color.

soulA deep, strong red door offsets buttery yellow walls, and stands out in a large Pilates studio space without dominating it or taking away from its serenity.

gu_aNot a front door here, but strong bright red works just as well on this service door, providing contrast to the complex taupe field hue which dominates the exterior.

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WEBbComplimentary greenery flanks this glistening red door, giving it even greater “pop”, and attracting us to the entrance, and the house.

WEBcThe red door leads our eye to the entry, and offsets the quite brown of the shingles, and potentially somber black shutters and trim.

WEBdA less brilliant red makes a quieter statement, but a strong one, nonetheless, the color offsetting the dark steps, and drawing our eye up to it..

WEBeNestled within the entrance alcove, this red door gives relieves the expanse of  ochre colored stucco surrounding it.

WEBfThe red of the door is picked up as an accent color in the trim, and Victorian detailing and ornamentation, adding a sense of fun and whimsy to the entry.

WEBiRed on the front door of a Santa Monica mortuary: life affirming, warming, comforting, path finding, getting us where we need to go…inside top face loss, establish ritual to move through it, and do what must be done.

WEBjRed side doors of the same mortuary…again, letting us know where we need to go. keeping us energized and focused, doing what we need to do.

WEBkAnother “cottage” beauty…this bright  red door fairly beams out its cheerful, inviting, life-affirming greeting, and seems to say…come in!

What do You think about Red Doors? Do you have a favorite? Please share about it with us in the comments, and your thoughts on why Red Doors persist as a theme in our architectural color culture!

Here’s to energizing entrances to all sorts of spaces!

When Your Head Explodes

When Your Head Explodes

Despite the provocative title, this post is NOT about self-destruction, or really any other kind of explosion.

It is about how to avoid that, in a world, and a time, when everyone is overloaded, overstimulated, overwhelmed, and maybe just barely keeping themselves from going over the top.

What to do when conflicting demands, world crises, the seemingly ever-faster passage of time, and the never-ending allure and addiction of the internet challenge our time management skills?

Well, in many cases we may  need to do what one of my students did in a recent workshop….create

…and make lemonade out of lemons, and not the other way around.

One way to do this is to, as I term it, “Slow it all down” and take a breath, take a moment, and if you are engaged in a task, really concentrate on it, focus, and allow yourself to be drawn into its magic, and even its mystery.  Allow your attention to be captured, and the results may be unexpectedly healing, centering, renewing, and revitalizing.

I did this recently, when in a moment of feeling conflicting demands, needs, commitments, desires and possibilities, including the need to post on my Artissimablog, took a moment, and focused on my HOUZZ  design blog posts. Some of you may subscribe to this amazing entity…and receive, like I do, hundreds of fascinating, applicable and glorious posts, images, ideas and blurbs a week.

Hard to keep up with, and I have moved from reading EVERYTHING/EVERY ONE, to just those that truly fall within my current central focus of interest: color, art integration, decorative painting, D.Y.I., small spaces, the handmade, hands-on, bespoke, vintage, re-purposed and recycled. Plenty to keep anyone busy.  However, often I am rushing through them, just to get them “done”, read, checked off my ever-lengthening “to-do list”.  Not always really taking the material in; like flipping through a magazine, and not really reading.

Well,  on this particular day, for whatever reason, despite feeling like I needed to and should do a host of other things, I scanned my HOUZZ posts, and chose a few “treat” myself to. I put my whole attention on reading them, taking in the images, opening my heart, mind and soul to the ideas, aesthetics, whimsical innovation, and sheer beauty before  me on the screen.  As I became absorbed in what I was doing, the concerns, tensions, worries and conflicts seemed to slip away, and I was transported into other worlds of artful fascination and loveliness, feeling my spirit drink this in for all it was worth. The beauty, stimulation, and peacefulness of the images and ideas before me “worked” upon me, instead of the other way around.

When I had perused and imbibed  several chosen, intriguing posts, I was ready to move forward with my day, energized, calmer, and with renewed vigor for the tasks at hand.  It was like my nervous system had taken a break and come back refreshed, and maybe it had. Agitation may drive us to the place where we need to be creative or productive (not always the same thing), but it doesn’t seem to be the state  in which we ARE the most creative or productive, as John Cleese shares  with us in an intriguing talk.

Sometimes that is just a matter of a shift in attitude, decision, focus, or breath.

Quiet, clear, calm, focus, seems to be necessary, for us to “drop down” into that state where we are free of worry and stress, and can just roam; create, produce, play, complete, whatever.  Anxiety and the worry over conflicting demands takes a greater toll on our energy sources then simply releasing ourselves from those states, and giving ourselves fully to what is before us.

So, the next time You feel that Your head might explode,

               STOP….

Take a breath. Stay calm.  Choose a task, or just focus on the one right in front of you, and for just a few minutes, try to give yourself to it completely, and see what happens.

You may find yourself not only calmer, more alive, and less agitated, but also a bit richer in experience then you were before.

And that is certainly worth the price of admission!

Seeing RED

Seeing RED

Green master bath and red master bedroom form a complimentary pair

Red door = energy

Rich red layers of glaze create a dining room “intime”

San Francisco’s Dress for Success Boutique uses the butterfly as a symbol of transformation

Benihana’s Restaurant in Cupertino, CA is transformed by bamboo imagery reflecting its interior wall coverings

More cream on white…this time wall covering in a Parisian-inspired San Francisco SOMA District interior

The Benihana mural transforms as it moves across the overhang

Red creates a luxuriant backdrop for dark wood, bright artwork, and mirrors

Red creates pop which animates the bar, and the room

Layers of glaze create lend depth and sensuality to a personal space

Red door = energy… in  The Soulful Pilates Studio, San Francisco

Green frames red…bringing the outside in