Article from Arden: How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

 Article from Arden: How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

Recently, i was fortunate enough to have colleague, stylist, real estate professional, and “Color  & Hue” practitioner extraordinaire,  Arden T. Reece of Color & Hue, and The Rudy Group Real Estate, pen the article  below about my work as a decorative painter, and highlighting  and helping  to define it at the same time.

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 I met Arden through our studies at the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, (IACC), and have watched with admiration as she has created an amazing presence in the worlds of personal styling, color consultation for personal style,

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and  real estate in the Long Beach-based company of Geoff Rudy.   She is also a whimsical water-colorist, with a delightful children’s book idea up her sleeve!

Please enjoy Arden’s interview and article below, about the art and applications of Decorative Painting!

Thanks Arden!

How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

by Arden T. Reece

debra disman, artifactory studio“We sat down recently with Santa Monica based artist, Debra Disman, who recreates rooms and objects with her arsenal of painting techniques. Her company, ArtiFactory Studio, provides custom decorative painting, faux finishing, color consultation and murals to the Residential, Commercial, Institutional and Nonprofit customer. Her work has graced the walls, ceilings and objects of many residences and spaces along the California coastal region and beyond. 

First off, thanks for agreeing to sit down with us!  Your work is amazing and you’re one of those artists that most people don’t know exist but when they find out about you, they’re thrilled! What exactly is a decorative painter?
Well, decorative painting is a bit of a “catch-all” term. In fact, the way I use it, it covers much more than “just” painting! Decorative painters use their skills and artistry to transform the ‘built environment’ – usually the architectural environment, both interior and exterior, but more often interior. We work on walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, and architectural details such as fireplaces, columns and molding, using paints, glazes, metallic leaf, and more, to create the look and feel requested by our clients. We may create full-scale murals, the look of marble, stone or wood (faux finishing), or apply gold leaf. As I say on my site, “Our passion is to translate the Client’s inner vision into concrete visual form.” I might work in conjunction with interior designers, architects, contractors, painting companies or even graphic designers to develop the textures, color palettes, treatments, mural compositions, designs and patterns that will bring a space to life and give it that extra oomph that can translate into the “wow” factor.

Wow is right — you truly are an artist in visually transforming objects and homes through color and paint!  Many homeowners love to create unique spaces in their homes but don’t quite know what to do. How do you help them in conceptualizing something?
The key is really individualized customer service and the customization of every project. Every finish, mural, design and treatment is tailor-made to the client’s need, environment, interest, and inner vision. How is this achieved? From my complimentary first meeting, through the sampling process, to the finished project, the focus is on hearing what the client (and their team, if they are working with a designer, architect, contractor, or painting company) have to say, seeing what they respond to, and continuing to listen to, respond to and communicate with them to make sure their project is progressing in the desired direction.

So…what is the step-by-step process for working with you? How can a homeowner create a great relationship with you so they get your best work?
My process for much of my work includes several steps. Once I get a referral, or a potential client has reached out to me, we discuss what they are looking for over the phone, and then set up a complimentary first meeting to review job site and potential project, and further clarify their needs, interests, vision and expectations. This gives me the information I need to determine pricing, so that I can present a quote/make a bid. I consider this meeting my first collaboration with the client, and it also functions as a consultation of sorts.

I will then, in most cases, present a written bid based on time and materials, a time-line for the job based on the client’s needs and schedule, and the availability and workload of my studio, ArtiFactory Studio. If the bid is accepted, we sign a contract, and I invoice for a deposit which is usually 50% of the total price. Now the work, and the fun, can begin! Based on meetings with the client, designer or any other “players” involved, I produce samples or mock-ups and submit/present them for approval. I will incorporate feedback and requested changes so that the client and their team’s vision develops along with mine. I will conduct further client meetings and provide consultation as needed throughout the process. Once all plans have been approved, I complete the job on-site or in my studio continuing to be open to client feedback and concerns. When the job is complete, I provide any necessary instructions for maintenance, repair options, and product for touch-up, and go over any questions the client/team may have. The last step in most cases is to invoice for balance due and leave a happy client having exceeded her expectations!

One trend that we’re loving right now in the design space is the idea of reuse and re-purpose. What are some things that you’ve done in re-purposing furniture?
I am so glad you asked about re-purposing furniture through decorative painting as it is one of my favorite things to do! Not only is it incredibly fun and creative but it also helps to minimize the waste-stream and thus supports the health of our environment, to say nothing of saving money! I have both purchased furniture from garage and yard sales and recreated them with decorative painting techniques and I’ve also taken pieces that I or a client already owned and transformed them into custom items that are specifically designed to work in a particular space. In those instances I work with the client step-by-step to realize their vision, just as I would with any other job.

Although you make it look easy to do, I know it’s not! What are some things your clients need to be aware of when it comes to re-purposing their furniture or space?
One important thing is to give the process its due.  It does take time to clarify what look and feel the client is actually going for and discover the best way to achieve that. There are so many techniques, processes, applications and treatments that can be used…the options are endless! So, the dreaming, visualizing, planning and consultation process is really important, and in most cases should be collaborative, unless the client is willing to offer carte blanche and accept the results!

Next, I would say to any prospective client, as for any project, have fun with it! This is a process designed to put your vision into concrete visual form and it should be fun, exciting, enjoyable and creative for you as the client with gratifying results. Finally, in working with an artist/decorative painter/decorative artist, understand that you are working with a professional who has trained and practiced their art form or craft (just as your architect or designer has) and that there is a charge for the service. Work out the financial details ahead of time and get it all down on paper, so that everyone involved is apprised of the costs, and agrees to them, and then you can move forward and have a great, creative/collaborative experience.

To see more of Debra’s work, visit her at www.artifactorystudio.com or contact her at 310.920.4311 for a complimentary meeting.”

GRATITUDES for this lovely piece!!!

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Media Medley

Media Medley

Being in the process of updating, retooling, adding and subtracting (mostly adding…subtracting is a whole other challenge!) my presence online, including  Website , Linked In profile, Pinterest, Etsy Store and more…I thought I would share some of my media offerings in an Artissima post.  Maybe You will get some ideas of media You can generate, to support, express, and promote Your work and business!

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

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I had the good fortune of knowing a talented videographer (he is no longer working in the field, and does not accept inquiries…so, I won’t mention his name here), who filmed one of my projects, and put together a beautiful little video on it.  Although made several years ago, this video still feels fresh and relevant, because of his skill, and creativity.  Thank you Allen!

The Video Showcases an Image Central to My Site

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The amazing and dedicated Carolyn Edlund, who “inspires artists to build better businesses”  through her ventures  Artsy Shark, and the Arts Business Institute was kind enough to interview me about how I built my decorative painting business.  The interview was done in two parts, and forms a “document” that can be shared with others, offering tips and guidance to support them on their journey!  Thank you Carolyn!

Use your Mind to Share your Heart, and Your Hand to Share your Voice

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I was honored to participate in a project filmed for HGTV‘s Curb Appeal, entitled, “It’s All in the Details“, helmed by the inimitable John Gidding, architect, designer, and showman extraordinaire, and for the record, a great guy! John was kind, supportive, and a real team player on his show, where he stars, manages, designs, interacts, and even picks up a paintbrush!  Thank you John, and the HGTV‘s Curb Appeal team, as well as Johlt Productions…what a great experience.

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Artistically Speaking Talk Show   is the brain child of  Rebecca E. Parsons,  Having met the wonderful artist/artisan   Lyna Farkus  through none other then Twitter (!…the power of social media, folks…),  who was at the time co-hosting with Rebecca, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the two of them.  What a fun, and gratifying experience was this interview , as are all the interviews conducted on the show.  A must-listen to for any artist, artisan, entrepreneur, “ladypreneur”, “solo-preneur”, crafter, and more. Thank you dear Rebecca and Lyna.

Create Success..Believe…Gratitude…

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One thing can lead to another…after the  Artistically Speaking  interview, Rebecca and Lyna asked me if I would do a monthly segment on the show, offering “tidbits of color wisdom”.  I was delighted to become part of the team, and “The Color Muze” segment began airing each (well, most) third Sundays of the month, at 7:15pmEST/4:15pmPST.  It is a joy to share color information, experience and exploration garnered through 5 years as a color consultant/designer, and training through the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers.  After each show, I write up the Color Muze segment into an article, which is then published in Rebecca’s  online magazine, Cre8tive Compass  in the Color Muze section.

Muzing on Color

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As You can see, there are many ways to share, support, inspire and connect through media. The internet offers opportunities for video, audio, and text, through its myriad channels.  Presenting yourself through these channels is not only promotion, marketing and PR, it is also reaching out, offering information, lending a hand through your own experience, teaching, and interacting with others.  Who knows who You might meet, touch, awaken, or work with next?  Media is also its own art form, whether it be composed of sound, images, words, or a fusion of of these, it is always an adventure, an exploration, a new frontier, and, a little bit of a risk.

But then, putting Yourself “out there” always is, n’est-ce-que pas?

So cheerio, and bon voyage, and see You later…Have a Great Trip!

Humors, Hues, and Healing: Color Symbolism of Yesteryear

Humors, Hues, and Healing: Color Symbolism of Yesteryear

Sunday July 15, 2012, on our Color Muze  for Artistically Speaking Talk Show, the Blog Talk Radio brainchild of artist and entrepreneur Rebecca E. Parsons, we delved into the mists of antiquity to explore what my teacher, Frank H. Mahnke, of the IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers Seminars) has called, “Mystical Color Symbolism.

Rebecca interviewed my old friend and colleague, Joy Conway, decorative painter extraordinaire, owner and lead artist of  Funwalls Studio in Albuquerque, NM, a division of her evolving, green  artistic enterprise, nmVerde. Joy is also part of Vintage and More,  selling vintage items and antiques as part of a collective effort.  Although “vintage’ is not necessarily “antiquity”, we found plenty of tie-ins!

We “muzed” about the four-fold system devised by the ancient Greek physician  Hippocrates,  (b. ca. 460 B.C, often termed the “Father of Western Medicine”,  which connects the four major “humors” (human bodily fluids) with the four “temperaments”  (one might term these, personality types) and their color counterparts.

Bear in mind that the hue of each  humor, IE, black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm (this is not for the faint of heart!) does not necessarily correspond to the color related to it.  No, blood/sanguis, even though physically  a shade of red, is related to the cheerful color of yellow, and element of air.

The  term for a cheerful, optimistic, hopeful personality…or, temperament is sanguine!  Perhaps this humor, blood, runs healthily through the veins of one of this temperament, helping them to be positive, and upbeat!

Let’s take a look at the this fascinating  four-fold system.

The humor yellow bile, or “cholos” is associated with  the element of fire, and the  choleric temperament: passionate, touchy, quick, violent tempered, and active. The choleric temperament is strong, faster changing, a tensed mental state directed towards the outer world.  It’s color is red, in modern systems symbolizing  aggressiveness, activity and strength.

The humor black bile, or “melas cholos” is  associated with  the element of earth (not water, as one might intuitively expect given our natural association with blue) , and the  melancholic temperament: sad, with a tendency towards melancholy and depression.  The melancholic temperament is strong, but slower changing, a tensed mental state directed towards the inner world. It’s color  range is  blue, blue-violet, and black. It’s counterpart in contemporary color symbolism would be “feeling blue”- IE, sadness, melancholy, and depressiveness.

The humor blood,, or sanguis” is associated with  the element of air, and the  sanguine temperament: warm-hearted, lively, cheerful, impulsive, with a positive approach to life.. The sanguine temperament is weaker, faster changing, a relaxed mental state directed towards the outer world.It’s color is yellow, which in our modern system symbolizes cheerfulness, vitality, and high-spiritedness. Yellow, in the Hippocratic system relates to the element of air, and the humor of blood,  is the color of the sun, and sunlight…perhaps the “life blood” of our planet earth?

The humor  phlegm  (we all know that one, yes?!) is associated with  the element of water (which makes sense when you think about the relationship of phlegm to dampness) and the  phlegmatic temperament:stolid, calm, reserved, and hard to rouse to activity. The phlegmatic  temperament is weak and slow changing, a relaxed mental state directed towards the inner world.  (Think about when you have a cold, and just want to curl up in bed and let the world go by). It’s color range is green, green-blue, and white. Green, in more modern color symbolism, can express withdrawal, quietness and reservation.

Just for fun…here is an excerpt (found on http://www.fisheaters.com/fourtemperaments.html)  from the 11th c. Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, attributed to John of Milano, giving the basic run-down as to the effects of too much of one humor or another: 

If Sanguin humour do too much abound,
These signes will be thereof appearing cheefe,
The face will swell, the cheeks grow red and round,
With staring eies, the pulse beate soft and breefe,
The veynes exceed, the belly will be bound,
The temples, and the forehead full of griefe,
Unquiet sleeps, that so strange dreames will make
To cause one blush to tell when he doth wake:
Besides the moysture of the mouth and spittle,
Will taste too sweet, and seeme the throat to tickle.
If Choller do exceed, as may sometime,
Your eares will ring, and make you to be wakefull,
Your tongue will seeme all rough, and oftentimes
Cause vomits, unaccustomed and hatefull,
Great thirst, your excrements are full of slime,
The stomacke squeamish, sustenance ungratefull,
Your appetite will seeme in nought delighting,
Your heart still greeued with continuall byting,
The pulse beate hard and swift, all hot, extreame,
Your spittle soure, of fire-worke oft you dreame.
If Flegme abundance haue due limits past,
These signes are here set downe will plainly shew,
The mouth will seeme to you quite out of taste,
And apt with moisture still to overflow,
Your sides will seeme all sore downe to the waist,
Your meat wax loathsome, your digestion slow,
Your head and stomacke both in so ill taking,
One seeming euer griping tother aking:
With empty veynes, the pulse beat slow and soft,
In sleepe, of seas and ryuers dreaming oft.

But if that dangerous humour ouer-raigne,
Of Melancholy, sometime making mad,
These tokens then will be appearing plaine,
The pulse beat hard, the colour darke and bad:
The water thin, a weake fantasticke braine,
False-grounded ioy, or else perpetuall sad,
Affrighted oftentimes with dreames like visions,
Presenting to the thought ill apparitions,
Of bitter belches from the stomacke comming,
His eare (the left especiall) euer humming.

So, what does all this say about our use of color, and the use of color in the architectural space?

I can’t give a definitive response to this query, but take a look at these interiors, and let me know what you think!

Red for the bed…a couple’s romantic red bedroom.

Blue for you…this is where you will stay as a guest in this house…in the blue guest room.

Mellow yellow? The blue guest room’s yellow and deco bath.

Green for clean?  This green room is the complementary master bath for the red bedroom above.

What does it all mean? Have we changed that much since 460 B.C?  Certainly not our “humors”, nor their hues. If we truly peruse and analyze the ancient Greek scholars, we can probably discover methodologies and means timelessly revealing of the human body, spirit and psyche.  At any rate…it is a fascinating  area of study and contemplation, and one befitting our Color Muze,on  Artistically Speaking Talk Show and  Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

if anyone is interested in further humor-ous (or other) exploration, please consider checking out these sites for further fascination, fun and fancy…and maybe a few insights along the way!.

May YOU live long, and healthy.

http://www.greekmedicine.net/b_p/Four_Humors.html

http://www.thecolourworks.com/pdfs/Hippocrates%20the%20Four%20Humours%202.pdf

http://thecolourworks.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hippocrates-galen-the-four-humours/

Intuitive Color

Intuitive Color

I have a bit of a confession to make.  As a color consultant, I go with my gut first- (after full-out discussions with the Client of course, and an assessment of their needs, wants, preferences and desires for their space, business or brand, and its color design).

I take a look at all the information, and at the raw data: the space, walls, architecture, logo, or existing visual identity, and then let my imagination wander.   After I identify my intuitive, initial, and well, gut response, I delve into my source material…my guides, charts, chapters and information garnered from my course of study at the IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers of North America).

I cross-reference my initial, intuitive, and gut-level response with case studies, hard data, and historical info, and  analyze the color  choices from a number of vantage points including the psychological/associative, the sensory and the energetic.

In other words, how do colors make us feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically?  What emotions do we feel, or associate, what physical sensations do we experience, or associate, and what symbolic associations do we make with any particular hue..or combinations of hue?

Can we be healed by color? All of these effects, issues and questions come into play when choosing colors for the garden, the built environment, or a business, institution or organization.  There is no one right answer when determining, choosing or analyzing colors or color combinations for any purpose.  There are theories, the color wheel, associations, and our felt experience.  All of these must be brought to bear on our color decision.  Let’s look at some evocative color combinations in art, nature and life.  Evocative of…what?  Well might you ask.

Sometimes a complimentary ( opposite each other on the color wheel) color duo is necessary to add punch, accent or contrast, even within a range of softer, pastel hues.  Pale yellow and periwinkle blue cross into yellow and purple territory, creating contrast, without becoming jarring.

 Analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel), can work together to communicate a feeling, a brand,or a niche based on associations with nature. The analogous combination of blue and green  is a natural to express tranquility, life, truth, growth and hope.

Combinations of two secondary hues, such as green and lavender can create a feeling of both variegation and  harmony. The colors are contrasting, but also related, as they share the common element of blue.

We can look to the associations colors have with emotions to  better understand our reactions to them. Hatred can be associated with both red and black. This may be mitigated by the addition of white and pale yellow. How much each color is used is also a factor in how we respond to the color composition  as a whole.

Blue and orange, another complimentary pair, combine the tranquil and noble associations of blue with the happiness and joviality of orange. Tension or balance or…both?  We are held rapt by a sky both ethereal and dramatic.

Perhaps the employment of all three primary colors (red, yellow and blue) is the most dynamic of combos.  These colors, in near pure form, happily vie for attention in all their aspects, creating a brilliant, dynamic harmony.  This image keeps us awake, stimulates our minds, and enlivens our senses..  Like visual acupressure, all the points are touched..

Coming full circle, we return to the gradated harmonies of sea, mist, fog and sky…with the silhouette of a tree branch and a distant piece of the red-hued  Golden Gate Bridge thrown in for good measure.  Don’t “analyze this”…just let it wash over you…and trust your intuition, your gut response…they won’t lead  you wrong with color…ever.  ” This above all: to thine own self be true,” in color, and in life.   Is there a distinction?

Brand of Colors

Brand of Colors

A recent color consultation and analysis got me thinking…about why we choose the colors that we do.  Of course we can analyze, assess from various vantage points, provide argumentation to support our choices…but really, why do we just feel like some colors  and combinations of colors are just “right” for a particular purpose, venue or view?

I think it all comes down to how a color “makes us” feel.  What emotions, and sensory reactions we have when we gaze upon that part of the light color spectrum that is NOT absorbed by the surface we are looking at.

Take green, for example, specifically the fresh, bright hue of green the Client of my marketing colleague, (who had brought me in to analyze, assess and consult on her client’s color choice, and suggest a tandem hue) was drawn to.

Some of the associations with green include Life, Growth, Nature, Springtime, Immortality, Hope, and Resurrection. Not bad for a “secondary” color!

Green “sounds” soft to shrill, “feels” smooth to damp, “tastes” and “smells”  juicy, sour, or tangy, and

can be “cooler” or “warmer”, “heavier’ or “lighter” depending on the ratio of its components,  yellow to blue.  Energetically, green relates to the “Heart Chakra“,  representing love, sympathy and  harmony, and influencing the heart, and the thymus gland.

What might one put with green, a bright, fresh green, that wouldn’t contrast with it so greatly as to change its character?  Although green and its complement red (or even pink) are a dynamic duo, unless associations of Yuletide, India, or the tension of opposites are desired…another choice must be made.

Hmm…green and orange, green and purple or violet…still too dynamic…as both of these secondaries have red in them.  Yellow would be too similar to the Client’s chosen green in warmth and temperament, containing too much of light and bright and luminous and warm.  Yellow, I felt, would  compete with the green, and not provide the contrast necessary for visual interest.

The Client’s brandmark is a penguin…ah…images of sea and sky emerge.   I ‘saw’ a Teal Blue…that would contrast with the green as a hue darker in value, and provide a coolness that would more subtly offset the bright and warm green,

Blue and green both associate with Tranquility and Peace.  They both suggest aspects of nature.  Blue relates to the Larynx Chakra.  It stands for Religious inspiration as well as creativity, language, and communication, (the Larnyx is often referred to as the “voice box”!), and it influences the Thyroid gland.

Blue “sounds” distant, or soft, it “feels” smooth, it “tastes” and “smells” odorless or fresh, to salty.  It’s perceived “weight” tends to the heavier, and more solid, it’s “temperature, to the cool.  Blue ‘s associations include nobility, contemplation,  truth, spirituality, wisdom, dignity, trustworthiness, value, calm, security, poise, reserve, sea and sky.

We can imagine then, when we put blue and green together, that the effect will be refreshing, and  “natural”,  both warm and cool,  embodying the warm, harmonious heart of love, and the inspired, creative communication of  language, symbol, and of course, color!

If You would like to know who wrote the book on color consultation and design, please investigate the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, and the writings and teachings of Frank H. Mahnke.  There is a whole world of color exploration awaiting You out there…and within!

To hear more about color choices and analysis, the how and the why, tune into my Color Muze on  Artistically Speaking Talk Show with Rebecca E. Parsons.

Give it a try…turn YOUR senses on and rock Your world, with Color!

If You feel so inclined…let us know how You do it!

Strike Me Pink…You Feel Me? Color Associations & You

Strike Me Pink…You Feel Me?

  Color Associations & You

Hello Gentle Readers of Artissima!  I am Debra Disman, your friendly Color Muze, here to share tasty tidbits of color wisdom…from here, there and everywhere.  (If you would like to know about the relationship between color, and taste..please check out previous posts on SYNESTHESIA, and….Synesthesia!)

April 15, 2012,on Rebecca E. Parsons wonderful, and inspiring  blog talk radio “Artistically Speaking Talk Show” ,  our Color Muze   found me in colorFULL convo with Rebecca, and her two highly cre8tive guests,  Deb Thompson, and Christy Gossett ; bloggers extraordinaire. We had a fun romp through a serious color association study, that I learned about from Mr.  Frank H. Mahnke, my instructor at the IACC-NA ( International Association of Colour Consultants/ Designers North America).  The  color skinny, as per this study?  Color associations may indeed be cross cultural…even universal, within a certain range, of both colors, and cultures.  Meaning that…in this study, the majority of participants had similar color associations.  What were they?  Well…please peruse my take and interpretation  below, and let the fun, and fascination, begin!   Less verbiage…let’s let “Les Couleures” speak for themselves!

Red   =   Love

Wouldn’t you know it?  (Heart, blood, life force, et al…)

However, when paired with black, the love may change to hatred…oh dear.

However, this may shift depending on the proportions of red to black, and the addition of another color, such as white.

The human presence, also may alter this association!

The obvious associations with sky and water seem to compel us to associate the color blue with peace and tranquility.

As well, green, with its relationship to springtime,  plants, and the rejuvenating life force of nature.

Although white may be the color of mourning in some cultures, the majority of participants associated the colors black and gray with mourning and sorrow.  Here the effect may be mitigated by an undertone of life giving green, paired with  fresh creamy trim.

The most common color associated with “happy” in this study was yellow…with orange coming in second.

What comes to mind when YOU think of orange? The color of joviality…[“French, probably from Italian giovale, from Old Italian, of Jupiter (regarded as the source of happiness”; from Latin joviālis of (the planet) Jupiter, considered by astrologers to foster good humour),

Warm oranges may be associated with appetite, and can be used effectually in kitchens and dining areas.

Here, the radiant, embracing orange wall and ceiling of this living room veer towards the yellow, or golden, also associated with “jovial”.

Fresh clear life affirmative green…no surprise that “LIFE” is a big association!

Slightly toned down, but still radiant!  Life Force…here we come!

Light-filled yellow…no orange here..with luminous associations.

More luminous-ness…an exterior faux finish featuring a deeper-valued texture over a lighter base,

popping on this building against an azure blue sky.  Yellow = sun/sunshine = light = luminous, indeed.

Speaking of blue…blue and violet associate with “noble”.

Noble blue door…this one does make a statement.

Purple has long been associated with royalty…and has been the color of royalty, or the “highest” of “noble blood”.  To obtain this once rare color, a fair amount of effort once had to be made.

“The actual color of Tyrian purple, the original color purple from which the name purple is derived, is the color of a dye extracted from a mollusk found on the shores of the city of Tyre in ancient Phoenicia (present day Lebanon) that in classical antiquity became a symbol of royalty because only the very wealthy could afford it. Therefore, Tyrian purple was also called imperial purple. (See Article).

Nature arranges colors so beautifully…in ways that delight us, and make our hearts sing… might her “color associations”  be the same as ours?

 What colors do YOU associate with “love”, “hatred”, “peace/tranquility”, “sorrow/mourning” “happiness”, “joviality”, “life”, “luminous”. or “noble”?

If you feel so inclined, please share them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all color associating with this thing called Life, together.

Is Your Color Centrifugal or Centripetal?

Is Your Color Centrifugal or Centripetal?

Recently, during our Color Muze segment, on Artistically Speaking Radio, we discussed the fascinating phenomenon of centrifugal and centripetal action and complexity, as color designer and expert Frank Mahnke, of the International Association of Color Consultants/Designers,  terms it.

The concept of  centrifugal and centripetal action and complexity in this context,  is related to using color to create a mood, to support the function of a space. In essence, we create moods through use of color (and pattern), and we can support (or not) the function of a space by the colors and patterns we use in it.

Centrifugal action, derived from the Latin centrum, meaning “center”, and fugere, meaning “to flee”, does just that: directs our attention out and away from the center, or, our inward center, and towards the environment.  Warm color, with high luminosity, (” emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light “), has a centrifugal effect, and can help to create bright, cheerful, animated environments, conducive to activity, and conviviality, such as Living and Dining Rooms!

Centripetal action, by contrast, from the Latin centrum “center” and petere “to seek, is associated with  inward direction, and can relate to contemplation and concentration. Cooler and softer colors, with less luminosity can produce a centripetal effect, which can in turn increase the ability to focus and perform demanding intellectual or visual work.  Or, relax, sleep or bathe!

Strong color contrasts will create excitement in a room,

while less contrast will feel more calming, as in “tone-on-tone” pattern.

The contrast of a dark and cool color, with a light and bright one can create animation and excitement in a space through contrast, while the colors themselves express restraint and dignity,

creating a fitting  (pun intended) mood for a sophisticated retail space.

Less color contrast, yet high warmth and luminosity, can create a contained aliveness,

“apropos”  for an entryway that is meant to be both welcoming and elegant, calming and warm.

By contrast, strong pattern and related colors can perk up even a small space,

without overpowering it, and distracting from its function!

In summary, when choosing colors for an environment, the function of that environment should be taken into consideration, and color’s ability to focus our attention inward or outward used to its full potential.  The warmth or coolness, luminosity, strength (or chromaticity) of a color, the contrasts between colors, and the use of pattern will have a significant effect on the perceived mood of any space, and thus on our ability to use that  space, and function in it to highest capacity.

Centrifugal and centripetal action and complexity is another example of the inherent power and effect of color, and how we can harness it to support and improve our lives.

Take a look around at YOUR color schemes.

Is Your Color Centrifugal or Centripetal?

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

We Love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all trying to get centered in this thing called Life, together.


Cacophony to Calm…Compensating with Color

 Cacophony to Calm…Compensating with Color

Can color “theory” heal?   If healing means balancing, compensating, and otherwise enhancing the quality of a space, object, light source, or even our bodies, then I believe it can.

Our April 17, 2011 Color Muze  on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, “muzed” about how color can be used to adjust our perception of sound, or the lack of it, and thus balance or “heal” an environment through our sense of seeing, and its potential effect on our sense of hearing.  This is an aspect of the phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses”, as IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers-North America)  lecturer, Frank H. Mahnke, terms it.  The idea being  that our perception of color can associate with our perception of another sense, such as hearing.

Warm colors (from red to yellow-green on the color wheel), associate with loudness.


Image Source

Cool colors (from green to red-violet on the color wheel) associate with quietness.

This is reflected in our language, the way we talk about our environment, or even our feelings, in terms of color. I am not sure I have ever heard anyone refer to a quiet (or cool) red, though anything is possible!  On the contrary, I remember my mother describing feelings of anger as “Seeing red.”

By comparison, people may speak of a  quieting their emotions when they enter a room in which a “cool” blue predominates.

It is interesting to view the two together…(albeit different hues and values of red and blue).

Thus if we wish to compensate for noise problems in a space, we can add more “cooling” colors such as  blues, blue greens, perhaps even a cool blue-violet. Warm to hot colors such a saturated reds, and “hot” oranges or yellows will tend to exacerbate our sense of being in a noisy environment, which can be significant in any setting where concentration is important.

To relieve a “too-quiet” or tomb-like atmosphere in a room, and add energy, warmer (and lighter) colors may be applied, such as yellow-green, golden-yellow, reds, oranges or “hot” purples (red-violets).

It is fascinating, and fun to see the sound associations the Henrich Frieling, Director of the Institute of Color Psychology assigns to a range of colors:

Red– loud, trumpet

Pink – soft, delicate

Orange – loud, major key

Brown – dark, deep minor key

Gold-Yellow – fanfare, major key

Yellow – shrill, major key

Yellow-Green – high-pitched, minor key

Green – muffled when dull, shrill when saturated

Green-Blue – soft

Blue – distant, flute to violin

Ultramarine – dark, deep, more minor key

Violet – sad, deep, minor key

Light-Purple – weak, restrained

Crimson – powerful, stately

It really begs the question…what might a musician, singer, or music therapist have to say about this?  What about Sharry Edwards, pioneer in the study of Human BioAcoustic Biology…might she have a “color link” to her work and theories on healing the body through sound?

Perhaps a subject for another post…

Have you used color to compensate for too much noise, or not enough sound in your own or other spaces? Have you felt the effect of color healing in regards to your, or your Clients’ auditory environment?  What is YOUR experience with Synesthesia, in regards to the relationship of sight to sound, the visual to the audible?

If you feel so inspired, please share your insights with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all seeking the balance in this thing called Life, together.

Here’s wishing you healing wherever you need it most, in your Life right here, right now.  Cheers!


Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part Two

Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part Two

Our February 13th “Color Muze” segment on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, focused on the fascinating concept and phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses. I learned about Synesthesia through my color seminars at the IACC-NA (The International Association of Colour Consultants and Designers North America) from Mr. Frank Mahnke, President of the  IACC-NA and the Director of the IACC Education/Accreditation Programs conducted worldwide. Mr. Mahnke lectures on the  psycho-physiological effects of color, light and the human reaction to the built environment, as well as the role of color as information and communication in the field of marketing.  In other words… Color Rocks the Big One…our Perception.

In my first Seminar with the IACC-NA, I learned about how colors (the visual) can provoke associations with our other senses, (smell, touch/the tactile, hearing and taste), as well as affect our perception of weight, volume, size and texture.  In the words of Mr. Mahnke , “It seems that the centers for processing sensory information are linked with each other, leading to crosstalk between the senses.” If this is true, and it would seem from the evidence of our senses that it is, then the concept of Synesthesia is an important consideration in any and every color decision we make, with potentially profound consequences emotionally, physically, aesthetically, and even spiritually.   How does our perception of Color make us Feel?

We tend to talk about color in terms of the visual; “Oh, that red bedroom is so bright!”, or “That’s a very pale shade of lilac.” But, if we tune into our own phraseology, we may just as often hear ourselves speaking about color in terms of our other four senses, the auditory, (hearing), olfactory, (smell),  gustatory, (taste), and the tactile (touch).  “Oh, that red is just so loud!” “What a sour green!”, “Such a sweet pink room!“, “I love that soft blue.”

Let’s awaken all our senses by taking a closer look, and tuning into what we feel, and how we respond to color.

What do colors sound like?

Warm colors such as yellows and oranges tend to feel loud to us, and can potentially make a space feel “noisy”.  According toHeinrich Frieling, Director of the Institute of Color Psychology, we associate gold-yellow with major keys, and orange with loudness and major keys. Cooler colors such as blue on the other hand, tend to feel quieter and more distant, with darker-hued spaces seeming to  further muffle sounds.

What do colors feel like?

What texture does a particular color “feel” like it has?  It’s not surprising that yellow tends to “feel” smooth. When we consider yellow’s associations, this makes sense.  Have we ever felt a ray of rough or scratchy sunlight?  Looking at yellow’s opposite or complement, purple, we can get a sense of velvet.  Would this have anything to do with our association of purple with royalty, and the images of purple velvet which we may associate with royal robes?

What do colors smell like?

The  chroma, saturation, lightness, and brightness of a particular color  can affect its sensory associations. Under Frieling, the Institute of Color Psychology has asserted that the color brown is associated with a musky, or roast taste.  We may even use the word “browning” in lieu of the word “roasting”, or to describe part of the roasting process.  However, green-blue may elicit fresh to salty associations, while the hue “blue” is essentially odorless. Add to this the nature associations we have to brown in all its aspects (think “earthy”), green-blue (sea) and just “blue” (sky), and the sensory meanings can become clear. Different blue and brown combinations will give different effects, making us think with our noses, as well as our eyes.

What do colors Taste like?

Taste and smell are closely related, and tend to hold the same or similar color associations. Red is sweet and strong, as long as it contains no yellow, and doesn’t cross over into the realm of orange, which may not be so sweet, despite our associations with the fruit.  Perhaps the holiday of Valentine’s Day has played upon this “red as sweet” association, with its emphasis on red-wrapped boxes of chocolate, and other sweets.  I would add the term “rich” into the mix, my association with Valentine’s Day chocolate, if its worth its salt- er, sugar.  Green, and yellow-green by contrast (red and green being complementary colors, and opposite each other on the color wheel) associate with sour, with yellow-green veering to the tangy, and green, to the juicy.  Consider green apples, kiwis, limes, fried green tomatoes (well, maybe not fried…tomatoes ARE fruits though!)  Green to yellow-green hues can make our mouths water and our lips pucker just by thinking about them!

Thinking about it.  In a way, that is the point.. isn’t it?  Because, as we know, as scientists, colorists, designers and artists know, however subliminally, that color IS a matter of perception.  Color exists in our brains. As Frank Mahnke says, “There is no doubt that a unity exists from one sense to another.  Perception is not just a mosaic of separate sense stimulations.  In certain aspects of psychology…the entire organism is looked upon as a whole.”

All of our senses play into the impressions we receive, the internal images we carry, and the ideas we form. resulting in how we feel.  How we feel affects how we behave, and vice versa. When we understand, or perceive of color that way, we realize how amazingly,  incredibly important and powerful  it is.  Color really does Rocks the Big One…our Perception. And as some would say, “perception is reality”.  What do You think?

If you feel so inspired, share YOUR sense and sensibility with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all experiencing this thing called Life, together.

Newsflash: for another yummy look at the phenomenon of Synesthesia, please check out Elizabeth Brown’s Colorific blog post on the same subject.


Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part One

Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part One

Our February 13th “Color Muze” segment on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, focused on the fascinating concept and phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses. I learned about Synesthesia through my color seminars at the IACC-NA (The International Association of Colour Consultants and Designers North America) from Mr. Frank Mahnke, President of the  IACC-NA and the Director of the IACC Education/Accreditation Programs conducted worldwide. Mr. Mahnke lectures on the  psycho-physiological effects of color, light and the human reaction to the built environment, as well as the role of color as information and communication in the field of marketing.

In my first Seminar with the IACC-NA, I learned about how colors (the visual) can provoke associations with our other senses, (smell, touch/the tactile, hearing and taste), as well as affect our perception of weight, volume, size and texture.  In the words of Mr. Mahnke , “It seems that the centers for processing sensory information are linked with each other, leading to crosstalk between the senses.” If this is true, and it would seem from the evidence of our senses that it is, then the concept of Synesthesia is an important consideration in any and every color decision we make, with potentially profound consequences emotionally, physically, aesthetically, and even spiritually!

Let’s look at some examples.

Considering Temperature: Painter, designer, teacher, writer and theorist Johannes Itten wrote about experiments that supported the thesis that we can feel a 5-7 degree difference in temperature in rooms painted blue-green, and red-orange.  When we consider the associations with blue-green (water, coolness), and red-orange (fire, heat) this would seem to make sense!  What experiences have YOU had temperature-wise, being surrounded by architectural color?  Does blue/green always feel cooler, and red/orange warmer to you?  Does it depend on the value, saturation, intensity, tone and context of the color?  And what about the color of that color- its hue?

What about Volume? We can see through experience, that lighter, cooler  colors seem to recede, thus making a room feel larger,  (giving it more “room”) while warmer, more saturated, and darker colors seem to advance, and take up more space in a room, thus making it appear smaller.  Have YOU had this experience? As a color designer, have you used these principles?

Can color affect our perception of weight and size? Darker, warmer and more saturated colors tend to seem heavier, and the areas they cover seem to be larger, while paler, cooler and more pastel colors seem lighter, and the areas they cover, smaller.  Thus a darker, warmer, and more saturated color will seem to bring a ceiling “down”, and the opposite for  a paler, cooler and more pastel color.  Can YOU see this effect in these two ceiling areas?  The effect may be complicated by the fact that the area surrounding both is in the hue range of cream to white!


The above are just a few of the infinite examples of “sensory crosstalk”, or Synesthesia, which I suspect pervades our daily lives far more than we are conscious of.

In a subsequent post, I will explore Synesthesia in terms of our five senses: the visual effect of color as regards to our sense of hearing, touch, taste and smell.  In other words, What scent does the color lime green conjure up?  What flavor would rosebud pink be? Does cobalt blue “feel” rough or smooth?  These are illuminating exercises to try for ourselves, and I am going to discuss just how to do that.

As an example, during her interview,  I queried special guest Rebecca E. Parsons (co-host and creator of Artistically Speaking Talk Show) about her chosen Word for 2011: SOAR.

“What color would you assign to this word, and the meaning it has for you at this time?” I asked her.

“Aqua” she replied, without missing a beat.  This only makes sense.  Rebecca lives in Florida, on island, near the water, and walks on the beach nearly every early morning.  The Aqua color of sea-blue water  which reflects the sky, with its associations of both airiness / expansion, and sublimity / depth would make it the perfect expression of Rebecca’s intention to  dive into her dreams, and Soar with them, making her cre8tive life vision a reality.

You can hear my Muze with Rebecca, as well as her complete extraordinary and  inspirational  interview with co-host Lyna Farkas on Artistically Speaking Talk Show on your computer anytime you wish.  I hope you will tune in to it, as well to Artissima, Blog of ArtiFactory Studio, for Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part Two, and join our Color Full exploration.

What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”

Have YOU had an experience with Synesthesia lately?

If you feel so inspired, share YOUR sense and sensibility with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all experiencing this thing called Life, together.