Pictogram II: Let There Be Light

Pictogram II:  Let There Be Light

Leaving the familiar and entering the journey can take many forms.

Sometimes the journey offers us a miracle.

Leaving home in the cold dark, I entered the airport as the light was beginning to show itself.

Upon entering the temple of SFO, a great  miracle happened.

A bright light appeared, and began to rise, getting  bigger and brighter.

Burning its way through the darkness, there came the sun,

casting a brilliant reflection of its own light on the plane  opposite.

It  continued to rise like a prayer,

or voices raised in hymn of praise,

 For the miracle of Life, Hope, Joy, Renewal, Moving Forward…or just,  Moving!

GO!

Wishing You and Yours Peace and Blessings this Holy Day Season.

May You move forward into the uncharted adventure of your greatest Dreams, Hopes, Joys, and Loves.

Cheers!

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Colors that Advance and Recede



Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Colors that Advance and Recede

On March 20, 2011, during our Color Muze segment on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, I had the opportunity to chat with hosts  Rebecca and Lyna‘s delightful guest, mixed media artist Kelli Perkins about color temperature, colors that advance and recede, and the relationship between the two.  Playing off our previous discussions of “Synesthesia“, or, “The Unity of the Senses“, the idea that colors provoke associations our senses other than sight, during this Muze, we focused on which colors seem to advance, and which to recede.  This effect is particularly salient as regards to architectural color, as it can be used to make a space feel larger,

or smaller….

For example, if we paint the walls a color that seems to advance towards us, the space itself will feel smaller.  Doing the opposite can create the opposite effect.  This technique can be used in any visual context.  Using colors that advance and recede can create movement or stillness, dynamism or placidity, agitation or peacefulness, in paintings, textiles, clothing, or anything that uses color as an element.  Artists, take this to heart.  Kelli does use color!  Warm, saturated, and often secondary (purple, green, orange) color!  She uses it intuitively and instinctively, even giving herself luminescent purple hair in a self-portrait.  Check it out, you have to see this!

But what makes a color seem to advance or recede?   And, what qualities do those colors have?

Well, for one thing, how warm or cool a color is perceived to be plays a major role.   If we consider the color wheel, we can see a warm half of the wheel,  red through yellow-green, and a cool half, green through red-violet.  In terms of our perception, warm colors seem to advance, and cool, to recede.  When we talk about color “pop”, it refers to the advancing quality of that color, making it “pop” out at us, like the brilliant orange vase in this room.

Warm to hot colors will seem to advance, making the surfaces sheathed in them seem to be closer to you, thus making a room seem smaller, cozier, and, of course, warmer.  Often, we want this, and a cavernous space may need it to feel livable.

Cool to cold colors will seem to recede, making the surfaces they sheath feel farther away from us, thus visually adding space, or volume, to a room.  This sense of space can be calming and refreshing, especially on a hot day!

By the same token, dark, saturated colors advance and make a space feel smaller, and more intimate,

while pale, light colors, with less saturation add volume by receding. offering a sense of spaciousness, and potentially, rest and relief.

And for sure…strong, bold busy pattern advances!  This intimate boudoir becomes yet more magical, fantastical and fun with the addition of this totally HOT fabric wallpaper and curtain!

Smaller, more subdued pattern also recedes.  Here the cool blue elegance of the drapes is warmed up by the detail, which brings them to the same plane as the surrounding white walls.  The walls themselves recede in lightness of color, advance  in warmth of tone, and recede  in absence of pattern!  Wow.  This advancing and receding stuff can be complex.  Almost like a math problem. But, ooh, how fun to contemplate!

An interesting discovery can be made when considering our use of language, vis-a-vis not only color, but temperature, AND the idea of advancing and receding.  Let’s listen to what we say, what we think, and how we describe relationships, or even our own emotions  and personalities.  When someone, or even our self, is being or feeling cool, or cold, we often describe that behavior as distant.  Or, visa versa, if someone seems remote, or distant, we may jump to the conclusion that they are “cold” or “cool”,  emotionally. We may even feel cold or cool ourselves, when we feel emotionally distant from another person, experience,  or something we see, or do.

Conversely, when we feel intimate and close to others, to our experience, to ourselves, to Life,  we may feel warm, or even hot (!).  How often do we say, “I feel so cool and cozy!”?  Never, I would venture to guess.  Not if we aren’t characters in a J K Rowling fantasy!  When we feel warmth towards or from another person, they feel “close” to us, and we feel close to them. .  It would be hard to feel close to someone, to our authentic selves, or to our experience, and feel cool or cold. When we say, “Person X is so warm, I feel so close to him/her.”, we are equating emotional temperature with emotional proximity, and the idea of emotional color advancing and receding within ourselves and others.

There is much to contemplate here, and this could be the subject of a whole new post.  Have you ever felt the temperature effect, either emotionally, or physically, through color?  Have you used color deliberately, to expand or contract the perceived volume of a space? Have you noticed your own telling use of language to describe either?

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

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

Here’s wishing you both color and emotional mastery, magic and adventure.  It’s hot!

 

Color Muze News, Views and Hues: Transformative Color

Color Muze News, Views and Hues: Transformative Color

I continue to be inspired by serving as the Color Muze for Cre8tive Compass Magazine, and Artistically Speaking talk show.  Helmed by Rebecca E. Parsons, creative “arte-preneur” extraordinaire, and master decorative artist, Lyna Farkas, Artistically Speaking is a popular blog talk radio show focusing on the visual arts.  It features interviews with artists and creative entrepreneurs that educate, intrigue, inspire, and inform us about how to experience, grow and create our Art, Business and Life, mixing and matching along the way!

Each third Sunday of the month at approximately 7:15pm EST, I join the delightful Rebecca and Lyna, to offer tips, share real-life stories, and provide guidance in the powerful and awesome realm of Color.  I will also be providing follow-up Color Muze articles for Cre8tive Compass Magazine, like this one!  SO, sit back, listen up, read, and enjoy the show!

In January 2011 we muzed about the emotional, communicative and transformational power of color, discussing real-life examples.  I’d like to share one of them here with you.

A beloved client, with whom I have worked for over a decade, found her charming but rather dark kitchen very depressing.  Over the course of time, she had added some stained glass, and worked with me to paint out areas of the dark woodwork which predominated in the room.

During the course of our work together, she had a period of great personal challenge that demanded tremendous strength and fortitude.  Although we had enhanced her kitchen and other areas of her home over the years, she felt strongly that the dark tenor of this important area was still affecting her state of mind, and needed to be transformed.

Astonishingly, the remains of the paint we had used in her kitchen years before was found, and she was able to get more of it from her local vendor.  We used it to paint out more of the dark wood trim and doors. The warm golden ochre color had been chosen to brighten the room (which gets little natural sunlight), as well as to set off the visual treasures displayed there.  True to form, the hue created its contextual magic once again.


“The final outcome of the project was transformational. “ said my client.What had been a dark and brooding extended kitchen area became a light and inviting space that perfectly wove into the accent colors already in place. The end product created a welcoming environment and one that now highlights the unique wooden carvings within the rooms.”

This statement is truly a testament to the transformative power of color.  It can support your life, and help you through dark and demanding times.  The “right” color can offer lightness, joy, grace and positivity to any space, in any context.  In other words, color can help you live.

During our Muze on January 16, 2011, I offered a way to approach our color decisions by suggesting three aspects to take into consideration when we are making them.  These aspects are:

  • Purpose
  • Effect
  • Context

These three aspects or considerations as regards to choosing colors can be seen as a three part lens through which to view color in any context.  I suggest you try writing these out in the form of a chart, a list, a set of questions or even a story, and see if this activity proves helpful to you in making color decisions.

In regards to my client’s color story related above…what was the Purpose of the color she was choosing for her kitchen? Well, the Purpose was to elevate her mood, communicate and support a sense of optimism, energy, happiness, cheerfulness, positivity and possibility.  A hue in the yellow family was chosen, not a lemony yellow, but an earthy one, which worked with the colors, textures, architecture and general sensibility of the room and its Purpose, as well as the home as a whole.

The Effect of the chosen hue is warm, light and bright (in comparison to the dark wood it covers), yet earthy and comforting.  Associated with the sun, candlelight, flame, and firelight, as well as gold and gladness, an earthy hue of yellow is perfect in this room for the Purpose described above.  We associate yellow  with optimism, energy, happiness, cheerfulness, positivity and possibility. Think “sunny” disposition!

What was the Context for this color?  As regards to Place, the kitchen is considered by many to be the hearth, heart, and nucleus of the home.  When I visit this particular Client, who has become a friend over the years, we don’t sit in the living room to chat; we sit in the kitchen. Thus our color needed to be appetizing, inviting, invigorating, but also relaxing. The choice of a warm, earthy golden hue also helps compensate for the lack of natural light in the room. In terms of the existing Design and Architecture of the room, with its cream walls, dark wood ceiling beams, ochre backsplash tiles, brick red tiled floor, and lighter brick stove area, our color needed to play nice with all of these elements, integrating, and not competing with them.  Finally, the room holds a number of Objects and Accents treasured by my Client: decorative plates, ceramics, and stained glass, which hang on walls, windows and doors.  Our hue needed to set off and work with these as well.

Purpose, Effect, Context is a way to think about, consider, and approach color.  The “P.E.C.” approach can be applied to your decision-making process about color in any context: web or graphic design, interior design and architecture, textiles, craft, decorative painting, and even fine or conceptual art.  Give it a try…its fun! Thinking in terms of Purpose, Effect and Context may help you sort out your color challenges with greater ease,  and allow you to experience the pure joy and pleasure of color more fully.

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”

Here’s to a colorful journey!


Taking Flight in 2011

Taking Flight in 2011

What does taking flight mean to you?  New projects, new ideas, new possibilities? A whole new you? (Hmmm…) My colleague, Rebecca E. Parsons recently posted  about her word for 2011: soar, in Cre8tive Compass Magazine.  I found the term very apropos to a project completed in the last days of 2010, which involved painting birds (mostly) in flight, in a young boy’s room.

My client, the boy’s father, wanted the room to become something special and reflect his son’s interests.  Painting (mostly) flying (mostly) colorful birds on the walls and ceiling seemed a fitting way bring the old year down to a soft landing, and take flight into the new.  No time to hover…it was time to take-off!

The initial concept of depicting birds in flight across the ceiling with one Bald Eagle on a designated wall expanded, as I  took off with my avian research of the gorgeously plumed, brilliantly feathered, and stunningly patterned.  Falling under the spell of our endlessly fascinating feathered friends, the project became a labor of love, not lost.

The Parrot ascends,

The Toucan dives,

The Barn Swallow glides by,

The Spotted Owl swoops, but don’t worry, he’s friendly!

Two of the most richly hued herald the entrance to the adjoining bath, perched sentinel atop the door frame.

Color-full beauties contemplate each other in calm communion.

Little Green Bird ( Calyptomena viridis )

Yariguíes Brush-Finch (Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum)

Just the act of observing birds can teach us so much.  Their gracefulness, the purity of their movement, their strength and agility, the glory of their plumage, their color, the adornment of their astonishing patterns and textures, all worn without a hint of vanity (no Peacocks here!) is  humbling and at the same time uplifting to the human spirit, when we take time to see it. Birds’ beauty and innocence, doing only what nature intends them to do without apparent ego  interference, is a quiet marvel to behold.

Wing your way…

So, prepare to be inspired as you take flight into 2011. Take a lesson from our avian friends, our fellow creatures of the sky, and use this New Year to take off…into whatever you yearn to become.  Of course, there will be those times of hovering, flapping, even of dragging, but don’t let that stop you from lifting, gliding, and making your own ascension.  Don’t worry about a few dives. Like light and dark, up and down seem to be interlocked…two parts of a whole: Life.

Float, glide, dive and circle, but don’t forget to commune, contemplate and converse.

How do you intend to take flight in 2011?  If you feel so inspired, don’t hover and drag, share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember,  we are all flying though this thing called Life, together.


 

TJ’s…and Me

TJ’s…and Me

I am sure many colleagues, fellow artists, artisans, decorative painters, solopreneurs,  “creativepreneurs” (does that word exist yet in our lexicon?)  and many others, can relate to the feeling that I had not so long ago, after a spec visit to a potential new Client.  We love what we do, interacting with people, the excitement of beginning a new project, the creative collaboration with our Clients, the focus, commitment and connections required.  What we don’t love is that sometimes the continual reaching out into the unknown: people, projects, ideas, materials, challenges (the weather, for heaven’s sake!), can at times be momentarily exhausting, even overwhelming.

The feeling can overtake us at any given moment, after a meeting (hopefully not before, or during), unloading supplies, working through the numbers for a bid, or even working on a blog post (not me.. no, never!)

Suddenly, the professional interaction feels demanding, carrying supplies becomes lugging, the numbers seem either too high, or too low, and perfectionism and procrastination rear their challenging heads.

I felt that way recently, when I found myself trying, as we all do, to pull the various factors of a project together to make it work out well for the Client and myself, to say nothing of the associated painting contractor.  I left the meeting, and since Trader Joe’s was  right on my way home, I decided to stop in and do a little shopping, knowing that I always enjoyed the experience.

Why do I always enjoy the TJ’s experience, especially at my “home” store?

Well, for starters, there is the free coffee and samples, an offering  to the weary traveler (ah- customer) ready for a little TLC.  Whether it is a mother with young children clutching her cart, a couple on a budget preparing for a party, or, like me, a working gal needing a break, the TJ’s temple of artisanal eats is there to serve.

And serve me that day it did.  The instant I dismounted my vehicle, traversed the parking lot, and entered the grocery’s hallowed hall, I felt that blast of energy one gets when stepping  into the stream of animated humanity there for but one reason: to gather forth sustenance for themselves and their families, and to have fun doing it.

The sights, scents, and colors (yes, colors ARE part of sights, but so much more, as my colleagues in HUE will attest to…) of flowers, fruits, cheeses, chocolate, (I recommend the Trader Joe’s truffles, to all who are looking for a little something sweet to bring to a gathering), among seemingly millions of other things, all of which I knew I could love, greeted me upon entering.  I made a beeline to the samples station,  reanimated myself with a tiny cup of perky cafe, and snarfed down a thimbleful of something hot and delicious that was being featured, once again thinking, “What an awesome marketing strategy…this great free stuff makes one want to come here, without one even knowing it…one looks forward to the goodies one knows one is going to get!”

Not only that.  The Trader Joe’s “wait staff” is a part of the total energizing quality of the place, at least at the store we patronize.  Fresh and positive, they make you feel as though you are making their day just by being there.   They are just thrilled to share with you where the soymilk is, how many kinds of Parmesan there are, and whether a favorite item is ever going to show up in the store again, or has been discontinued.  After a few interactions with these folks, I felt the tension drain away, and a new lease on life take its place.  After all, how bad can it be, when one can treat oneself to a frozen vegetarian pizza, or stack of salmon patties so reasonably?

If it all is part of a marketing strategy, it is working. Stimulated by the coffee, and nourished by the tasty sample and friendly chat, I was ready to shop, and of course ended up buying more than I had originally intended, which was pretty much nothing.

There are so many business and life lessons embedded in this experience.  First of all, the resonance of a positive experience had already been established by many visits to TJ’s in the past, which drew me to go there expecting to have one again.  I had sense memories of sights, sounds and  tastes that had been enjoyed there.  I knew the whole philosophy of the place is good value in a fun atmosphere.  I knew I’d be fed, both literally and figuratively, in the process of food shopping.

TJ’s gives us a break from our normal routine of constant commerce by offering us up that little treat to keep us going: that sip of coffee, swallow of juice,  bite of something delicious, a smile or a  joke without, ostensibly, asking for anything back.  But what they do get back is something so much more: customer loyalty, continued patronage, and increased sales, just because people have so much fun being there, perhaps walking out feeling better then when they walked in.  Of course, the goods are delivered: healthy, artisan goods of  quality, delivered  at a reasonable price.  Everyone knows what they will get when they go there, and they keep coming back.

This is what we all want from our businesses,  from our lives…a continued commitment in quality relationships, goods and services, something we can afford, and gives us pleasure and satisfaction, something we can, in this precarious world, depend on.  Something that doesn’t disappoint, but keeps us coming back for more.  Maybe keeps us hungry for more.

TJ’s, thank you for being there!  I will continue to learn by your example, and enjoy your offerings.  Now…where’s that vegetarian pizza?

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.


Facebook…and You

Facebook…and You

A Group is Made of Individuals

Recently, I have been approached by no less than three esteemed colleagues, asking me to share with them how I use Facebook, and how “FB” could serve their business, organization, and publication, respectively.  This Interior Designer, Non-profit Director, and Publisher had essentially one goal in mind: swim through the potentially bewildering mass of input that is Facebook, understand its processes, and harness its power to grow their business, raise awareness of their organization,  and increase the readership of their publication.  In a nutshell…to get more people to pay more attention to what they are doing.  In essence, not to be alone howling their message into the wind.

Don't Howl Alone into the Wind

How do we do this?

Reach Out and Touch Someone...

Well…reach out through the digital divide, connect with your keyboard, and touch someone, or, a lot of people.

Say:  “Hello” – (aka: “Hello World!)

Say, "Hello World"

While not a “how-to” guide”, I offer some thoughts,  ideas, and guidelines to the new and the seasoned user of Facebook, in the hopes that they will “friend” the twin activities of giving and receiving, and thus enrich not only themselves and their endeavors, but all of us “FB” users.

OK…So, how do we do this?

Through sharing and caring. (Sound sappy?  It’s powerful.)  We can communicate, consider, and connect, each in our individual style.  It does take some effort.  There are even mathematical formulas expounded, as to how to distribute your energy across the Facebook terrain.  I will share mine (mind you the math part is flexible…adjust to your own needs, intent, and instinct).

Facebook is used to share, communicate, inspire, educate, market, network, promote, inform, connect, and all manner of other good stuff.    It may be used for other things too, but the latter is what I, and most of the folks I am connected to and observe,  use it for.

I present this simple formula for your consideration:

Make roughly 30% of your posts about YOU/Your Work, Product, Service, Cause, or Organization.

Make roughly 60% of your posts about OTHERS/Their Work, Product, Service, Cause, or Organization, or even, their jokes, videos, photos or links that you feel comfortable having on your page, and sharing with your FB friends.  Ways to do this include “sharing”, or re-posting friends’  posts on your page, “LIKING” their posts, and  “COMMENTING” on their posts in an appreciative and supportive manner.  You can also simply post about someone, or something on your page, recommending, extolling, supporting, or complimenting them, or, it, as long as this feels true to you.  I engage in these activities primarily within the context of my field of work: decorative painting, color, the visual arts in general, the arts in general, to keep my Facebook presentation cohesive. I call this activity “CELEBRATIONS”, and it is great to post them regularly.  Celebrating a person, their work, their cause, or their achievement is a gratifying way to show appreciation, reach out, and support your fellow FB friends, or even those you are not (yet) connected to on FB.  You can  promote their work, service, business, or just THEM to the world…the Facebook world, and the world in general (if your Page happens to be public, as mine is.)

Make roughly 10% of your posts about WHATEVER fun, unique, unusual, special, eccentric or eclectic  topics you wish to share…keeping in mind that these posts are indeed, sharing.  These posts may have a more personal flavor, without necessarily looking, at first glance,  like they are directly connected to your Work, Product, Service, Cause, or Organization, although at second glance, they might be.

I realize as I write this how personal Facebook really is, as regards to how folks approach it, how they use it, and what they want to get out of it.  It can be tempting to get really personal on Facebook.  I would just remind everyone that  anything placed  upon the seemingly infinite table of the Internet, can potentially be seen, read, consumed, and responded to by anyone alive on the planet.  So…please!  Be careful…be considerate, be conscientious….but don’t stop having FUN!

Don’t howl alone,  howl with and to others!  They may find your howling helpful, or at least, amusing….

Don't Howl Alone...Howl with Others!

For further FB info:

Here is an informative post on Regina Garay’s  (of GARAY ARTISANS)  far-reaching blog, “FAUXOLOGY” on how to use Facebook for your Business, written by her sister Suzanne.  This post helps to demystify the difference between FB pages and groups, so please read, and enjoy!

If you have the time, and the inclination, let us know what you think, and feel, about this post.  We are all in this thing called Life, together.

Cheerio!

Color Me Eclectic

Color Me Eclectic

On a recent sunny and magnificent day, I took a ride South, then West, first to see a Client, then to return to my studio in the western part of the City.

Little did I know what house color adventures awaited me during this relatively short excursion.  From  the middle class, to the well-to-do, to the downright funky,  the inhabitants of this variegated city never cease to amaze with their use of imaginative, and I must assume, highly personal  combinations and placement of color on their dwellings.

Here is a bit of my colorful, and oddly poetic romp, from the edge of nicely heeled Monterey Heights, to the Pacific reaches of the Sunset District’s outer Avenues.

Pale green and pinky red: not exactly Christmas

Across the street and down the road from my Client, who has resided in the same earthy gold stucco home for at least three decades, in a neighborhood of many more stucco. earth-toned  houses, I saw the above brightly hued structure, nearly vibrating in its complementary red and green intensity.  I noticed it also, because I expected to see it clad in it’s former strong yet earthy orange, (still quite noticeable in the neighborhood), next to the house pictured  below.  It has since been painted, but managed to avoid a Christmas glow, because of the paleness of the green, and pinky quality of the red.  Some might say that the placement of the paler color on the foundation’s garage door makes it feel ungrounded, but making such claims is not the purpose of this post.  You may draw your own conclusions.

Orange sherbert and Chocolate plum...vaguely gastronomic?

This house is the red and green home’s  direct neighbor on its left.  No slouch in the bright color department itself,  it no longer coordinates with its vibrant neighbor, and perhaps, fades into commonplace next to it.  However, it still stands out and reads as bold amidst the browns, ochres, golds and ivories that dominate the street.  Credit should be given where credit is due.

You could forget where you are....

Out of Monterey Heights, and away from the adjacent St. Francis Woods, one enters the world of the Outer Sunset Avenues,  punctuated by alphabetically named  streets which slope down to the blue Pacific.  Concentrated Asian populations, among others, reside in this area, their cultures reflected deliciously in colors and architectural details, as well as restaurant cuisine.  While gazing at the Church above,  framed by some of the few trees that grow out here, one could forget where one is for just a moment, and imagine being in other lands across the water.

Yellow ochre against jewel blue sky

Artists, musicians, and other creative types also live beach-side, and it is not completely unusual to see self-styled architectural additions, mural applications, faux finishes, textural surfaces, and decorative painting treatments like the one above, brightening up the often grey Avenue climes with strong color and whimsy.

One side of the street...

Driving West, I noticed that both sides of the street in a particular block had stretches of colorful houses directly facing each other.  Above, the shiny blue car adds a counterpoint to yellow,  green and red brick building fronts.

And the other side of the street...

Brightly colored cars would have been a distraction on this side of the street, and taken away from the yellow, green, ivory, mauve and blue house hues.  Happily, the homeowners complied with the concept of “variety within reason”, and maintained a balance of unity and complexity through their choice of dark gray automobile.  Thus, viewers and passers by, such as myself, were saved from the potentially negative effects of  overstimulation….

Backside View: weathered, poetic pastels...

Some might find the pale,weathered backsides of painted Avenue buildings understimulating, which could lead to restlessness and boredom in the viewer.  However, to me, these pastel-colored patinas,  slowly fading over time in the constantly shifting weather and light conditions of sun to fog, to rain, to sun again, contain a grave poetry . Perhaps they mirror the ultimately somber poetry of our lives: no matter how brightly we color the exterior, the facade will fade and crumple over time.  All is eventually claimed by nature. But what color we can create in the meantime, as we paint the portrait of our lives, reflected in our buildings, neighborhoods, cities and art!

If you have the time and the inclination, tell me what you think!  We are all in this thing called Life, together.