A polished artist can paint harmony in times of chaos. Grey allows us to create a balanced energetic base that attracts positivity. This requires a clean spiritual surface, so that we can turn our cluttered lifestyles back into a blank canvas that’s fertile for bliss. Grey is not a color, but rather a shade. It’s symbolic of the great equalizer, bringing illumination to softer and less seen colors, as well as toning down colors that are too extreme. This adaptive quality can be very useful in multiple aspects of life. If we utilize the essence of grey, and strive to keep our spirit clean, it is evident that we should stack up on positivity while it is abundant. This way during seasons of negativity we can hibernate from mental deprivation. Seasons of positivity and negativity seem to be completely random in nature, and can be described as a flip of a coin. However, when we toss this coin of spiritual energy, we must love ourselves despite the outcome. Meaning no matter how tough times seem, an artist must always have his or her own back. We are prepared for much more than we realize and we have the ability to weather emotional storms with a little bit of self love. Nevertheless, an artist often learns the most about their masterpiece during these negative seasons. It’s the fire that forges their inner dignity, which is much more valuable than any gem or jewelry. Grey being the shade of shades is the compromise of black and white. This means that it is able to survive and make its presence known in any shaded situation. Coated with the mysterious nature of black, and the expansive nature of white, grey becomes a new plain that stabilizes the world of color, allowing peace and harmony to flow in any situation.
Don’t pacify your potential. Believe in the inner child, a manifestation of the imagination. Pink signifies our innocence, a culmination of the love, hope, and sensitivity that we all share. A certain desire for action, due to endless possibilities comes as the byproduct of this mixture between red and white. This creates calming effect that can take one back to simple times, when memories were fond of sweetness and joy. There are studies that confirm that pink can have a calming effect on the nerves and even create physical weakness. The Baker Miller Pink experiment is a perfect example of this, as researchers saw that within 5 months of using the color in prisons there was a significant reduction in violent and disruptive incidents, but with too much exposure, pink began to make inmates even more hostile. These reactions could stem from pinks association to the feminine, or its perception of over sensitivity. However, for us to truly reap the benefits of pink, we must have a free and flowing state of conscious. This is a color that must be chosen, because it has a proclivity to turn compassion into confusion in the unliberated mind. This brings up a valid theory that states, “too much of a good thing can equal a bad thing.” Seeing the compromise of mental stability with the overuse of pink, there seems to be a tendency for this color to really draw on the emotions. Many of us have an inner child that was hurt on multiple occasions, but it’s our job to remind ourselves that our inner children play in the present moment. They don’t feel sorry about the past, they continue with the desire to conquer the game of life. Note that we as individuals may be inspired by the past, taken back to moments of glory, exploration, and triumph. However, if we dwell on the past, it leaves no room to admire the current moment, limiting us from reaching our full potential. From here on out, we will no longer look at pink in the light of weakness, but from a place of current care and compassion. Pink is now a reminder of the endless opportunities we possess, if we choose to live freely in the present moment and acknowledge our inner child.
Orange creates a vivid contrast between life and death, extending itself into the world of sacrifice and power with red, and the realm of the eternal with yellow. Orange is a color of high visibility, without bringing the same eye strain associated with red or yellow. This is the main color of the harvest and autumn seasons, and is thought of in union with the summer. In addition, it can also give us a thirst for action, improve our decision making, enhance our confidence and improve our moods. Studies have shown that orange can awaken physical sensations such as an increased appetite, similar to red. It is proven to also heighten our mental activity, increase oxygen supply to the brain, and elevate our feelings of contentment. Orange’s ability to produce a feeling of contentment is not just a physical reaction, it also crosses us over into the world of the spiritual and eternal. Fire is the element we will use to connect with orange on a spiritual level, so that we can truly understand its benefits. Think of a flame, one cannot physically touch it, but rather feel its affects. Depending in how prepared we feel, we inch closer and closer to the fire to warm ourselves even more, but if we aren’t properly prepared we could be burned. This is why we associate orange with caution. A flame is one of our instinctual links with orange, giving us a warning of possible danger, but not in the same imminence as red. Inching closer to the internal light we attach to yellow, red mixes in and gives orange its visual shock. Nevertheless, are we truly ready to see within the depths of the spirit? Orange is the balance that allows us to control how much of our internal light we see in relation to our ability to harness that power. In other words, we can only see the internal light that we have the power to possess. It’s important to remind ourselves that we are on the correct path, as we are learning more about ourselves in perfect timing.
Take your light and transform it into a form that others can see. This is the essence of yellow. It’s the most visible color in the color spectrum, and acts as a derivative of light. With one of the highest reflective values on the spectral curve, yellow appears as the lightest hue in the color spectrum. Associated with feelings of optimism, cheerfulness, and fun, it has the ability to excite us and give our bodies a surge of energy. If we mix black in with yellow, we quickly notice that yellow has a complete change in nature when introduced to darkness. It no longer remains yellow but turns into a sickly green. This is proof that yellow is in the image of light, because it does not allow the presence of darkness. Nevertheless, we can often times feel agitated with too much exposure to yellow. Being a secondary form of light, it has the tendency to give off a fake vibe, as we expect a sort of shine or glow to radiate from it. Betrayal, cowardice, and madness are all characteristics that are negatively linked to yellow. Individuals claim that the color can also draw out feelings of anxiety, more than likely because its lack of shine and physical warmth flustering our mind-state. However, do not be discouraged, like any other color, we can adapt our mentality to embrace its benefits. This transforms its perceived negatives into sources of peace. It’s important to note, the negatives we associate with yellow all stem from our desire to make this color our source of light. We have no choice but to feel a sense of disappointment at times when we don’t get the same spark from this color, as we do with genuine light. Nevertheless, if yellow shined as bright as a star we wouldn’t actually be able to appreciate its visual beauty. Considering that we ourselves have a light that beams vividly inside our spirits, we shouldn’t be concerned about any external lack. Allow yellow to be a reminder of the light that radiates within us, expressing our power to burn as bright as the sun. Yellow is an affirmation of the internal glow we all posses, allowing us to make the world a brighter place.
Nurture the inner nature, so that our outer branches may continue to bloom with positivity. Green supports us in our journey of developing inner tranquility by relaxing us physically and mentally. Another color with a strong biological basis, being the primary color seen in the foods and herbs that maintain our health. Many pharmaceutical, nutritional, and health conscious companies use green as a way to promote their products as safe and healthy. This is because of the correlation green has with sales. A Harvard University Study from 2012 discovered that food items labeled in green created a sense of healthiness as well as a spike in sales, even if the products were not necessarily healthy. This is an indication that green can be used to promote peace, because of emotional positivity. However, like many colors, green has different meanings with changes in its triad. A dark green can be associated with ambition, business, and jealousy. A yellowish green may be indicative of sickness, fearfulness, and discord. The sea and olive greens are usually the colors associated with healing, peace, and protection. However, all of these greens have the ability to bring life to countless situations. Green makes us feel as though we have a sense of hope, and brings a certain vitality to our mind state. With green we overcome, and take action in the present moment to grow as individuals. When times are tough, allow yourself to grab hold of branches of your own accomplishments. These branches are connected to peaceful pastures that can help aid us in climbing the mountains and hurdles of life. We are like any plant, we must have an adequate amount of light in a world that would like to keep us shaded. We must nourish ourselves by finding a place of inner peace, to ensure that we live by the morals and standards set by our own spirits. Blossom into a tree full of lush leaves, by remembering if the spirit is nurtured, falls are temporary and springs are eternal. Life is a magnificent experience, and green is eye candy to help us relish its sweetness.
Balance the canvas and the crown. When we align ourselves with the bigger picture, we realize that the imagination is where we reign supreme. Wrapped in the arms of wealth and nobility, purple will act as our crown reminding us of our royal origin. The byproduct of red, a strong warm color, and blue, a strong cool color, purple ignites the visual, spiritual, and emotional innovation. Purple does this by retaining both the warm and cool properties of the color spectrum to bring a superior wisdom to light. We can optimize the blessings that come before us by understanding that this moment is rare. This moment is something that we cannot get back, and our ability to make the most of the now is what truly defines us. Let purple remind you of this ideal. Purple is known for its ability to uplift the spirit, calm the mind, and encourage the imaginative process. Nevertheless, it’s most noted for its associations with wealth and wisdom. Observe the amount of times that you see purple in your daily life. Unless you attend an HBCU or live in a rare environment, purple isn’t something that is necessarily seen too often in nature. Even in ancient times, purple dye was the most expensive dye to make, making it the color most commonly used for noble characters, and royalty. However, each one of us have this mental wisdom and natural wealth if we start to visualize the color and incorporate it with our visual thoughts. Purple is also denoted to have negative associations of arrogance, and exoticness. Although, if we go further than our egos, we can start to use a purple mindset to create a better mentality for peace. This peace is not only for us as the artists, but for others who will reap the benefits of our colors. This new found balance helps us to navigate through the anxieties and sad moments, because we understand our worth and are prepared to show the world exactly how valuable we are. It is important when on this purple journey to remain true to ourselves. We all have a set spirit, but we have the choice to exacerbate and mellow certain aspects of it. However, it can come with a price. When we over exert parts of our personality for too long it can change the core of an individual. Anxiety can even spawn as the spirits defense mechanism , so that we don’t kill our individuality. Therefore, we use purples wisdom to remind us of the balance required in finding our true calling and source of innovation. One of the major downfalls of royalty is desiring a kingdom that does not fit within the mission and purpose that have been destined to the rulers. Strive to keep a sense of inner balance, because we reign supreme in our own kingdom. We each have a unique gift within us all, and just like the color purple, we are a rarity in the natural world.
We overflow in a pool of power. Enriched by a fountain of our own compassion, red moves us with the element of intensity. It’s no secret that red draws attention and evokes strong emotions, but why does it do this? Cultural backgrounds play a big role when analyzing our interpretations of each color, but when a color has a biological basis. there is always a common link to the way we each perceive that color. Red is something that represents life if it remains inside of our bodies. However if red escapes us could mean the loss of power, or even death. This is one of the reasons it almost seems as though it’s a shock when we see red, because we question if that source contains some of the power that belongs to us. This is possibly the rationale behind red roses and red hearts symbolizing love. It gives the impression of self sacrifice, and represents the gift of ones inner being to someone whom we care for. That’s the part of our compassionate nature, that overflows when we are in tune with our core. If you’re hungry for more, red also has the ability to stimulate our appetites and enhance the brains attention to detail. Mcdonalds, Chick Fil A, Panda Express, and Chipotle are just some of the few companies on a vast list that have excelled at using the intense, passionate, and emotional changing abilities of red in their logos. A 2012 poker study from the Netherlands shows that the poker players that were given red chips bet more money and were more competitive, while players using white or blue chips tended to fold more. This implicates that red is far more than just a visual sensation, this color actually has the ability to encourage us to take action. Nevertheless, we do not perceive red as all rosy. There is an aspect to this color that awakens our inner animal. Feelings of rage, threat, and even an increase in blood pressure, can all be affects that can act in a negative light from the consumption of red. Therefore, let’s talk about a balance that will make red our companion of peace. Enter the maze of the mind, here we will picture red, and experience all of the feelings and emotions it brings upon us. Any negative feelings such as the rage, anger, or vengeance, allow them to be absorbed by the warmth of your own compassion. In your mind create a warm and loving environment that does not allow pessimism or negativity. Your compassionate nature breaths life into any situation and creates the excitement, love, and passion we feel from red, giving us the energy to be the fire that pushes us to brighten the future.
Finding harmony and tranquility has never been easier than using blue as a tool for personalization. Associated with feelings of stability, calmness, and serenity, blue gives us vitality to think outside of the box and stimulate production. It’s for this reason that blue is the most used color in offices. Blue is the color with the shortest wavelength, and for this reason, blue is the most preferred color by men. It’s seen as sympathetic, conservative, and traditional, and many companies use blue in their logos because of this. AT&T, Facebook, Walmart, and even Fox are just a few of the countless businesses that have cracked the code, and keep it chill with blue. Naturally, blue can be seen in the sky and in the waters , two things we as human beings always gravitate towards. Nevertheless, there are so many different elements to blue, especially when considering changes in brightness and saturation. These two components of the triad can change blue from an inspiring color, to one of sadness. This is the part of blue that is highly personal, because our unique triad expresses itself differently in each individual. A bright baby blue sky is often associated with optimism, spirituality, and excitement. However, if the brightness is decreased and the saturation increased, blue can take on the effect of strength or an emotional storm. One of the perceived detriments of this color is that it is often times associated with the emotions of sadness and depression. We likely feel this way about blue because it is not something that is naturally occurring in our foods, and is commonly linked to poisonous and spoiled foods. We have naturally adapted to avoid these blue foods for risk of death, so it’s only natural that subconsciously we have linked blue with our poisonous emotional states. Our emotions, just like food can be digested and released, so we must ask ourselves if our mindset is one of faith, or one of doubt, because we have the power to bless or curse the present moment with a single thought. In order to counteract the emotional drain we might get from blue, we must look at it in a new light. We must learn how to swim and navigate through the maze of the mind, so we can begin to float on the peaceful waves of this color. Given this knowledge, if we don’t try to change our mental state from negative to positive, we will surely drown trying to fight the blessing of blue.
Structure, effort , and intensity will be used to describe the tri-stimulus color variables, or as I call it “the triad”. These variables are brightness, hue, and saturation, each bringing a unique and valuable element to both the visible and invisible world of color. To understand the variables more effectively, we first need to understand a reflective curve.
A reflective curve is a graph the describes the combination of brightness, saturation, as well hue in the visible color spectrum. On the Y axis the visible spectrum is represented from 0 to 100 with 0 being absolute black, and 100 absolute white. This is described as brightness. Now on the X axis we have our wavelengths. If a wavelength is located on the left side it is considered a short wavelength , and thus more blue. Comparatively, if we move to the right side of the spectrum, we have a long wavelength creating red. These represent our hues, all other colors exist between the blue and red wavelengths.
Saturation is described as the strength of each hue represented. Therefore, we are going to associate saturation with effort. How far are we willing to go to paint the future we envision? For far too long we have worried about how our colors will be perceived by the world, not realizing that every triad is unique. Ultimately, it’s how much we work with and expand the reach of our colors that reflects for others to see. Saturation does not work alone, brightness, which is associated with structure has a direct effect on saturation. Most things in life require structure, too little of it and there is no control, but too much limits the freedom and expressive nature that we have as artists. We need to have a perfect balance of structure/brightness to ensure that the picture we paint is not without color. If too much brightness occurs, it creates white, and too little creates black, this can also be seen on our reflective curve. This is great for structure, but if we want to add our personal expression we need to balance our brightness levels to reveal the true colors of our image. Now that we have managed our effort, and have created a personal structure, we need to find our intensity. To do this we must figure out what colors truly define us? This is represented as hue, it will define our intensity in all aspects of life. Further detail about the emotion associated with each color painted on our canvas can be found in the companion book, “The Blank Canvas: A Dose of Compassion for Human Kindness”.
Never the less, the triad of color variables effects us in multitude of ways. Let’s take the life of birds for example, a group of animals who’s survival depends on color. Signaling strategies, identity, and even reproduction ability are all affected by color. This can be seen through the triad, as male birds are more attracted to females with a similar wavelength, with variance in the brightness and saturation. The same holds true in regards to female birds selection of males, as they prefer a larger wavelength in their males, with variance of selection in brightness and saturation. However, each bird has a unique way of expressing their triad , and the same applies when talking about the human spirit. The key lies in loving our unique colors, and putting the effort and structure in place to find our peace.
Rise and Shine! Previously we learned about black, and the human perception of the absence of color. This time we will learn about white, the combination of all colors. White reflects the full force of the color spectrum in our eyes. It can also create a barrier, but in a much different way than black. Black acts as a relaxant , while white has a straining effect. Its uncompromising complexion brings a pure, innocent, and hygienic nature to any picture. This is why the blank canvas is white, creating limitless possibilities and opportunities. Often used as a symbol of peace and emptiness, white has the tendency to be labeled a “boring” color. In spite of the fact that white is not a color, this shade is anything but boring, it’s a conceptual rainbow. With all the colors mixed into one shade, each color added on top of white is a new journey unlocked by the artist. Never the less, there is a certain “touch me not” stigma that glooms over white. A simple solution to the problem is to tell ourselves that we are worthy of the light. Many artists are afraid of the white canvas, because they fear they will destroy its beauty, or expose their flaws. Like an egg, if an individual isn’t careful, the inner contents of their character could spill out. This is exactly what we want, to reveal the colorful contents within our shells, because whatever decision an artist makes can always be turned into a masterpiece. If we can break through our shells of limiting beliefs, lack of trust, and stagnation, we will be nourished with food of the soul, awakening the world of color through white. When we accept our destiny of color and bring our stories to the light, uncertainty and insecurity start to fade away. Dont be afraid of white, because it is one of the things most needed when we as artists display our stories for the world to marvel. Embrace your path, accept your flaws, and watch as your masterpiece begins to take its form.