Dance With Colors of Your Joy


Celebrate colors that make you happy!

When we are surrounded by the colors we love we feel energized, uplifted and joyful! And the beauty is that the colors that bring you joy are unique to you. They are a beautiful tapestry of your experiences, your skin and hair tones (and therefore what looks good on you), your environment, and are influenced by the color combinations you come in contact with.

Don’t let anyone else try to limit your colors of joy!
Turns out our sense of color is fragile because we are bombarded by the opinions of others – by advertisers, by trends, by the critical voices of teachers and others who feel their colors are the ‘right’ colors.
What happened to me...
I took an abstract art class a few weeks ago and was happily painting with my favorite colors when another student walked up behind me and told me: “You need to go on a color diet”. I was flabbergasted at her unsolicited criticism and speechless at first. Then I smiled and told her I paint with colors that bring me joy.
Looking over at her black and white paintings of various geometric shapes, it was obvious that shades of grey and whitewashed fences called to her and were the colors that brought her joy. Also based on conversations I overheard, her past experience in art school played a role – in school she was taught to limit her choice of colors, to only paint with colors created from the mix of primaries on her palette board.
What she missed out on is the fact that color-mixing lessons, as valuable as they are (and is why I incorporate them into all of my color classes), are just that – lessons. Color mixing teaches us the origin of colors, and trains our eye into seeing the undertones of complex colors (eg terracotta is orange-red with a bit of blue-yellow in it). But the lessons aren’t meant to become a cage. They aren’t meant to limit us or prevent us from experimenting or playing or finding our own voice.

Believe in your eye for color!
I paint with the colors of joy in my heart but even so, we are all creatures craving acceptance, validation and positive attention. Had I not already gained confidence in my colors, had I not sold the very painting she criticized, had I not received affirmation of my eye for color from friends and customers, her comment could have been poisonous to my growth as an artist. That never would have been her intent, but as anxious as we are to impart our knowledge, experience and opinions on others we forget that in doing so we can harm more than we help.
This is a lesson learned for everyone of course, but I’m taking it to heart as a teacher, that I tread lightly, gently and graciously along my student’s path. Dancing beside her, not in front of her. And never ever placing blockades in her path.
My hope for you dear friend is that you believe in your color choices and that you dance with YOUR colors of joy!