This has been a week of rainy days with cool, sullen color here in the mountains of Virginia, instead of the warm, sunny spring days that I mourn for! I turn on all of the lights, grind the beans to brew a pot of hot coffee, and build an end of the season fire in the fireplace.
My eyes look around and search for something that will inspire and motivate me to action.
I stopped by Crow’s Nest Farm this past Sunday– a warm, sunny afternoon–to buy flowers for the yard. The flowers that were bought are now waiting to be planted in the earth. The marigolds were selected mainly because the deer, which regularly visit my yard to eat all the greenery, for some reason do not seem to like these. Also, they were chosen because of their warm, vibrant color—the yellows, the oranges, and some orangey brick red.
The bright oranges and yellows provide visual stimulation that perks me up, motivates me to get some work done, and to create in the studio.
Then, there is always a need for some contrast with cooler colors, such as purple…
Oh, and perhaps the reds have their merits too!
Color is not only an inspiration for an artist but also plays an important role in our everyday lives. There has been a lot of research on the psychology of color and its effect on people. But for now, let’s just end by saying, when it is rainy and cold outside, the color of orange is like a fire—it can provide warmth, visually, to inspire us until the sun shines once again.
♦ I’d love to hear about yourcolorinspirations! [click on small gray words below, “Leave a Comment”]
Since my childhood included growing-up in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina, I must mention the tornadoes that tore through those states in the past week or so! Wow, how powerful they were…As a pre-schooler in Tennessee, a storm passed through our backyard and uprooted a massive oak tree. It was a puzzle for a four-year old to figure out what could cause something so huge to fall over. As a second grader, my family moved to northern Alabama. I remember viewing tornado damage in a nearby town and wondering how the houses and trees could be so mangled. These kinds of unexpected life changes produce instant confusion…
During the NC storm a couple of weeks ago, I watched the Weather Channel anxiously as a hook-shaped pattern formed on the radar around an area where all my family in NC lives. The actual tornado touched down just past them in a neighboring town. Last Wednesday night, I monitored our weather as we were under an unusual for the Virginia mountains tornado warning. Thankfully, the system turned north and the rotating clouds never formed a tornado that touched the ground.
In Alabama, where I also have family, the city where they live has had little electrical power since Wednesday evening. Gradually the power grid and other daily needs are being restored. A state that is used to having tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms, Alabama has experienced an intensity of tornadoes unusual even for them…These types of life events lead to questions like: How do people deal with and survive this kind of crisis? How do you move forward to restore normalcy? What gives support and sustains courage—provides encouragement?
My recent blogs–Lifeweavings: A Creative Journey, Spring’s Awakening, and Time–Linear or Circular?–have been about creativity in art and life. Coping after these storms is a real life example of a needed time for creative problem-solving—considering the facts, the changes, and all the possible answers and ways of addressing the sudden questions that everyone is faced with…How will we cook food and stay cool in the heat without power? Where will we get needed gas and supplies? How will the traffic flow safely without working stoplights? According to Froma Walsh in her book, Strengthening Family Resilience (2006), creative inspiration and collaborative problem solving help people live forward with positive outcomes. Imagination is powerful in transporting us beyond a crisis and allowing us to solve problems by drawing inspiration from past experiences, family stories, creative envisioning, and new, untried solutions. We can envision new ways of living with the changes to our homes and communities.
Of course, another key to recovery after a crisis that we so often see after a natural disaster is the social support –the immediate aid from other people in the form of food and water, shelter, medical care, money, and clean-up assistance to provide basics and a sense of security. The immediate needs become paramount and the larger global issues of the day are dimmed. As in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, until the basics of life are restored the higher-order needs of living become temporarily of little concern.
My hopes and prayers for all who were hit by the storms is that they will have the help and aid they need, as well as peace and hope for the future…
[Image via Wikipedia–By User:Factoryjoe (Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs.svg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]