Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the same brown I am dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and tank dress. It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark forest green.
Even though the leaves came from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy. Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall? Clearly, every color can be found any season.
How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?
I let go.
One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I was drawn into a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy. I was 20. I was a Sears or JC Penney girl. It was a risky step. I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia. They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer. They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change. Not my usual choice. I gazed in the mirror and said to myself, “I hate this. This is not me.” I have strong opinions. I bought it, anyway. I was tired of buying the same styles and colors over and over. I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different. A relatively safe risk.
My dad loved it. I never thought of him as a stylish person, in his USAF uniform or week end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong since of composition. His was not the only compliment I received. This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self expression.
You can wear any color, dare I be so bold to say. It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful. You are part of nature. All colors are part of nature. Find yourself in the rainbow, it is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. It’s not that you can’t wear part of the rainbow at anytime, its that some parts have blended and rearranged so the derivative is no longer recognizable.
In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season. Find it by listening to your body. To which season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down. Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both? Getting to know your self through color is an exciting journey you are now ready to embark upon.
Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky? Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the spruce, and burgundy? All these seasons come and go as you do. You know what you like. What feels good.
Let’s begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky? It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. How to choose your palette? Ask, what do I like? Then break it down.
Let me start with brown. Deep dark, aged, fall leave brown. Browns emerge from all color. The brown I am seeking now emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment. Purple and yellow are buried in my new found brown. They create copper and rust. As the exploration continues, many colors will appear. And they will be your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy. They will tell a story. They will tell your story.
You can wear any color. It’s easy. Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair. If you choose color to you hair, are you more drawn to yellow or blue? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash.
Shall we collaborate? Just tell me what you feel. This is how you will tell me who you are. What do you like? How tall are you? How full are your hips? What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of designing your personal, art to wear, composition.