Friday, May 16, 2008

The Smell of Paint Fumes

by Christie Kelley

So based on the title I assume you all know what that means. Yes? No? I'm typing this blog from my freshly painted office. Of course my desk is still in the middle of the room along with my file cabinets. My bookcase is still sitting in the hallway outside of the office. But I have paint...color.

It's a beautiful color called Cozy Melon by Glidden. I tried my best but I couldn't get the color to come up in a picture on the blog. And no, it's not green like this guy's melons.
I would describe as a dark peach but not too in your face. With the creamy, off-white trim, it's gorgous.

I promise, next month I'll post a picture. It's been a busy month. But back to the topic (I really do have one), how does color impact your creativity? When we first moved into this house every wall was white. And it drove me crazy. I'm a color person and I need to have warm colors surrounding me. For years I had a nice dark red in my office but when I saw the guest room painted in this melon color I just felt something stir my inner muse.

Now that I'm in my office, I can honestly say that I can't wait to get my room in order and start writing. I have five wonderful windows so I can look out the front of my house and watch the birds. It's funny how important color and the outdoors is for me. When I get stuck I go for a walk by the river. Luckily for me that's a short walk. There I can look out at the tidal water and watch the geese, ducks, herons and occasionally a bald eagle.

So I'm curious for both the readers and writers how much sensory details you need when reading and writing? Is color important to you? Is nature? For me, there's nothing better than reading in the hamock out back (when the mosquitos aren't out).

And how important is it as a reader to get those details in a book?

61 comments:

jo robertson said...

I almost didn't post first because it's nearly hundred degree weather here in California and I'm sure the GR is far more comfortable where he is.

Oh, well, I'll take him to my chapter meeting tomorrow and then go swimming! Pack his bathing trunks.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HEY! I thought we were going for ICE CREAM after the chapter meeting? You PWOMISED, Jo-Mama!

AC pouting over both the GR AND the ice cream

Pat Cochran said...

Darn, almost made it!

Congratulations, Jo!, although I'm
not quite sure what this is about!
I just happened into my list of
blogs and remembered about getting
onto the listing first. So here I
am!

Pat Cochran

jo robertson said...

Color is very important to me. My walls are primarily dark, bright colors -- a brick color with a yellow and white trim. Deep red with tan trim. I like paintings that pull out the same vibrant colors.

But when I write, I'm far less visual than auditory. I like music or white noise in the background. I think it's because I'm not an auditory person at all, and the sounds open up a creative side of my brain.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Christie,
I'm sorry to tell you this but every all in my house is painted antique white. But that's so DH can go wild putting up bright paintings, pictures, you name it...

I actually LOVE details in books. Not to excess you understand, but the skillful weaving in of the furniture, the clothes, or lack thereof...

OOPS! Daydreaming again!

AC

jo robertson said...

Shhhh, AC. Don't let the GR hear. I'm going to get a sitter for him while we play tomorrow.

Don't call CPS!

jo robertson said...

Pat, the first commenter of the day gets to take the (imaginary) Golden Rooster home for the day. He's racked up quite a few frequent flyer miles traveling around the world.

Helen said...

Congrats Jo not sure whether he is going to like the babysitter I am sure he would prefer to be with you and Aunty Cindy. LOL

Great post Christie so glad you are finally in your office and all is coming together I look forward to a new book from you.
I have always known that colour can help with moods and there are warm colours and cool colours. When we bought our house back in 1979 the walls were beige and the woodwork dark brown and this was great then. We have painted a few times and now we are light grey walls and dark grey woodwork with black wall units and a maroon lounge I still enjoy these colours and as we don't enjoy painting they will probably stay that way for a while.
As for getting outside I love it nothing nicer than sitting under a tree and reading a good book or by a nice river not that I get to do that we live too far away from anything like that so the back patio does or the recliner.

Have Fun
Helen

peggy said...

as a reader it's very important to me.i like to picture the scene
in my mind.i like to know what the
characters are wearing where there at.if there at a ball or picnic.
to me thats a big part of the
story.

Jane said...

If I ever get to own a house, I would definitely paint my walls a pastel color. Detail is very important. I love detailed descriptions, but not too much where it becomes tedious and you end up losing interest in the story. I like having music or the tv on when I'm reading or writing.

flchen1 said...

Congrats, Jo! I'm sure the GR can kick back in the pool tomorrow--maybe with some fruity drinks with little umbrellas? ;) It sure has been toasty out here!

And Christie, I'm learning not to be scared of putting some color on the walls--I'm much more comfortable with plain white or off-white, but we repainted a bunch of stuff in the last year or so, and I have to say that color really changes the feel in a good way.

I do enjoy reading the details in books, because it all helps to paint the complete picture--the setting, the mood, the whole feel of the scene. On the other hand, I tend to prefer not too many things going on at once for me personally--and that includes visually. I guess I don't have enough band-width to handle TOO much detail... ;)

p226 said...

I work best in the dark. Pitch black except for my computer screen. My office at work? Lights off. Shades pulled. Door closed. I'm surrounded by das blinkenlitez. That's all the light I get when I'm working. What's thrown off my monitor, and the blinky lights of routers, switches, and spinning hard drives.

We have a rule at work.

"Thou shall not stare at the blinky lights in the data center for more than one consecutive eight hour shift."

Light is a distraction for me. It takes focus away from where it should be. Which is on my screen.

Tawny said...

Ohhhhhhhhh color! I love color! love love love it. And not just for coding and organizing :-) As soon as we bought our own house, I painted every single room a color (all different colors, of course) I thrive on color and the warmth of it. Which makes it interesting that I don't tend to use it alot in details in my books... hmmm...

now I've got to figure this out - thanks :-D

Christine Wells said...

Hi Christie, interesting post! Looking forward to seeing that photo of your new study. You lucky thing!

I've never considered what part colour plays in my creativity. I think perhaps it's because I don't like any kind of visual distraction while I'm writing. Even when I worked in an office tower with a million dollar view, I rarely saw it. My mind ticks away and I'm so focused on the world in my head, I could be almost anywhere. I can work with noise in the background--the TV or music but I would prefer silence if I had a choice.

Christine Wells said...

Jo, congrats! THat GR is migrating to the warm climate once again. Ha, I'm imagining these tiny little rooster swimming trunks. So cute.

Maureen said...

I do like it when the author brings the little details into the story. They really make the story come alive.

Minna said...

Hey Christie, hope you haven't been seeing any bats. You know, because of the fumes. I heard my cousin saw them once, all because of the fumes he had breahted in while he was renovating his house.

Aikakone - Keltainen (Yellow (May))
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckP18aRSqJ8&feature=related

Carol said...

Congrats Jo,
wow! swimming... ummm can chooks swim....I suppose the Mighty GR can do Anything! I know he enjoys a beer!

I love description in novels...
the sights,colours ,flowers,
fragrance, blood and guts even!
I want to picture it all, I want a good discription of the heroine/hero too...then I usually think of an actor/actress/singer/ to fill the bill and I'm away...

Cheers Carol

Christie Kelley said...

Holy Cow, Jo. You guys went straight to summer. Meanwhile Jeanne and I could use an ark this spring. Last weekend we had over 6 inches of rain. So I doubt the GR wants to come here either. Congrats on grabbing him.

Christie Kelley said...

Sorry you missed you ice cream, AC.

Christie Kelley said...

Pat, looks like Jo beat you by about fifteen minutes. I never make it. Being on the east coast and not a late night person my only hope is someone will forget to post their blog until morning. Doesn't happen very often.

Christie Kelley said...

Jo, I think it's really interesting that you like to write with music. That's another topic. I really prefer not to have music on. If I have any music, it must be classic.

Christie Kelley said...

Okay, I know I haven't responded to everyone yet. But it's springtime and that means baseball in my house. My 11 yr old has a game at 9, which means get there by 8:30 so I'm off to get him moving. I'll be back around noon.

Have fun without me!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats on the GR, I agree that he is going to want to go with you guys instead of a babysitter.
As with Christie and others I am on the east coast so we have had no spring, it is wet and cold. I can't believe I am turning on my furnace in the middle of May.
I like details in a story to a point but it can be a fine line between interesting and redundant.
Tawny with no more words than you have to work with I believe it would be hard for you to have too much descriptions, personally I think your books are perfect as they are.

Cheri2628 said...

I do like for authors to describe the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene. It helps me get into the scene in my mind. Of course, I don't want the description to go on for too long and neglect the action of the scene.

When I read stories, I can read anytime and any place. It doesn't matter if I am in the doctor's office, on a plane, at my dining room table, in my favorite chair, or on the toilet! ;) But my very favorite place to read is at the beach with the wind blowing through my hair and the sounds of the waves and the sea gulls. Oh, gee, I wish I were there now!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Christie, you would've loved shopping with me yesterday. I was standing in the Sherwin Williams paint store picking out colors for my soon-to-be-painted new guest room. Why? Because son moved out and I now have a chance to repaint the room from brick red, to a nice neutral Taupe color with cream trim. YAHOO!!

I've been a painting mood, too this past year or so. Started in December with my dining room (a light yellow green...trust me it works with the art and the dark wood furniture) and the foyer (a medium gold that brings out the gold flecks in the tile floor). Then came my office, (a nice sea-foam blue). I've got all the trim painted a cream color, and in my office there are plantation shutters to match the trim. Just ordered the same shutters for the guest room.

And I do enjoy the colors, they feel less sterile than the pure white that I'm sure has been in this house for 30 years!! The office is so peaceful and organized that I find myself getting more done.

Suzanne Welsh said...

And Jo, have fun at the meeting and with the GR. I'm sure you can cope with him and AC at the ice cream parlor!

And Christie, I meant to say, that I do like color, touch and sounds in my books, even some smell...although I have to confess it drives me crazy when an author has the hero identify the exact type of flower scent the heroine is wearing...I doubt those heroes who are not horticulturalists would actually know the name of the flower, much less the scent.

Caren Crane said...

Jo, no fair hogging the GR!! At least he'll have fun at the chapter meeting. They don't see many like him, I'm sure. *g*

Christie, congrats on the freshly-painted office! I'm sure the color is lovely. As to sensory details, I usually have to add them in when I'm revising. I don't pay much attention to them when reading, either, though I like to paint a visual scene. But colors aren't too important to me in my reading and I'm sure I don't include enough in my writing.

I need a list of those things to make sure I mention them! I'm much more likely to include a smell. I'm definitely a smell noticer. *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, congratulations on the bird! Sounds like he's got a drenching in his future!

Christie, love the sound of your new office. And I can picture the melon color you're talking about. That description was just right! Gee, have you thought about becoming a writer? Snork!

I use color a lot in my stories - it's a quick and easy way of giving a reader a visual clue. So usually I'll say what color the heroine's dress is or the hero's coat. I find it grounds the stories in reality - color is something most people are aware of, even if only subliminally.

Joan said...

I love color!

I'm very tactile though in my appreciation of color. I have to feel as well as look at it. Disneyworld used to have a wall filled with paint jars in their animation attraction. My fingers always twitched wanting to touch.

Last year I had every room in my house painted. I LOVED the different names....my living room is "Baked Scone" (med light taupe with white trim). My bedroom also "Melon" but the honeydew colored melon. The second bedroom "Sparkle" kid of pinky lavender. For my office I chose medium gold...totally off from the others.

But the best is my hallway. It is painted in "Innocence". I loved saying to the guy doing the painting (who I developed a MAJOR crush on) "Yes, travel the hall of Innocence"

:-)

MarthaE said...

Hello-
I like the description of your office! AND I guess that means I like descriptions in what I am reading! I think it helps set the mood/scene. I read and listen to Audibles in all spare time - just have to stop to work, shower and visit with my Hubby. I stumbled on this blog through Stacey Kayne site. But I see some interesting comments and, if its okay, I'll look in again. Thanks. Martha

Christie Kelley said...

Helen, I agree that there is nothing better than sitting outside on a beautiful day and reading. Sometimes I'll take my laptop outside and write too.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Martha! Welcome! Isn't Stacey just the coolest? We'd love to see you again - we're a fairly friendly bunch, especially when the margaritas are flowing in the lair!

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Jane,

It's funny but I've never been able to read well with music on. It's like my brain tries to focus too much on the music instead of the written word. Thanks for posting!

Christie Kelley said...

flchen, it's amazing what a difference color can make in a room. It can give it a totally different feel. My dh walked into my office today (it used to be his office) and said how much he loves it now. He hated it when it was his office. I blame it on the boring white paint.

Christie Kelley said...

p226, that's amazing to work in the dark. I will admit that I have dimmers on my lights and turn them way down but I have to be able to see a little bit.

Christie Kelley said...

Tawny, I'm exactly the same way. I have to think about putting in those details when I write. It's seems odd that something so important to me comes harder in my writing.

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, I can work in noise when I have to. I just much prefer silence.

Anna Campbell said...

Christie, I love to have music on while I read or write. Especially write. There's something about the rhythm that helps me knock down those pages ;-) Can't bear to have any words to the music, though. I start to listen to those instead of what's in my head. If I were doing a soundtrack for my books, they would be almost completely classical and instrumental.

Christie Kelley said...

OMG, Minna! Bats! No, but I did just feel like something was watching me. Turns out my neighbor's cat was standing up against my window ledge looking in at me. Actually, I love painting because it really helps me think about a story...or maybe it's the fumes :)

Christie Kelley said...

Dianna, I haven't had to turn on the heater yet. I think it's my upstate NY blood. It has to get pretty cold for me to turn on the heater in May. But at least we're drying out a little. Unfortunately, we had water in the basement again. It never ends.

Christie Kelley said...

Cheri, reading at the beach is great. And now that my kids are older, I can do that again. What's also nice is my neighborhood has a spring-fed pond by the tidal river and they bring in fresh sand every year. So I can put my chair down in the sand and read there.

Christie Kelley said...

Suz, we did a nice greenish taupe color in our bedroom. It's a great shade not too greem but just a hint. Have fun painting. I'd love to help you but I still have a dinner room, living room and two hallways to paint.

Christie Kelley said...

Caren, I have to do the same thing and really think about the sensory details when writing. I add most of them when revising too.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Anna,

I'll take a picture just as soon as my furniture goes back into place. I probably won't have carpet for a while though. I want to wait until pretty much every thing else is done so we don't get it dirty. And me a writer? Really? I still think of myself as a story teller, not a writer.

Anna Campbell said...

Christie, I read a really interesting book a couple of weeks ago - Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer. Her theory is that repetitive physical tasks like painting (or weeding or knitting or anything like that) work as self-hypnosis and quiet the conscious mind so the subconscious can get to work without interference. So I think you're right about painting helping. I know ironing and weeding always help to get me into a good frame of mind to write. Even a good long walk. So perhaps you should come and paint my place once yours is all spick and span! ;-)

Hugs to everyone suffering with the weather. After boasting about how lovely it was here over the last few weeks, it's really cold and windy on the Sunshine Coast this morning.

Christie Kelley said...

Joan, your paint colors sound wonderful. I love Innocence. That's great.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Marthae, welcome to the lair. We're tons of fun. I'm so glad you found us. Please come back and play. We love Stacey too. She was my contest buddy a few years ago. We constantly vied for 1st place in the historical category of different contests. She's a really sweetie.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, I can't stand having any words in my music either when I writing. It's completely distracting to me.

Christie Kelley said...

Hmm, Anna. A trip to Australia to paint your house. That sounds like a plan.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Christie, normally I am like that but my boyfriend is here and my son is as well and I was outnumbered. When my son came in the living room draped in a quilt I finally gave in and turned on the heat.
How did the game go???????

Minna said...

Hope his game went as well as Finland's ice hockey game against Sweden in Canada today. We won! Woohoo!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Drip, drip, drip. Yep, Chrisie and I are getting the rain. How's YOUR ark coming along, Christie? Mine's slow going. The rain, you know. Ha! My son't ballgames keep getting rained out. The practices (Sat) are fine - beautiful today here near DC - but the games on Sunday? Rainouts. (Forcast for tomorrow? Thunderstorms.)

I love detail in books, and I love color. I'll paint anything that will hold still long enough for me to paint it. I lurve color. Then again, I'm a visual.

Don't know if you know it Christie, but I taught a class at national on just this subject - how to create your Write Environment. Used a bunch of Bandita offices as examples. :>

I love having music on when I write too. But reading? I can read anywhere, at anytime, with little to no light, with lots of noise or no noise...I'm in the book, what the heck do I care if it's Grand Central Station?

P226, I think it would be cool to work in that environment in some ways. You'd be totally focused on the matter at hand. I guess that would be the point, right? :>

Joanie T, ROFLMAO. "Hall of Innocence." SNORK.

jo robertson said...

)226, you're a man after my own heart. I LOVE working in the dark, writing in the dark, resting in the dark -- well, you get the picture. Everyone around me throws open the curtains and shades to let the damn light in!

I must've been a mole in another previous incarnation.

I like the dark because it's soothing. Hmmm, Freud would have a heyday with us.

jo robertson said...

AC and I are back and here's a little update on the rooster.

Hot in the meeting.

Sweltering in the ice cream place.

Sizzling in the pool. 100 degrees on my shaded patio. Heat stroke is imminent.

Putting GR in a tub of ice water. His feathers will be wet, but his brain will cool off.

Right now he's rather delirious, but the fact that we couldn't find Wendy's for a chocolate frosty might account for that fact.

He's whining now, so whoever gets him tomorrow is welcome to the bird (which gives new meaning to flipping).

I'm just saying . . .

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks for asking about the game. His team actually won. It's been a tough season for these guys. There's a lot of younger kids. Because he's a May birthday he has to play down in the 9-10 league and there are a lot of young players on his team. I think this is only their second win. He didn't do as well today, only a walk and two strike outs. But that's probably because there haven't been any games or practices because of all the rain.

Christie Kelley said...

Jeanne, the ark is really slow but we do have the boat down at the marina. We might have to go live on it soon if this keeps up.

Our baseball games are usually on Saturdays and Wednesday or Thursdays with practices on Tuesday. They did have a game on Wednesday but that was his birthday so he didn't want to play. My little boy is 11 now. And my older one is ready to get his driving permit. Eeks!

Christie Kelley said...

Jo, no chocolate frosty for the GR?? That's it, someone else must grab him tonight and cool that bird off. He's welcome here but I never make it up past 11pm.

limecello said...

Colors, scenes, sensory aspects are important to me. I like being able to picture the place in my mind - but of course, books that go on for pages, and lose the characters in the description, that's no good. :) I am picky as usual, and prefer balance.

Cassondra said...

Oh, I LOVE color. Interesting though, my house is mostly white or sponged beige/gold over white. with white woodwork. But myhouse is 158 years old and we're still working on it. I love to think about what colors I'll actually put in it when I'm done with the construction.

I get my color fix from accessories--pillows, bedspreads, candles and candleholders--and the collages I do for my stories are always on a colored board--NEVER white. Interesting. I hadn't noticed that. I use the color of the poster board to indicate the overall mood of the book. Hmmmmm.

But I don't think I'll go dark with my paint in the house because I need light and LOTS of it. My mom comes over and (I have no curtains cuz we live in the middle of fields) and says, "don't you ever get tired of the sunlight streaming in?" and I say "NO! MORE MORE MORE!"

Christie, congrats on your new office. I'm excited for you. Can't wait to see the pics. Sorry I'm coming to the party late.

Alice Audrey said...

The mellons caught my eye. I just posted pictures of square watermellons on my blog.