Friday, August 14, 2009

What Color is Your Creativity?

by Tawny

I've spent most of my life a creative soul looking for an outlet. I don't have the skill to be an artist, although I come from a family of them. So until I found writing, I turned to crafts. Ceramics (my aunt is a gifted potter), painting (my mother paints in oils and watercolor), loom knitting (my grandma despairs of ever teaching me to hold the tension right), beading (my grampa created gorgeous lapidary jewelry) and the list goes on. The only thing I've never attempted was drawing - and that was because it was always faster and easier to nudge my brother into drawing anything I wanted.

After my youngest daughter was born, I discovered scrapbooking and love it. Its probably the only crafty type thing I've stuck with, because its practical purpose outweighs any issues I might have with the imperfection of the final product. I'm making things my family will treasure forever. And that, I discovered, was the key. Since I couldn't create art, and my family and friends were definitely tired of the never ending flow of dust catchers, scrapbooking became my perfect outlet.

I also discovered faux painting. I love color on the walls. Love intricate patterns and textures in color even more. When we put our house up for sale in June, I had to paint most of the walls a neutral white (sob) and I'll tell you, that was one of the most uncreative months of my life. I can't write with white walls. I actually refused to paint the family room, since that was the room I wrote in, because I was on deadline and couldn't deal with the lack of color. Luckily, the house sold before my book was due, so I never did have to watch the gorgeous shades of sage greens turn neutral.

I really do believe- for me -that color is a creative inspiration. Its like a key that opens the Muse's cage. But my brother, a gifted artist who makes his living off his drawings, lives in pure black and white. So for him, obviously, color impedes his creativity.

I need greens, purples, reds. Strong, intense color. Pastels won't work and neither will blue.

How about you? I'm on the road today, but I'll check in as soon as I find an internet connection! In the meantime, please share your creative outlets and what color inspires you!!! I'll pick one random commenter to win their choice of any of my backlist books!!


Lynz Pickles said...


Tawny said...

YAY Lynz :-) Congrats.

Lynz Pickles said...

Oooh, colour! What a fun topic!

I love love love love colour. Almost any colour, really, but I have some general colour schemes I like more than others. Moroccan colours are some of my favourites - they're rich and lush and beautiful.

On the other hand, I also love seeing toned-down colours with flashes of colour. My bedroom, for example, is a pale green, and most of the furniture is black, but I recently bought the most gorgeous chair ever from the Bombay Company. It's sapphire blue (with a gold cushion) and the contrast is stunning. *sigh* I love my bedroom...

Helen said...

Congrats Lynz he really is enjoying himself at your place.


I too love colour reds and purples and blues they always brighten my day.
Although I don't seem to be that creative in my house I have light grey walls and dark grey woodwork and black furniture but I love it my lounge is maroon which sets thing off well.

Have Fun

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Lynz.

Hi Tawny,
I would like to have blue walls, but settled for beige. My bedsheets and pillow cases are dark purple and gray for the fall and winter. In the spring and summer I use the white and light blue sheets. I used to avoid buying anything in red, but now I love the vibrant color.

Pissenlit said...

Congrats Lynz! :)

My walls HAVE to be white...and preferably bare. I get antsy, stressed out and depending on the colour, kind of claustrophobic if I'm in a coloured room. And I feel most comfortable when wearing black(if I decide on all black, I'm either in a good mood or feeling really bad...ha!). I'll wear some colours(probably mixed and matched with black) but most likely not while I'm trying to be creative. To me, black and white feel like blank canvases. They leave me room to come up with anything and everything. Colour just sort of gets in the way. Like...I don't know...when you were a kid and you tried to count something and your friend next to you starts yelling out random numbers. :P

Blodeuedd said...

Inspired my colors, hm, well I do love this shade of green cos it makes me feel good. But dunno if it makes me creative

Anna Sugden said...

I need colour around me too! I can't stand bland. All white makes me nervous *g*.

I used to paint and decorate the walls, like you, but since we got home from the US I've taken a different approach - using the things we put on the walls to deliver the colour.

In our old house, as it was a Victorian house, I'd done a lot of work using original colours and styles of paper. I stencilled and used faux painting. It broke my heart too to have paint over it for the renters!

In our new house, we started with the walls painted Magnolia - a creamy pale pinky colour - for the renters. A bit warmer than white, but easier to repaint between tenants.

When we got home, I was so excited to finally be able to put our things up on the walls (after six years in rented accommodation with blank white walls - we didn't want to put anything up in case we lost our hefty deposit!), I couldn't wait to think about colours and got lovely hubby working straight away!

And I love it. All around me is colour. And vibrancy. And things with wonderful memories. I don't miss the paint any more because I'm too busy enjoying our things.

Same in our garden - surrounded by bright vibrant colours.

So, I guess I'm inspired by bold and bright. Red is my favourite colour.

Lynz Pickles said...

Anna said: All white makes me nervous.

Me too! My mom's best friend is the opposite, though, so that's what her condo was like. PURE. WHITE. I couldn't stand it! It's just so... white. (Wow, Lynz, great job on the description there. *snort*)

Beth said...

You are so talented! I love looking at the pages you've scrapbooked and I treasure the gifts you've made for me *g*

Reds definitely inspire me. The favorite part of my office is the deep burgundy ceiling!

As to creative outlets, I've tried a few *g* Counted cross-stitch is a biggie though I don't do as much anymore. I love beading and am getting into scrapbooking. And every once in awhile, I'll sit down at the piano just to see if I can still play ;-)

Beth said...

Lynz, your room does sound stunning! I also love flashes of color and it's such fun to mix and match. Especially when you find an accent piece that really 'pops' and yet somehow fits in perfectly :-)

Christie Kelley said...

Tawny, I am so much like you it's scary. I have no real creative outlet except writing. I haven't taken up scrapbooking but I have a feeling I might at some point.

But mostly, I must have color in my house. When we first bought this house (before the remodel), every room was white except the room I used for my writing space. That had an ugly tweed wallpaper on it. One of the first things I did was take the wallpaper down and paint the room a gorgeous red. I do think part of the reason I hate that house was all the white paint.

When we painted this house, I moved away from the red to a coral/melon color. I really love it. The color makes the room seem even brighter. We have a full assortment of colors in this house. The living room is a rusty color, the entryway and dining room are an eggplant color. And sage green in the kitchen/family room.

And as a real estate agent, I never tell my client to paint neutral if the colors work with their furnishings. Okay, deadline is looming so I'm back to the cave!

Karen Olson said...

My dining room is gold and red, my office is a pale periwinkle. But when I write, I don't see the color or lack thereof. I'm too into the zone to notice anything. A reason, too, why I don't listen to music while I write.

EilisFlynn said...

Color is hugely important! In this area, most houses are beige and white and gray (and since I'm in Seattle, that's a lot of gray -- gray skies, gray houses ...), so we've made it a point to use color. First a bright sky-blue for the house (or the blue we fantasized during the winter that the sky would be), and years later, a canteloupe melon. The house painter refused to paint it that color, claiming it wasn't a proper color for the outside! (We finally had to argue him into it. And it's a year later and we realize it really needed a third coat.) It's nice to see a splash of color on a dull day!

Claudia Dain said...

I need a view to nature. That's it. The room I'm writing in has to be tidy and clean, and it HAS to have a window so I can see the world outside.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Good Morning everyone! Tawny, fun post, and what a gorgeous scrapbook layout!

I love color. I want it everywhere. After 10 year in this house, I've now painted every single room, despite my color-phobic husband's issues. BTW, its not that he doesn't like color, in fact I think he sighed with relief when color went up; its that he doesn't want to make a "mistake" with painting. ::eye roll here:: I kept saying to him, "honey, it's $20 a gallon. If we hate it, I'll repaint!" Grins.

My office is a warm wheat color. It's a great backdrop for pops of color, as Beth said, for accessories and so on. My foyer is a rich terra cotta color. My family room, a dark gold w/ burgundy accent wall behind the fireplace. My bedroom is moss green and red. Yep. Color, color everywhere!

Anna, my fav color is red as well, followed hot on the heels by green.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Claudia, I'm that way too. When I moved into this house, my DH said, "Oh, we can totally rework the basement for your office!"

Um, no. Can't see outside. Feel hemmed in. It's dark. It's cold....okay, not enough lights made to make me feel like I can work in the basement. :>

I have a birds-eye view of my street and all the goings on in the 'hood. :>

Donna MacMeans said...

Claudia -

We're two of a kind. My preferred writing space is outside on the screened in porch - even inot late at night. This is a real problem in winter. Once it's too cold to be outside, I'll set up a temporary writing table in the living room in front of the big window - got to have a view.

Otherwise, I love color - bright colors (though not necessarily on the walls). I have paintings all over the place, a green dragon kite hanging from my ceiling in my office, mobiles, lots of colored glass - lots of color. It inspires me in the formation of ideas.

flchen1 said...

How fun, Tawny! I tend to shy away from strong colors while decorating, partly because I don't trust myself to use them in a way I'm going to enjoy :) Favorites are probably a chocolate brown and shades of red. My MiL's an artist, and we always giggle at how her favorite decorating color is white--white walls, carpet, appliances... Guess the contrast works for her!

Congrats on the GR, Lynz!

Christie Kelley said...

Claudia, I have to agree with you on a view of nature. My office faces the front yard so I put in a bird feeder, a butterfly bush and black-eyed susans. Yesterday I had a multitude of butterflies, a couple of goldfinches and two hummingbirds. And of course my neighbor's cat who likes to sit under the butterfly bush and try to catch them. So far he's not fast enough.

limecello said...

Blue! I love blue! Also - heh. My mind is all over the place. I'm running around NYC having so much fun, but no down time! Ack!!!

Congrats on the GR Lynz! :D

Julia Smith said...

My mom is a painter who works in vivid colors, and she says she gets bursts of visual colors in her mind the way I get snippets of scenes from my stories running through my head. Yet she's attracted to black and white in her clothing and in room decorating.

Personally, I love reds, pinks and golds, as well as melon/oranges or salmon/pinks. Those are my happy-place colors.

Minna said...

I do need some color around me. The apartment where I used to live was very white and I felt like living in a hospital. It doesn't matter too much for me what the colors are, as long as there isn't all that white =P.

Eve is gone now. The last days I kept her on a leash all the time. Even when I took her swimming. And finally I even threw stones in the lake instead of the ball, because she pretended not to see the ball, so she could spent more time in the water.

Nancy said...

Lynz, congrats on the rooster!

Tawny, I love color, too, but I live in pastels. I'm always hesitant to paint a wall a really strong color, much as I love jewel tones, because I fear I'll grow tired of it and then need to paint again, and that's such a pain.

Some friends painted their dining nook a deep, rich red, and it was gorgeous. Very lush and opulent but not flashy. They're artists--painters--and have wonderful color sense. I'd be afraid to try that, though.

Tawny said...

Moroccan colours are some of my favourites - they're rich and lush and beautiful.

Ohhh, just the image inspires me to creativity! I love the rich and lush, too, Lynz. Your chair sounds gorgeous, btw. I'm hunting for one myself, something over the top romantic. I keep thinking purple velvet with fringe in a settee type lounger LOL

Tawny said...

I too love colour reds and purples and blues they always brighten my day.

Helen, isn't it wonderful how colors will perk us up and create a mood? I don't think we always have to have creative colors in our house (hence my brother's black/white), do you? Sometimes restful shades like your grey and maroon are perfect for helping us relax.

Tawny said...

Hey Jane :-) I'm a big fan of red, too. I'll admit, I've designed my entire office color-scheme around it since my bookcovers are red LOL.

Your bedroom colors sounds lovely - do they inspire you to creativity (and doesn't that sound interesting... bedroom creativity. Hmmm, I could get a book out of that)

Barbara Monajem said...

I love bright colors! And writing is really my only creative outlet. I used to do quite a lot of needlework and sewing, and I like experimenting with cooking, but writing is the only thing I have enough patience for to spend hours at it every day.

Tawny said...

My walls HAVE to be white...and preferably bare. I get antsy, stressed out and depending on the colour, kind of claustrophobic if I'm in a coloured room.

Hey -my brother, too!!! Color clutters things for him. I love your comparison of someone counting aloud next to you. That really nails down the color-conflict, doesn't it?!

Genella deGrey said...

Black and white stripes – the Tim Burton-y kind.

Tawny said...

Inspired my colors, hm, well I do love this shade of green cos it makes me feel good. But dunno if it makes me creative

I love greens, too. I've got this lovely olivey/sage combo picked out for the family room LOL. Not that I plan on getting too creative in there, but its my husbands fave color and he's slowly making it his 'man-cave'.

I've done this experiment before with someone who was a bit color-phobic. Start with a white walled room and some form of creativity (crafty thing, writing, drawing -whatever the person likes to do) After awhile, put up a colored sheet on the wall - if possible, try different colors of sheets (solids) and see what affect it has on the creative work. Is it easier? Stressful? More fun?

For some people, color is a major creative boost, for others like Pissenlit, color is like nails on a chalkboard LOL. Its always interesting to see which works for different people.

Tawny said...

So, I guess I'm inspired by bold and bright. Red is my favourite colour.

Hey, its one of mine, too LOL.

Oh Anna, your house and garden sound so amazingly gorgeous. One of these days, I'm going to land on your doorstep. I'll probably want to stay outside and wallow in the lovely flowers, though LOL There's nothing quite like an English garden!!!

I love the sound of your house with all the memorabilia and happy energy you're surrounding yourself with. I'll bet there's tons of colors in that, isn't there?

Tawny said...

Anna said: All white makes me nervous.

Lynz said: Me too!

Me Three!!!

Tawny said...

Awww, Beth, thank you.

Thats just so awesome that you have your splash of color on your ceiling. See, now I'm picturing you sitting in your writing chair, head back, staring at the ceiling LOL

Pissenlit said...

Tawny - Start with a white walled room and some form of creativity (crafty thing, writing, drawing -whatever the person likes to do) After awhile, put up a colored sheet on the wall - if possible, try different colors of sheets (solids) and see what affect it has on the creative work.

What prompted the experiment? I think I'm stressing just imagining it. Ha! That would SO put a halt to whatever it is I was doing. *SHUDDER* :)

Tawny said...

Oooh, Christie, the melon color sounds gorgeous. I'd love to pull something like that in - I'll bet its wonderfully creative and still Feng Shui'd for success LOL.

Now that you've redone the house, is it filled with colored walls? And good luck in the cave!!

Tawny said...

Ahhh, Karen, thats such a gift- to blank everything out when you write. I can't write without music myself, but thats from years of writing in the family room where music was my only defense against all the noise LOL.

The gold/red and the periwinkle sounds very very pretty.

Joan said...

I love colors too, Tawny. Sometimes though it's like I have to TOUCH them to know if they are right. At Disneyworld at the art of animation they had a whole wall FILLED with paint jars. I itched to stroke them. And DMC embrodiery threads? Ecstasy

I love blue, purple and green though inexplicitly, I decided to paint my office a med. gold...TOTALLY apart from all the other colors I picked out.

I can do red and this summer took the brave step of buying myself a bright yellow shirt. But orange.... no thanks!

And I envy you all that can look out on a garden or nature from your window. All I see is my front porch and the cars going down my road!

Tawny said...

Ellis, I can't believe your house painter argued with you over the color!! It sounds gorgeous, I'm glad you got your way :-)

Our new house is grey with white trim. Blah and depressing, IMO. The first thing I said when my husband fell in love with it was "it's going to have to be painted." He's hoping I'll stay focused inside for awhile and forget LOL

Tawny said...

Ooooh, Claudia, that sounds amazing!! I can see some outside, but not the best view from my office. Since I write at night, the window-view is moot, though. But I can totally see how nature right there outside your window would be a total creative inspiration!!

Tawny said...

"honey, it's $20 a gallon. If we hate it, I'll repaint!"

LOL - I say this everytime someone says they aren't sure if they'll like color. I mean, even the white is $20 - easy to paint over that color-mistake, right?

Your colors sound so inspiring and wonderful, Jeanne. And they obviously work, since you write fab stories inspired by all that creativity ;-)

Tawny said...

Donna, I'd love to see your kite! It sounds so cool.

We've finally got a backyard thats just made for writing. The deck overlooks redwoods, so as soon as it cools off a little, I'm planning to try my hand at daytime writing out there!!

And I love this statement:

It inspires me in the formation of ideas.

Tawny said...

Fedora, sometimes starting with a little color here and there helps you ease into it ;-) Kinda like getting your toes wet.

Isn't that funny about your MIL and the black/white decor? I wonder if visual artists need that clean slate because they have such a variety of images already in their head?

Tawny said...

Hey Lime!! Have a great time in NY - it sounds like a blast!!

Tawny said...

LOL Julia, another black/white artist in your mom, huh? I'm seeing a definite trend here.

I hope you've surrounded yourself with your 'happy place' colors (love the term)!! They are so upbeat and happy feeling.

Tawny said...

Minna, hugs on Eve being gone. It sounds like she loved the water and had a wonderful life.

Tawny said...

Nancy, I'll admit, strong color does wear thin faster than neutrals sometimes. But then, I love to change things up so I'm usually happy to repaint a room every few years. My husband used to joke that we'd lost so much square footage due to layers of paint LOL.

If you were going to try just one strong color to inspire your creativity, what do you think it'd be?

Tawny said...

Barbara, isn't it funny how, once we find writing, we tend to have much less time or patience for all the crafty stuff? I like to think of it as finally finding the right creative fit LOL

Tawny said...

ooooh, Genella!!! My niece's bedroom is all Tim Burton-esque, its such a great, inspiring theme, isn't it?!

Tawny said...

What prompted the experiment?

LOL -it was an extension of a color-therapy, creativity and the inner child workshop I'd put together.

Sorry to stress you out with the idea ;-) Its definitely not for everyone.

Tawny said...

JT - does the gold in your office inspire you? Intuition might be playing in if so :-) Sometimes our favorite colors won't be as creativity provoking as we'd think.

You said: Sometimes though it's like I have to TOUCH them to know if they are right.

LOL - I'm so textually focused I have to touch everything. Especially colors. When I was clothes shopping once, I was wandering the store just feeling the fabrics and this lady with a really bad fried perm was there, my hand was halfway out to touch and see if it was as crispy as it looked when I caught myself LOL.

Joan said...

Minna, hugs on Eve being gone. It sounds like she loved the water and had a wonderful life.

I think it's ok, Tawny. I think Eve went back to Minna's BROTHER....

Joan said...

I don't know if the gold inspires me or not. I LIKE it...and gold = a sense of Empire=Rome...

Who knows?


I joined my mother's quilt group. We make quilts for charity, but compared to everyone else, my quilts are sad and pathetic. Before that, I created garden art, did counted cross-stitch, crochet, embroidery. You name it, I tried it.

Beth said...

I was actually thinking about putting my office back in the basement *g* Not because I don't like nature but because there's just way too much going where my office is now (off the kitchen with two windows overlooking the sidewalk that leads to our door and then on to my MIL's place - which means whenever someone goes by, they feel they need to wave at me *sigh*).

But then I discovered writing in my bedroom. Glorious! It's at the other end of the house so I don't hear my kids and I can look out at my quiet front yard :-)

Beth said...

See, now I'm picturing you sitting in your writing chair, head back, staring at the ceiling LOL

LOL. Not quite. But I do look up at least once a day to get my color fix :-)

Becke Davis said...

I love color and like to be surrounded by it, but other than that, I'm not very artistic.

I love seeing other people's fancy scrapbooks, but I've never made one myself.

When I went to a Jenny Crusie workshop once, she talked at length about doing photo montages (using cut up magazines) to help writers visualize their stories. She's an artist so hers were AMAZING. I've done those for a few of my stories, but they looked pretty flat next to hers.

Autumn Jordon said...

I was all white for years. Then I filed for divorced, painted all the walls a combo of bright and earthtones colors and started writing. Love every room. The rest is history. LoL.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Tawny,

No special colors for me, sometimes
it's bright primary colors, other
times it's soft soothing greens
with sage my #1 green. Sterile white
with bold black on other occasions.
It all comes down to mood!

Pat Cochran

Enid Wilson said...

For me, yellow for daring and green for refreshing. Thanks for the fun post, Tawny.

Bargain with the Devil

Michelle said...

thanks for the fun blog. i'm still trying to find my creative outlet that i can stick to but i do enjoy crochet (although i haven't done any new projects lately) and i did dabble in painting. now i'm trying out this writing (blog) thing. but my color is definitely purple :)

kim h said...

i like bright colors
i alwasy loved purle an dblue
congrats on the books