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Posts Tagged ‘green’

When Drama Delights

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

The Autumnal equinox signals the beginning of Mother Nature’s most extravagant color spectacle of the year. As daylight hours fade, ordinary frocks of green worn by deciduous trees magically transform into golden, crimson and bronze gowns that shimmer in rays of sunlight.

MH900407575All the rainbow colors we have explored each month of this year- red, orange, yellow, green and blue, paint the scenery of trees and sky on an autumn day. The color of September, indigo adds the necessary drama for this season of contrasts.

How brilliant the colors against deep indigo clouds of a looming storm!

Many representations of the rainbow omit indigo and transition directly from blue to violet. Pity. Indigo has a history as rich as its hue. Its roots are Indian as the name implies, the word indigo meaning “from India.”

We shall follow the indigo trail on another day. For today, appreciate the drama she provides as you enjoy the autumnal splendor.



“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”   George Eliot



A Recipe for Summer Smiles

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

What is no longer green and yet not quite blue? The color of July is a transitional hue on the color wheel that melds the freshness of green with the watery depths of blue.

Is it bluish green or greenish blue?

Turquoise or teal?

Aqua or aquamarine?

IMG_1242 Whatever the name, July marks that time of the year we can all enjoy. The month of longer days, vacations and relaxation, July is represented by the artful blending of tranquil green and calming blue.

Imagine the color of calm water as the sand below adds a golden tone. The blue bends slightly toward green to reflect this summery hue. One of my most memorable aqua sightings is in the wake of a ship cutting through the depths. The foamy rush of trailing water produces a magnificent blue green color I’ve seen nowhere else.

Green and blue, two universally favored colors, combine for this favorite time of year.  It’s no surprise this greenish bluish combination is universally becoming on anyone who wears it.

Since color is an efficient barometer to predict our feelings, being surrounded by a hue that creates feelings of well being is necessarily reflected in your face.

Are you smiling now?

“More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure.”  Cecil Beaton


June the Month of Excess

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

The summer solstice of June guarantees excessive daylight of the longest day of the year. At no other time is the color green in nature so extreme.

vine leaf backgroundTraveling to northern climes, the color of June is unmistakable. Here, long rays of the sun coax leaf laden trees and dense grasses to display an exuberant hue I’ve missed in Key West.

Sure, palm tree fronds are green, as are the leafy backdrops to colorful hibiscus and bougainvillea. Yet, when the climate never changes, neither does the perennial green. The eyes get accustomed to the same multicolored views every day.

After months of bare branches and dried, brown landscapes, when bountiful warm sunshine calls all living things to “grow, grow, grow,” the enthusiastic summer celebration begins, clothed in resplendent green.

More daylight.

More green.

More reminders to notice life in vivid color.

Take time to see and appreciate the vibrancy of all living things- and that includes you. The sunshine is calling you to grow as well.

At this halfway point of the year, we are also half way through the rainbow colors of the year. We began with the warmest hues, variations of red, orange, and yellow.

As this month comes to a close, watch as the lively green becomes more subdued. Prepare for the cooling influences of the rainbow colors yet to come.  As with any excess, it is tempered by contrast.


“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”

Gertrude Jekyll

A Terrifying Day

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

This day of the "Wearing of the Green" is a terrifying day for someone who doesn't like green. Yes, that's me.

st. patrick's day backgroundEverywhere I look, shamrocks, leprechauns, and green festoons. And that's only what's decorating the people that insist on wearing a wee bit of green so as to not get pinched today.

Never been a fan of green for most of my life. No green in my closet. Not a tint of green on my walls or furniture. Even my plants are more brown than green. Why is that?

Especially this year, with Emerald being the Color of the Year, why do I continually avoid it?

Through the years, as I've studied the effects of colors on our feelings, I noticed that whenever I'm around green, I feel a tinge of nausea. Nothing uncontrollable, just uncomfortable.

Doesn't happen in a forest or in a verdant meadow, but only when the color green is introduced in my immediate environment. I just don't feel right.

All of our feelings about color have their beginnings in our early color memories. To get to the source of my aversion to green, I concentrated on my earliest memories about the color.

That voyage into the color recesses of my brain took me back to a grade school memory. Whenever I had a headache or upset tummy as small child at school, I was sent to the clinic room to lie down until I felt better.

I would lie down on the little cot, already feeling queasy, and look up at the ceiling and bare walls. Back in the day, it seems all institutions were painted a certain shade of, yes, green.

You see, in my sickened state, feeling badly, I was surrounded by a color that, even to this day, brings back those uncomfortable feelings. "Sickly green," I call it, and do everything I can to avoid it.

This terrifying day will be over soon for another year. I wonder if there is a place on earth that does not celebrate this holiday.

You'll find me there next year, tickled pink and not green. 


"That's what the holidays are for- for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute them. Isn't that the Irish way."  Lara Flynn Boyle


Friday By Any Other Name

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Color schemes and combinations have always described various Holidays. I just read an article about the Thanksgiving color palette. Seasonal and comforting. Soon red and green will replace the gold and orange of the harvest season. But this week we have also have a day dedicated to everyone's favorite non-color, black.

Black Friday is on the lips and on the sale flyers of advertisers everywhere. At this time of the year that reminds us to be grateful and to share all that we have, before the leftover turkey is cold, we run to stores and to the computer or iPad to acquire even more.  Through our efforts, commerce is emboldened before the end of the year, and the term Black Friday aptly describes the day of transition from red ink to black ink on the bottom line of retail outlets. Bean counters rejoice.

Black Friday even has a uniform of the day. And of course, it's black. Black sweatpants, leggings or jeans ensure a comfortable shopping experience and are rugged enough to survive the narrow escapes from errant shopping carts and the sprints down aisle three for the four AM time limited bargains.

The drink of the day is also black- coffee, the blacker the better. Black Friday takes stamina, endurance, and nerves of steel that only this inky beverage can deliver. Double espresso if you dare. True believers forgo the latte till the end of the hunt.

And let's not forget the Black Friday mask. From lack of sleep and the frenzied pace, out pop dramatic black circles under the eyes. As sweat accumulates on the determined brow,  mascara runs down the face, extending the signature mask's visage below the cheeks. The face of a warrior has emerged.

Every color deserves its day. Even black, the somber, serious and powerful color, black. But on this Friday, so described as black, remember that black is also elegant. Carry with you on Friday, the elegance of black in all you dealings with others.

And most importantly, reserve these nourishing leftovers from the day before, thanksgiving and gratitude for all your blessings.


"People think that everyone wears black in France: in fact they all wear grey." 

Jean Paul Gaultier

Doesn’t It Feel Good?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

If you wanted to make someone feel good, how would you accomplish that? Instead of trying to imagine what another person would enjoy, think first about what makes you feel good.

Everyone has their peculiarities. They like mustard on pretzels. Or prefer the color green instead of red. Wine tops beer every time. But consider the similarities we share. What makes you feel good?

      Being called by your name.

      Getting a sincere compliment.

      Receiving an unexpected gift.

All simple gestures that feel wonderful and boost you self esteem. What everyone likes is to be noticed and appreciated. How many times in your day could you make the effort to remember someone's name and repeat it back to them? When you notice that a person looks great wearing a particular color, why not tell them? Next time you see a little something in the store and think to yourself, "she would love that," add it to your purchases and make her day.

What do you like?

To feel good. Pass it on.


"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around"

Leo Buscaglia

Sunset Sonata

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

We look at the infinite colors that surround us, the clothes, the cars, the electronic gadgets. Take your pick. It seems our color choices are unlimited.

Still, nothing amazes me like the display of color presented to us only once each day. The sunset array of fabulous color. Perhaps so we don't tire form the sight, many dusk hours are cloudy and gray, especially in fall and winter. All the more joyful when we are treated to this colorful spectacle in October.

Notice the trio of colors, blue, red and yellow. From these three primary colors, all known colors are born. The combination of any two create orange, green, violet and beyond. How appropriate to end the day with the beginning of all colors.

At various times, the sunset paints magically with these hues to produce the nightly colorful progression from early dusk till the sun sets upon the water with the seldom seen "green flash" as it dips beneath the horizon. The ensuing color show lasts until darkness takes over the sky.

As you enjoy the presence of color in every thing you see, remember the gift where colors begin. The light of the sun and her nightly ritual to slumber. Can she compete with her awakening in the dawn? Ahhhh!


"There is nothing is more musical than a sunset. He who feels what he sees will find no more beautiful example of development in all that book which, alas, musicians read but too little – the book of Nature. "
Claude Debussy

Just a Walk on the Beach

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

One of my favorite things to do in Key West is walk on the beach. As beaches go, it does not rival the Caribbean stretches of pristine powdery sand. Yet, each day it's a surprise. What kind of beach it will be?

As the photo portrays, on a perfect day, the sand is white and smooth. The  deep aqua water laps gracefully far up the beach and the sky of cerulean blue is bright with puffy clouds to decorate. Fresh breezes rustle the palm fronds and seagulls float effortlessly onto the beach.

On another day, the sea is muddy and green. The calm waves of low tide struggle to pass through mounds of olive green and brown seaweed collected on the beach. The air, thick and humid, smells of rotting vegetation washed up from the sea floor. Small sea creatures, marooned on the beach, await a higher tide.

Same beach, same time of day, but an entirely different experience for the senses. Yet what remains the same? That singular touch, the sand passing between my toes. The knowing that, no matter what, the sea will meet the sand every day. It's a comforting feeling.

Change happens every day. It happens to the beach. It happens to each one of us. Sometimes the sun shines brightly on our perfect beach. Other times the low tide drains the life out of our dreams.

It's not a bad thing.

Not an unwelcome thing.

Change just happens. Like a walk on the beach.

But what makes you who you are, the feeling of the sand between your toes and the eternal sea that always meets the sand of your soul, never changes.

Welcome change. Think of it as your daily surprise.


"The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us. "
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

For Everything There Is a Season

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

On an autumn drive, the deep green hillside is striped with russet, claret and golden hues. The brilliant sunshine warms the crispness in the air. At the top of the hill, a farmer’s market beacons.

Nowhere are the rainbow’s hues more plentiful than through the offerings of the autumn harvest. Red tomatoes, orange pumpkins, yellow squash, green Brussels sprouts, blueberries, purple eggplant. And, at the end of the rainbow of seasonal bounty, a bushel basket full of golden skinned apples.

Nature provides unlimited choices of color.

Are you limiting yourself to only a few?

It’s easy to fall into a color rut, always picking the safe, neutral colors for our wardrobe and our home.

Take your cue from nature’s most color rich season. Like an autumn tree whose job it is to be noticed at its best, add a flourish of crimson, an accent of gold to your outfit. Stand out from the crowd who want to blend in.

The most inviting tabletops are filled with appetizing color. Make your guests and yourself feel welcome by introducing new color at home. Hang a seasonal wreath of dried flowers and gourds. Cluster multicolored chrysanthemums by your entry for a color infusion when you walk in the door.

Color is meant to lift your spirits and delight your senses. Enjoy it!


“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”

Samuel Johnson

Colorful Surprises

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

It’s 7:15 Monday morning. You must have forgotten to set the alarm clock! Rushing through your normal routine, you quickly shower, then, rummaging through the sock drawer, you pull out two socks. Next, you reach into the dimly lit closet, pull out a pair of pants, a shirt, and slip on your shoes. You’re good to go. Grabbing your travel mug of steaming coffee, you’re off to work.

At the office, you catch a few sideways glances. Are you living the nightmare of showing up for work in your pajamas? Not quite. In the unforgiving brightness of the office lighting, you’re suddenly aware that your pants are dark blue, one sock is gray, the other green, your shoes are brown and your shirt a colorful print of red and green.

How could this be? You were confident, even in the morning rush, your pants, socks and shoes matched and all looked fine with the print of your shirt.

What went wrong? Have you been struck with sudden color blindness? No. You have only come to realize that color has everything to do with light.

Color, without the presence of light, does not exist.

Remember the age old question, if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? You can argue the answer, yes and no. Sound vibration becomes audible when it strikes the eardrum. Light is also vibration. Color becomes visible when light’s vibrations, carried in waves, are captured and seen by the eye.

How we see color begins with in the remarkable laboratory within the eye. Our eyes are designed to convert experiences of light into signals that are transmitted to the brain by nerve impulses. Much like a camera lens focuses light to create an image, the lens of our eye focuses light onto the sensitive retina.

Receptors in the retina contain 250,000 color decoding cones. Light travels through space in waves. The cones vary in their sensitivity to different waves of light, allowing us to see 7,000,000 different colors. The eye captures the light and projects it as color onto the screen of our mind.

Without light, in total darkness, the eye does not pick up any light signals. Since the only stimuli that the eye deals with is light, it becomes clear that light is itself a carrier of color information.


Let’s go back to your closet and see what occurred on that ill-fated morning. Due to the amount of light your eye had to work with, the 60 watt bulb in your closet, the retina did its best to collect the available light and transfer it as color information to your brain. Why did you see the colors differently than how they appeared at the office?

The human brain naturally corrects its perception of color so that the relationship of colors does not seem to change significantly even in light that is not evenly balanced in color. Meaning, we don’t always see what we get. This effect, called color constancy, is a form of adaptation in which the eye and brain adjust to ambient conditions bringing them into a form of color that is understandable. We see what we are looking for.

Back in your closet, you saw the pants as black because the available light from the dim overhead bulb was absorbed into their surface rather than reflecting sufficient light back to your eye to reflect the true, dark blue color. More light is reflected by lighter colors. Black reflects only 5%, while white surfaces reflect about 80% of the light.

The two colors in the print of your shirt, red and green, are complementary colors, colors found across from each other on the color wheel (see diagram). Complementary colors, when used closely together, are blended together by the eye. In the small scale print of your shirt, red and green, blended together, create what appears to be a variation of brown. Just as when you combined too many colors together in art class, the result was a muddy brown pool of paint.

Your sock drawer contained various dark colors of socks. Light was absorbed by their dark surfaces. The amount of light that was reflected back to your eye by the dark fabrics was not easily discernible. Your brain’s color constancy interpreted the dark gray and dark green as the same color in the dim light.


The cure for unwanted wardrobe surprises is to add more light in your closet.

Double check your color selections in natural daylight.

And remember to set your alarm clock!

"Science is but an image of the truth."
Francis Bacon

Tell Me More

Mary Ellen Lapp reveals how the colors we wear, and the colors that surround us, even the color of the car we drive, impact out self image and affects how we are seen by the people around us.

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