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Posts Tagged ‘light’

Prediction for the New Year

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

As this year draws to a close, our final rainbow color, Violet, is reflected in December’s frosty view. The days grow shorter and daylight is precious. The long shadows on the snowy ground appear to cast a violet hue. Soft, tranquil, still.

 clock faceViolet, found on the lowest arc of the rainbow, is the color comprised of the shortest wavelengths of light that our eyes can see. Ultra-violet is the term for the wavelengths of light beyond our view.

Is it coincidence that the Color of the Year for 2014 announced this very month happens to be Radiant Orchid? You’re already seeing the hue in spring clothing and decorative home décor. This close cousin of Violet will grow in popularity, I predict.

Why? You see, Violet or Radiant Orchid, are colors associated with enlightenment. In Eastern belief, the Chakras, or power centers of the body are assigned a gradation of color, much like the rainbow. The highest color at the top of the head, Violet, is associated with the sixth sense.

The popularity of colors often reflects what is happening in the culture as well as the collective psyche of our planet. The color experts that predict the yearly colors and Pantone, the company that made the Radiant Orchid choice, have an uncanny way of knowing what we are or will be thinking about.

In the coming year I believe we are all ready for a more enlightened way of seeing our lives and responding to the needs of our planet. Uncommon Violet may be just what we need to see, to capture our attention and look at things in a new way.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”   Mark Twain

As Bright as This Day in May

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The clearest of all colors in the rainbow, the jovial hue of yellow heralds the month of May.  As sunshine begins to warm the earth this time of year, the color yellow has always represented that brilliant orb of the sun shining above in our earliest childhood drawings.Education

What other color evokes such a feeling of happiness? Could you imagine the smiley face icon as grinning purple? Just would not cause the corners of your mouth to rise in appreciation of the cheery yellow messenger.

Yet, yellow is not always viewed in a positive light.  There is a myth that yellow painted walls in the home cause babies to cry and couples to argue.

Like any perpetual legend, there is some truth to the story. Excessive exposure to this brilliant color contributes to eyestrain. Wouldn’t that make you cranky?

The yellow of May speaks encouragement. This primary color makes up two thirds of every imaginable color. It’s significance in the world, like your own importance, is critical.

The newness of this year is waning but not your commitment to your accomplishments.

Take this buoyant day in May to bask in your own light. Yellow is the lighthearted optimist. Take out your brush and paint a jaunty smile on your self portrait today.


“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”  Pablo Picasso


Fourth Floor Release

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Riding down the elevator on New Year's Day, the elevator stopped at the fourth floor. A casually dressed man got on, carrying a laundry hamper. I assumed he was on his way to a laundromat on his day off, even though the building is equipped with laundry facilities.

Abstract compositionWhen I mentioned that possibility, he said no. He and his wife were separating and he was taking his clothes and moving out. Oh. What a way to begin a new year.

Yet there is no better time to let go of what is not working in your life. January is a time of new beginnings and necessarily ending of the old to make room for new possibilities. Once ended, it makes no sense to revisit the past and hold on to what was.

Release is the natural progress that January requires of life. This month is new and translucent like early morning frost on the window. The way is not clear, yet the intricate patterns of possibility are mesmerizing. And shining through, lighting your way is the soft color of the dawn. Yes, you're facing the right way, forward.


"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."
Bill Vaughan

The Last Light Creates the First Dawn

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

The last sunset of December 2012. The final glorious rays caress the western sky and slip silently out of sight.The end.

Last Sunset 2012The promise of light begins a new year, January 2013, the beginning. Like the palest edge of the rainbow, dawn's light is warm and hued of pink. Pastel, gentle, newly committed in the morning sky.

Color not yet formed. Like the year ahead. Dawn's light, a tint of what is to come. Go easily into this day, your day of new beginnings. Dawn's light, a tint of what is to come.

Step lightly and immerse yourself in the warm glow of possibility.

The dawn falls softly on your face.

You are radiance.

January is the beginning. The month to explore newness. Enjoy the view from the top of the rainbow. From here you can see the life you dreamed about last year. It's closer now.

Follow the color of the dawn.


"The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed, and light will dawn, and shine with increasing clearness on your path."
Jim Rohn

You Are the Absence of Darkness

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Burning Candles


Sharing with you this thought of the season to carry with you all year.


"Candle Dipping"

by Clara Bell Thurston


"A candle's but a simple thing;

It starts with just a bit of string.

Yet dipped and dipped with patient hand,

It gathers wax upon the strand.

Until, complete and snowy white,

It gives at last a lovely light.


Life seems so like that bit of string;

Each deed we do a simple thing;

Yet day by day if in life's strand

We work with patient heart and hand,

It gathers joy, makes dark days bright,

And gives at last a lovely light."


May your light be steady. Where you share yourself with the world, no darkness remains.

Merry Christmas!

Harvest Moon

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Make sure your weekend plans include a date moon gazing. The full moon on Saturday, September 29, is referred to the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. The bright reflected light from the moon provided farmers additional hours into the night to harvest their fall crops. 

The term "moonlighting" refers to work that is done after normal working hours, usually at night. And "moonstruck" denotes a form of madness, especially when you're in love.

The "light of the moon" has been romanticized in songs and strikingly captured in art through the centuries. The subtle colors from gold to ivory to blue fascinate the artist and the viewer. And who can forget those luminous images of man's first steps on its bright surface?

Truth is, there is no light on the moon. The golden moon is as dark as Earth was before the discovery of fire and the invention of artificial light sources. What we see as a glowing orb is a reflection of the light from the sun as both earth and the moon orbit that central source.

Our view of the moon and the amount of light we see has everything to do with our earthly perspective and the shadow cast by earth on the moon. But enough of the remedial science lesson.

I choose to imagine the moon shines with pride on the night of the Harvest Moon, bestowing on earth its special radiant light. May you bask in the glow and know that moonlight is the most flattering light of all.


"Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness. "
Allen Ginsberg

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

Images Reveal the Self

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Imagine having the discipline to wake up every morning before daylight, position yourself at an optimal viewing point, camera ready, and capture the sun’s ascent as it gloriously rises in the East. I know you’re already having trouble getting past the daily discipline part.dawn dusk

 Would you, every evening, witness as the sun majestically sets in the West and chronicle the nightly spectacle for 365 days in a row? This amazing, dawn and dusk regimen was followed in early 2010 by artist, Keith Bland. The daily spectacle allowed him to create a fabulous series of photographs and inspired him to paint a collection of richly colored, large scale oil paintings.


Rather than seeing his documentation of nature’s splendor as a chore, Keith described the daily ritual as a self meditation. He looked forward to those solitary times before the daylight appeared and, hours later, when the final rays of light escaped his view. 


Keith chose as his outpost the southernmost part of the U.S., Key West Florida, his home for 26 years. From his first visit to the area he remembers, “He had never witnessed brilliant color like he saw in the Key West sky and sea.” We may all be familiar with the sunset’s hues, but Keith shows us that colors are equally radiant in the pre-dawn sky. Who knew?


Colors, subtle and vibrant, rewarded Keith’s vigilance for that amazing year long quest. We all are the richer for his dedication. See Keith’s work and order prints at Be sure to get his fabulous book, Sacred Space, dawn dusk, Postcards from the Key West Sky.








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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