Creating a Colorful Life

My life is full of color.  This spring, I had planned to guide four hiking trips across the world — in the Ngorongoro Highlands and Serengeti in Tanzania; Angkor Wat, Cambodia and the Sapa Mountain region in Viet Nam; Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in Peru; and the coast of Portugal.  All of these locales exude vibrant colors, interesting cultures, nature, and intriguing experiences.

Instead, I am finding color closer to home. For me, there is the financial hardship of lost work. But, I am privileged to live in “Colorful Colorado” and I am grateful to be healthy and able to experience nature often.

Our Jeffco Nature Journal Club theme last month was “Mixing the Colors of Nature”  featuring John Muir Laws’ color theory.  I had fun mixing colorful conifers, to explore different color combinations, and I realized first hand that the reds and blues I have been using, just don’t muster the primary color mixing challenge. So I did another version today with 1. Cerulean Blue (Case for Making brand*), 2. Rhodonite Genuine and 3. Aureolin (Daniel Smith brand). Look at all the colors I made with these three primary colors.

oops, I labeled the color wheel incorrectly — it should be Cerulean Blue

I was intrigued by a recent blog post from Green Leaf and Blueberry, artisanal handmade watercolors, about making a color pyramid.  Instead of the typical color wheel, this  beehive-like format is a perfect way to look at and understand color relationships.

I made two versions, the first using my old standby, Permanent Alizarin Crimson. I made another version with Rhodonite Genuine as the primary “reds.”  I am fascinated by the different purples and oranges they create.

I used Permanent Alizarin Crimson in this one and just couldn’t get a good purple. The Blue is actually Cerulean Blue.
I love the purples and also the red orange that this color combination makes.
*The Cerulean Blue made by Case for Making is like no other brand I have used. – a bright blue.

At home in Golden, spring is creeping in. My sense are filled with moist, earthy scents, along with sounds of northern flicker males drumming and clacking for mates, and the red-wing black birds’ “conk-a-ree” rising from the nearby marsh, as I walk Kali, our golden retriever, each morning.

Yesterday, I stopped for a few minutes on our walk, looking across the landscape, letting it all sink in. I noticed the morning colors merging one into another, separate, yet connected. I painted lines of color – my own color key for this landscape, my home place. The colors of that moment in time.

Looking deeply at the local colors and working to match them with watercolors in my small journal

Adventure travel trips around the world, hiking and sketching and observing colorful cultures and nature, are inspiring, exciting, stimulating, as well as the way I make a living.  But during this pandemic, I agree with Dorthy, “there is no place like home.” I am glad to create my colorful life right here in Golden, Colorado.

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