Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's In Your Color Palette?

What's your favorite color? It seems like when I was younger this was a significant question, one that invariably came up when making a new friend. What's your name? And then, How old are you? And sooner or later, What's your favorite color? Early on, I was blue. Firmly a blue, but secretly, and passionately deep sky blue with rose pink. When I was six, those two colors, side by side, pink and blue, made my heart flutter, gave me ideas about possibilities and loveliness for which I had no words. I was smitten. I had a long and devoted purple phase, and it's still dear to my heart and soul, but so is green, and blue with green, and I also adore a good, deep cranberry, almost hinting at maroon. Just when I think that sky blue and rose pink have lost favor with me, nature shows me a sunset sky in those tones, and I am six, again, struck by that passionate affection, which feels sweet, and limitless.

I still love blue. I cannot live without green. Green's no good without red. A white wall soothes my mind, gives me room to think. Teal, lavender, mustard, aquamarine, a rich chocolatey brown... all welcome, all good one place, or another. But which is my favorite? It is my current obsession to settle on a few colors for hearth and home. Alex gave me the decorating word I needed: Palette. I don't have to choose a favorite color, but for our home I feel like I need to settle on a color palette, because... because it would be nice. For me. I think. I've been a lot of places, in many homes, where I am instantly aware that the colors, the decor, the theme are good, comforting, pleasing, nice to be in. It impresses me, makes me happy, and inevitably makes me feel utterly lost and confused about my own taste, style, theme, and favorite color. You see, at the moment I have painted no less than six things different shades of blue. All of them "pretty," all of them chosen because I liked them, but looking around the yard, thinking about the composition of the whole space, it's making me a bit discomforted, kind of like blaring improvisational jazz, when I am more into a romantic aria. I crave harmony. I want to feel a flow, have some continuity. No surprise, I am mixing metaphors here... like my taste in colors, my taste in music is wide open, and impossible to pin down. But, please, no improvisational jazz, or day-glow, or leopard prints, for me, thank you.

Okay... so, back to the bit about the palette: I am trying to realize a family of colors that make me happy, that I can focus on for our house paint, exterior, and paint for interior rooms. Colors that I can use when we replace our weary and worn sofa, and paint to restore the wood table on the porch, the old potting bench. Colors I can bear in mind when I go to replace our twenty-five year old bath towels. I'll never be match-matchy, no one will ever suspect I hired a color specialist, or enlisted a team of decorators, and I won't lay down a strictly nautical-modernist-contemporary-rustic-aesthetic. But six! different shades of blue?? I'm sort of ranch, kind of cottage, a touch farm house a lot modern-clutter and terribly contemporary confused. My eclectic phase is out of hand! Color palette. Obsessively, I declare, the key to my domestic harmony and satisfaction lies in the discovery and embracing of my color palette!

This is a trivial pursuit of utmost insignificance! I am fully aware of the superficiality, the utter inconsequence of establishing an Aesthetic Me, of discovering my color palette. Not only have I taken to labeling boxes and drawers, shelves, and doors, but soon I will carry swatches, and paint chips, know my Prairie Grey from Seaside Buff, and I will be resolute in discerning the difference between Cozy Cottage and Completely Cluttered. That will be a good day, I think. It will feel settled, and I'll be less confused, less frayed and torn over decisions. But how to reach the point where my palette and I are united, confirmed, agreed? How do I decide my favorite colors for home and hearth, and also the style that goes with them? For to be truly trivial, and at peace, I feel compelled to declare at least a general decorating style to complement my color palette. These questions are filling the empty spaces in my day, talking to me in my sleep, and mocking my six different shades of blues. What is my favorite color? What colors should be in my color palette? Obviously, I am compelled to open a new Pinterest Board. The laundry, and litter box will have to wait. Pressing matters are at hand.

This palette notion, by the way, is very interesting. As soon as I opened up Pinterest with the search for "palette colors," I uncovered a whole new world. Maybe some of you are nodding your heads and thinking, "Uh. Yeah. Didn't she know?" Maybe some of you do know that there are neutrals, and bases, and accents. I am learning a lot. And seeing more. For now, I am drawn to the beach, with all the shades of blues, blue-grays, and suggestions of soft greens, the calm sand tones, with rich accents like the golden kelp. You would think that this would settle the matter, but as soon as I see one winter cabin, or daydream on a Swedish summerhouse... then I am six, again, and struck by a passionate affection for something altogether different, sweet, and comforting. It is... dare I say? Kind of fun? Geoff wants a decision, and soon. He votes for Hunter green, white trim. Said and done. But I plan to add my Pinterest account to his iPhone, and oh-so subtly I am going to lure him into my indecisive, obsession with colors, so we can be confused, together.


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Those of us who love color and color palettes in all their rich variety need several homes to decorate don't you think? One an English cottage with jumbled pastels, one a beach home washed with light, another a cozy mountain log cabin with warmth and Christmasy colors . . . on and on it goes.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

This. This is brilliant insight, Sara.
How happy to settle on this _simple_ solution!
{happy laughing}

Anonymous said...

An idea:

We have a darling little fancy green cheek conure (pineapple mutation). I dream of painting our house (when we have one again) in her palette. Dusty rose, dusty cobalt, sand, indescribable greens and tans, and much more... what about looking at "nature made" palettes of some of your favorite places and/or creatures. I think it would help avoiding the worry over "does this REALLY go together?" Because you can see the palette "in action"... a thought...

- a friend of a friend

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Exactly! And I didn't know how to extract those colors we enjoy looking at and to think of them in terms of paint/fabric etc, until I started learning about these palettes. I've even started playing with some websites that let you upload a picture, like the ones of the bridge and water, and it generates a palette from the colors in the image! It's fun! And it's insightful... I realized there were colors in the images that I wasn't even noticing.

Thank you, friend of a friend!

judy in ky said...

Okay, I am going to Pinterest and look up "palette colors" now. I didn't know about it either! All of my life blue has been my go-to color but recently I have found myself branching out. Our house in PA was all blue and white at the style was Country. That didn't really fit in our current, more modern house and we ended up with warmer colors. Now, for our new condo, I am using many colors… red, blue green. My tastes have broadened. I will still have one room in blue, though.