A few years ago I met a woman at a conference who immediately took in what I was wearing and proceeded to tell me exactly how I was feeling that morning when I chose the outfit. I was wearing a pink shirt with gray pants and a charcoal cardigan [and she was right].
I promptly booked myself into one of their fall courses in San Francisco [2 years ago]. Aura-Soma’s teaching says; ‘You are the colours you choose’. The course was interesting, but I realized that I would have to do a few more before I had the kind of mastery my friend had. Then, the day that we spent a section of the class ‘combing our spiky auras’, made me question whether I would have the patience to continue with the training. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not the piece I would be interested in learning.
My point [and I do have one] is the scientific part; the meaning of the combinations of colours that you choose. They have over 100 bottles, and each have 2 colour combinations like this one. (my favourite one—of course)
Whether the colour you choose is on the top [represents the conscious mind] or the bottom [the unconscious] means something in addition to what you choose of course.
The above bottle was the first bottle I chose and this is what it means: “Great strength and knowledge in the conscious mind (the yellow) and an immense wisdom (gold) within our depths. We may have a sense of humor and an ability to deal with life in a sunny, happy manner. (Now the name of my blog makes sense 🙂
Sunlight is about consciousness. It is self-awareness, which can sometimes manifest in a negative way as a self consciousness or a knot of contradiction within the solar plexus. As the knot begins to loosen and we let go of fear, we can undo the knot of contraction completely and the light can begin to shine. More confidence emerges as self-consciousness is released. Knowledge begins to dawn more brightly. To let go of the knowledge (yellow) may be the first step toward refining our wisdom (gold). The sunlight bottle’s separation of yellow and gold symblolizes the necessity of discriminating between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge can be acquired; wisdom is inherent.
Then I was reading Penelope’s blog the other day and in an article she posted about ‘How to be more interesting to other people’ she said;
“One really cool thing someone taught me is that the color I choose is most interesting when it intersects with another color. Just knowing the right color to use is not the clever, interesting thing. Rather, interesting is when I am unsure what the two colors will do when they interact. (Here’s a great set of paintings that illustrate this idea.)” Penelope Trunk
When I clicked on the above link, here is what I found (above). And it was so similar to the bottles I have just shown you, I was intrigued. It got me to thinking about one of my new clients. A young woman who is getting a divorce after having been married for 12 years. The colours she choose for her new space are a fresh green (including beige/creams) with an eggplant as the accent colour. The closest bottle to that kind of colour combination is this one:
And here is what the combination means: Choosing this bottle means that we have found space (green) in which to show our feelings and express ourselves, or that we have an inspirational creativity and can join our feminine intuition with our spirituality. It may provide hope to those of use who need to let go of fear and anxiety. This bottle can show that we have a need for healing, especially following an emotional upset or disappointment related to matters of the heart; it also highlights our challenges with self-doubt, stubbornness, and an inability to trust or a fear of trusting ourselves or others.
Green means balance and space. Purple; transformation, a point of change/re-evaluation and healing.
Absolutely bizarre!!I was just browsing,looking for ideas about how to use colour and came upon this blog about how colour reflects who you are. I have been puzzled about my obsession with using purple,green,cream and grey in my new home I just moved into. This article makes it all clear to me now as I had also just divorced after 16 years of marriage. Now it all makes sense to me as to why I keep on choosing these colours.It must surely be true then.Amazing stuff! Thanks.
Loved it! I’m one of those types who wants to know! I’d love to pick one of those magic bottles to see what it/you would have to say about me. Very informative! And I loved the green/eggplant choice, too.
Your so great! Love this…. Green is my favorite, amongst many others…..
Question – are we drawn to certain colours based on where we’re at in life, or do the colours we love influence where we’re at/going?
Victoria from EdinDesigns @ DesignTies
This is fantastic, Maria. There’s so much you’ve written about, so much to think about. I find your writing fresh and engaging and I love the depth you go into in your exploration of color. It’s about so much more that decorating. I’m learning a lot and appreciate your blog.
That green and purple room from Domino kind of blew me out of the water.
P.S. Heart the Artists’ Way!
Fantastic post Maria (as every). I find that most people also decorate in their personal colour palette (the colours that suit them physically). It’s like they have a natural affiliation for these colours as they are the ones that flatter them the most.
And as we’re not static creatures, these colours change over our life.
Colour psychology is a very interesting field, and I know how much it affects us as everyday when I get dressed the first thing I ask myself is “what colour do I feel like today” and dress accordingly.
Oh wow Imogen
that is exactly how I decide what I will wear. What color do I feel like. Interesting isn’t it?
Fabulously insightful post! I was just discussing this with someone the other day. Fascinating topic, love it, love it!
This is so interesting! I am going to check out the 100 bottles..see what I pick..Love your blog!
Design Ties – That is a very interesting question. I think the colours we are drawn to change as we evolve and grow as a human being. My friend also said If you are in someone’s house and they say “No orange, I can’t stand it” then you might ask them if they are very social because orange is a social colour. And that person might want to add it in some shade, in accents in their home. A lot of times, people have a colour they dislike because they grew up with it, so they have nixed that entire colour where there might be another shade of it that you could easily live with.
I just got back from 10 days in Palm Springs and the colors that they use there are totally different from what would work here. I was attracted to hot pinks, yellows, vivid greens, turquoise. These colors do not work here in Vancouver. I think that color definitely has a regional personality as well. Now I want a home in the desert so I can immerse myself in clear bright vivid colors…what does that say about my personality?
Great post Maria.
I love the book The Artist Way.
Very interesting! I have always wondered why I love certain strong colors, like orange and bright blue, but then do not incorporate them into my decor and instead use soft neutral tones. Maybe because I see the water and the sky through my windows (so the colors are there). I’m not sure.
I love the extent of your thoughts Maria!
I have always resonated with strong orange-red.
Like a Buddhist Monk’s robe. What do you make of that? And The Katillac Shack vibrates with almost every color…like a crystal or prism. Your thoughts?
Patricia, what your colours mean is that you and I should be very close friends so that I can come and visit you in Palm Springs!!
However, the only way to do this accurately is one has to pick 4 colour combinations of 2 (or narrow it down to two colours at least) in order of preference (also which colour is on the top vs. the bottom is also important-conscious/unconscious)
Kelee Katillac – If you love a combination of orange/red it means you are (or want to be) grounded financially (red) and orange means bliss and deep intuition. Could also have some issues with ‘letting go’.
This is such an interesting post. I do think I will need to read it several times in order to let it all sink in. For me, it is such a completely different way of thinking about color.
So Maria, what about people like me who are love very neutral colors? I am drawn to crisp white rooms with touches of soft blues and grays or petal pinks. All of my favorite colors are muted.
Am I secretly afraid of color? Not in touch with my true self. Egads, I see more therapy in my future!
I am convinced that he same colour I wear, would not work in my home. I love wearing yellow and red, but my house is done in grey, black brown, white and linen.
Great post 🙂
It is truly amazing how much there is to learn about color – how it impacts so many different realms in one’s life.
I have always loved Rothko’s light colored paintings, and it is interesting that you note the link between colors and one’s psychological state. There has been much written about how Rothko’s color palette was bright and happy when he found his ‘signature style’ multiforms. He shifted to darker moodier colors at the time that his personal life had more darkness and strain.
I just read up on Rothko in Wikipedia, and it said with his success came a feeling of personal seclusion – and you can certainly see this in his darker colors! He eventually committed suicide, which is the ultimate evidence of his frame of mind in the end of his life.
Another interesting thing is that Rothko said that ‘color is merely an instrument’ to express basic human emotions.
I have personally seen two Rothko exhibits that were very dark, one is the Rothko Chapel in Houston and a Rothko room in the Tate Modern in London (with canvases that were commissioned for a restaurant in NYC). I found the Rothko room in the Tate to be really peaceful and moving, but did not like the feel in the Rothko Chapel in Houston – it struck me as quite dark and depressing.
I just read Brooke’s comment, about loving the neutral accented with soft, muted colors. I too gravitate to this palette. Whenever I see a room like this, it comes across as very peaceful and serene to me, which is how I like to feel in my own home.
I bought ‘The Artists Way’ last year, but only read a little bit. This post is inspiring me to pick it up again!
Brooke, I will post an answer later on your question.
Michelle, I’m clear not everyone decorates in the same colours they wear. I for one look terrible in yellow green, yellows, golds and oranges (my favourites) yet my living room furniture is yellow/green with sunset gold and orangy red accents in my toss cushions and artwork.
And I’m a summer and wear pinks, lavenders, soft blues, etc. I wouldn’t be adverse to painting a room a soft blue though. I have picked so many muted grayish (with a hint of purple) blue’s for master bedrooms and alway love how they turn out!
Maria: Of course I love the thoughts about intuition and bliss… but all that crap about letting go…what do you mean I am not like that!!! …and don’t need to let it go…I never harp on things..what DO you MEAN? LOL grrrrhhhhh, yeah, call me the pitbull with a paintbrush…grrrrrr…last night my husband commented about my jeans looking looser…did he ever get it for implying they previously made me look fatter……..what could you mean….letting go :):):):):):) love you…..
Katillac Shack…. peace out…..
Katillac Shack – you are too funny! I slipped that in just to see what would happen and you didn’t disappoint 🙂 Also to point out that obviously the colours we are drawn to, have their challenging aspects as well. If we didn’t have challenges in our life, it means we are simply not creating a big enough life. Cause creating a big life, creates big challenges as well. Thanks for playing with me 🙂
Oh, Colour Goddess. When you are as flawed as I am you have to have a sense of humor! They say to every gift there is a flip-side challenge. Buddhist orange is about passionate commitment–so the conundrum, Grasshopper, is how to be committed and also let go. Thanks Maria for the playtime~!! Husband and bassett hound Oliver need food.
P.S. Sometime tell us your flip-side challenge?
This post REALLY spoke to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and Thank you for introducing me to Penelope Trunk’s blog. She is great too!
such beautiful images and incredible colors!
just love the living room by Jeffrey Bilhuber!
Your posts are always to interesting, and really make me think about colour and the part it plays in my life.
I love colour — the bolder and brighter, the better!! We have a turquoise car… a red accent wall in the family room… apple green walls in the basement… and I’m planning to use bright purple in the dining room. Colour just makes me feel good 🙂
Now I’m going to have to do some research and see what my favourite colours say about me!!
Oh, Penelope’s thoughts on writing — so true. I’ve always loved writing — I have a BA in English, and I work as a technical writer. But I still get writer’s block, especially when I think too much about what I want to say. If I just let my fingers fly around the keyboard without thinking too much, the words just kind of flow right out!! 🙂
Congrats on making Patricia’s list of her Top 10 blogs 🙂
wow! That is really interesting. I am going to try to learn more about this and figure out which bottle I would pick! I love stuff like this!
We can all wear about a million colours, so we are not limited to just a few colours, but so many options.
I would imagine Maria that you would of course decorate outside your personal colour palette, as you have an advanced appreciation for all colours, which was something I had to learn when I became an image consultant – that all colours are beautiful.
It’s just something that I’ve noticed when being in people’s home that very often there is a correlation.
Of course some people pick their neutrals, rather than using a lot of colour, but there are different neutrals for each group, and of course some of these neutrals and some colours cross over and work for a variety of different colour directions.
This is interesting how we choose colors without knowing the reason behind it. Great post! xoxo
WOW, so many comments, no surprise, since you write so well and we are all eager to know more about colours.
By the way…my sofa is light green with hot pink cushions…go figure!
Brooke, Here’s what Aurasoma says about picking ‘pale colours’.
When clear (the light) is added to a colour (in this context) there is an intensification of all the messages of the colours which need to be considered. For instance green is for direction, pale green represents, the way, the truth and the light/life.
Picking pale colours indicate some form of deep suffering, a deep transformational need that has been experienced and which was very difficult to go through.
Blue represents faith and trust which are attributes of water. Pale blue is an intensification of faith and trust suggesting that we have an inner tranquility and a clear mind, that we are selfless and put the concerns of others before our own.
Please keep in mind that I am NOT a licensed practitioner in this work and I am just writing what I have found in the book.
If you are interested in reading more, it is in my book list. It’s called The Aurasoma Sourcebook and it is filled with stunning images that represent each bottle.
It’s completely fascinating to me the many available ways we can use in understanding ourselves. One of the most obvious seems to be the colours we are drawn to in any given moment.
I always thought that the reason why many designers chose white/cream in their own home is because they want calm when they come home after working with colour all day. But maybe it’s because we are really suffering artists? Like Things that Inspired comments (above).
And it’s impossible to be human and not have some form of ‘suffering’ going on. A good definition I have learned (from my Landmark training):
Suffering is defined as an argument with reality. It’s when we look at ‘what is’ and want it to be ‘some other way’ (like our kids, husbands, mothers, fathers, bosses, jobs. . . . insert here) that’s when we suffer.
Thanks for all your comments and for engaging with me on this topic, I get to learn so much more about colour because of YOUR thoughts and feedback!
Wow…. That is a little scary.
Yes, I think as humans we have all gone through our share of suffering. Apparently my suffering is showing through my color selections. Oh my.
I would also agree with you that there are many definitions of suffering. I think as I get older I am trying not to “argue” so much with reality. Acceptance and letting go of expectations is the key to creating a more peaceful life, wouldn’t you say?
Thank you so much, Maria for taking the time to research this for me. I didn’t mean for my comment to create so much work for you, but it is greatly appreciated.
I too appreciate your research and your comments! My overall favorite colors are blue and green, and I like the neutral palette to highlight and complement these colors. I can explain away anything (I should have been a lawyer), but perhaps the color analysis reflects people whose favorite colors are true neutrals (have you ever heard someone say their favorite color is white or beige????).
This is all so interesting to me. As I commented above, Rothko veered towards the dark, tumultous colors when his mindset became darker. If gravitating towards lighter colors means some sort of form of deep suffering, what does gravitation to dark colors – deep, dark reds, blues, blacks – mean?
Great entry Maria!
Congratulations! I can see your success and all your efforts are being paid – lots of comments, great entries, interesting material – way to go.
I am so proud of you Maria. You are totally dedicated at your blog an you can see today the results. Your entries are better than ever and the content is so inspiring.
Keep the good work! and keep colouring our blog world 🙂
Okay just to clarify, gravitating toward pale colours INTENSIFIES the colours meaning. If you like pale greens you have an INTENSE need for space, or direction, or balance. (it doesn’t automatically mean you are ‘suffering’) after all, pale greens, and blues are calming and peaceful as well.
And Intensification goes in two directions: one through suffering and the other through an increase in consciousness (awareness). And isn’t that what our challenges create? We get to know ourselves better and that makes us happier.
There are many layers of ‘suffering’ and it doesn’t necessarily mean you instantly want to surround yourself with dark, depressing, colours.
Thank you all for contributing to this conversation!
I really agree with what was said about writing. i find my best writing just sort of pops out without me realizing what I’m going to say and my more forced/ contrived writing involves a lot of effort.
I look forward to your new blog posts. This was was really good. Especially all the ongoing comments . . .
I love this! We just did a post about color recently; I’m going to mention you in a future post. So glad I came across your blog.
Does anyone happen to know what color green paint is in that room with the purple couch from Domino magazine? Gorgeous!
I would say Pale Avocado from Benjamin Moore.
I am really enjoying your blog..I LOVE color! And most people would say that the colors my husband and I pick (well, I do the picking, he does the painting..LOL) are pretty bold 🙂 or bright! How color affects us really interests me, so I really enjoyed your article.
Fascinating article. I wonder what my household colors would say about me: a longjohn red wall, some terracotta walls, hunter green velvet drapes; and drapes with red, purple & a golden brown pattern and dining chairs with the same colors…everything else is pretty plain.
Lately, I've been drawn to red, baby blue, cream and brown. Maybe when I redecorate.
Aren't the Ralph Lauren pictures copyrighted? I love RL!
Lovely, colorful site. Will be back.
As long as bloggers link to the site where they got the photos, it's okay!
I would love to have some green velvet drapes in my house somewhere!
I think your colours say that you are a passionate person that likes their space at the same time!
I'm late to this party (post), but WOW and Double WOW!!! Not only is this an intriguing subject, but it's so timely for me as I have a bee in my bonnet about the colors in our family room. I've always been drawn to wearing turquoise and reds and yellows and greens. I have no idea what they mean, but I am very interested in finding out so I need to find that book. And it's uncanny that I find this post when I am trying to determine why I destest the color combinations in our family room. Once again you bring revelation and spirit to understanding color and why it is so important in our daily lives.
Can't wait to find out what my love of turquoise and red or hot pink and yellow and green mean.
Oh, and for Ms. Gray: Why don't the colors of Palm Springs work in your area? I live in Texas, so does that affect what colors I should be using?
Interesting post. I need to think it over. Thanks 🙂
I love colour. It would be very difficult for me to answer if you asked me my favourite colour. The list of colours I don't like would be much shorter. And of course I would have to go into detail about the particular shade and compare the warm version with the cool version. I don't know if I would even be able to choose a bottle in order to find out what my colour choice says about me. Which probably says something about me that I don't want to know:)
This was a great post! I never thought about why I pick the colors I do, but it all makes sense. I remember when I switched rooms back in high school at my parent's house and I painted it purple with a light green border on the top. I didn't even know how it came to me because I had never paired those colors together, but this post makes sense of that for me. I had my own space and I was a teenager trying to define a place of my own in the world. How interesting!
I can attest to the fact that your color choices change with age. In all of my 54 years I never wanted green of any shade on the walls of my home. Then I began seeing beautiful muted greens on other people's walls and realized I now love it and have it in 2 of my rooms.
I also would never paint my rooms in the colors I like to wear in clothing. My home choices are soft and muted and my clothing choices are blacks, greys and more vibrant colors as contrast. I also love white tops, but don't like white walls. Although I do like white ceilings and trim.
I agree that your color choices change as you age. No i’m not that old, but they are quite different from what my home use to have. I had a room colored a terra cotta color, earthy, sandy, colors with dark bold colors as accents. I’ve shifted from the warm color palette to the cooler palette.
I have soft blues(Meditative), Rich Blues(Refuge SW), blue gray, and blue-green/gray. (wickham gray BM).
And I definitely feel very relaxed, calm and as Maria mentioned, blue represents trust – I have a trust that everything is going to be fine. A really interesting perspective. I also didn’t think I would ever choose these colors, but at this stage in my live, I have that in my entire house except the kids rooms ( which are black, white and gray with red accents and Sunny Yellow, with turquoise and white.) My accents are orange, different shades of orange, corally orange, rust orange. (the not letting go part also had me saying, its not me. but Kelee Katillac, made me laugh, thanks Kelee Katilllac. Loved your comment.
I definitely am going to get that book. Just talking about it is fascinating, reading would be something else.
As Always Maria, a superb post that really gets one to think a step deeper into understanding colors.
You are Awesome.
I have a Nantucket style home on a lake in Ca. My living room has Sherwin William "blond walls (1/2 formula. The floors are cherry stained oak. The accents are muddy indigo blue and white. The furniture is slip covered in white with a natural fiber rug that blends with the wall. Am I mixing muddy with clear and is this a problem in this style? The trim is glossy white. (Dunn Edwards whitest white. . .)
This post really jumped out at me because the featured photo (the green, purple, and white Domino photo) is exactly the colors I used for my wedding a couple of years ago! If the colors I chose for that don't show who I am, I don't know what does! It makes me think of how Jane Lockhart on Colour Confidential uses personal experiences to help people pick color… Actually, I remember an episode a few years back where the color wheel was based on a couple's wedding. Now I'm trying to think if I can use that as inspiration somewhere in my house.
At the Christmas dinner at church, almost everyone was dressed for the season. It was mostly red and beige. I wore my fave seasonal colors, a black skirt, black beaded cardigan and a turquoise sequined top. After 11 parishioners took me aside to tell me how fabulous I looked I stopped counting.
OMG I love it! Great comment, thanks!
Beware cultural bias. These colors do not mean at all the same thing on other points on the globe. The entire planet does not view things the way North Americans do. LOL
Also, some people pick colors cause they are trendy, and have nothing to do with that person — perhaps what that says is they have no mind of their own and are easily swayed.
Love the post, many thanks for again inspiring thought and dialogue.
I just KEEP finding interesting things on your blog! This post is 11 years old but so timely for me.
I am going to be decorating a bedroom JUST for me. I don’t have to think about dear husband’s opinion of the colors or hear complaints about the number of pillows, or fend off comments about how impractical the fabrics are. Normally we play it very safe…fabric in tan or beige that won’t show dirt or dog hair. We get things that are practical…things that “go with everything.” (So I’ve got a houseful of pink beige that ironically does not go with ANYTHING!)
So what do I want instead? I see pictures of gorgeous rooms that make my mouth water because of how luxe and fine they look. I see rooms that make me sigh with how relaxing and serene they are. But once in a while, I see something that literally makes me smile, gasp, or even laugh out loud and it’s always a room featuring bold or unexpected color like a fresh vibrant green on the walls or a pair of fuschia chairs or a front door in baby pink. Things you are NOT supposed to do! Especially if you’re 60 years old like me!
I realize I probably lack both the skill and the money to pull off something like this but I AM surprised by what it reveals. The lady with the “uniform” wardrobe walking around around with clipboard and to-do list actually has a rebellious streak and a desire to never grow up!