To paraphrase Tina Turner: “What’s color got to do, got to do with it? What’s color but a second hand emotion?” Color seduces and repels. It calms or excites. Color informs our world and cultures and we are informed by it. We start seeing color at about 5 months of age and eventually can differentiate between 7 million colors. We become color addicts.

We all have a natural color preference based on our skin, hair and eye color. We shop for the latest trends in clothing and even purchase some, then take things home and put some in the back of the closet because something is a little off and we feel uncomfortable. My closet is boring so I recently had my colors “done” and found out that I wasn’t that far off. What I wear is what I should wear. How I put it all together makes me unique.

The color industries: paint, furniture, home décor change pallets to be able to sell paint, furniture and home décor. They move around the seasons from warm to cool, dark to light, and back again. Unless you and your partner have the same coloring you will probably argue about wall color and contrast. It’s part of being who we are. None of it’s wrong. It’s what culture taught us. A person from northern Europe was exposed to a much different color palette growing up than someone from China or Japan or Africa. Understanding that we have color preferences or prejudices lets us knowingly push boundaries and explore outside our comfort zone.

My color palette is soft pastels. Yes, these are the colors I should wear, but that doesn’t mean that I want to look at them all the time in my environment. My quilts may or may not be in “my” colors. I explore and change backgrounds – they are not always neutral. Color play allows me to change the way I look at the world, see the difference in shading between spring and summer and autumn. I can now celebrate that “pop of color” which is a jarring contrast from the exact opposite side of the color wheel and start looking at color blocking – how much of that “pop” do I really want.

I find the easiest way to play with color is to raid the paint section of a store and pick up color samples. Experiment with neutrals; find what works for you and what doesn’t, bring in some “ugly” colors. Walk outside and look at how many shades of green there are in grass or the number of yellows in a daffodil. Start trusting your eye and expand your world, celebrate color. Color is physical, emotional, it’s not logical; it’s the first thing we notice about anything. I invite you to come play with me and open up your world.