Day 12 of 31 Days to Build Creative Confidence – Play with colors

play with colors

play with colors

Day 12 of 31 Days to Build Creative Confidence

– Play with colors part 2

When you walk outside to get in the car or take a stroll around your neighborhood, do you notice color? Or are you so focused on the chatter in your head that you walk blindly past the neighbor’s rainbow of roses? In yesterday’s post in the Build Creative Confidence series, I asked you to create a color wheel and to enjoy playing with colors. Most of us walk blindly through our days without really seeing or noticing the world around us. So today’s lesson is about taking that color wheel outside and paying attention to the colors of the world around you!

I am in Estes Park, Colorado right now and we have had lots of rain the past two weeks. There are wildflowers blooming everywhere, not to mention the gorgeous petunias on my mom’s back porch as seen in the image above. One a hike a couple of days ago we saw:

  • a rare lily that only blooms for two weeks out of the year and if you pick the flower the plant will die. This lily is a brilliant orangey-red, definitely one of the tertiary colors on the color wheel.
  • scarlet Indian paintbrush
  • brilliant golden banner,
  • asters that were an incredible shade of lavender with yellow centers
  • tiny purple harebells and so many more.

It truly was a rainbow!

As we walked on, we passed through a large burn area from a forest fire last year. Some of the pine trees were completely burnt out or charred clear down to the roots with just a bit of reddish bark remaining on the inside. The landscape became a barrage of reds, browns, blacks and the gray of rocks. The only color was the new grass and aspen shoots beginning to come up.

Here is a photo of my son sitting on a rock at Cub Lake, one of the stops on our 6 mile hike. You can see the burn area on the hill behind him, but you can also see the lily pads in the lake. The blooms on these were enormous and the sunniest color of yellow! The rock is gray but when you look close it is covered in green and orange lichen. We were visited by mallards and ground squirrels sporting a dozen different shades of brown from pale cream to dark tree trunk brown. Note at the very top of the picture, the deep green of the pine needles and compare it to the bright green of the grass growing beside the wiht colors

I see color everywhere, do you? The more you play with color and open to your creative expression, the more you will notice color in the world around you.

Lesson 12 is to play with colors more!

Step one: Grab your color wheel, your journal and something to color with (crayons, colored pencils or watercolors would be perfect for this exercise.)

Step two: Think of a spot in your yard, your neighborhood park or a local garden where you can sit for 15 minutes and admire the colors! Here is a photo from my friend Jessica Mireles‘ garden. Check out her blog for more great images like this one. If you can’t think of a good place to go outside, search for garden images online!

Step three: No, I am not going to ask you to draw, yet! Today, I want you to focus on playing with the colors you see. Look at the colors of the flower above for example, what shades of red, yellow and green do you see. Do you notice other colors?  In your journal, start laying down swatches of color and trying to capture all of the different shades you see. Try blending the crayons or pencils to create new colors or to get closer to the shade you want. There is no right or wrong way to do this!

Here’s one I created with a limited palette of colors that my mom had lying around. You can see what I mean by just starting to lay the colors down and get a sense of what they will look like and how they reflect what you are seeing.

play with colors

Why am I asking you to play with colors?

The more you begin to pay attention to the world around you, the more you will relax, breathe and be more receptive to creative ideas. Sitting quietly and playing with colors for 15 minutes is like meditation. We all need breaks, relaxation and refreshing so that when we do need to solve a problem or deal with a challenging situation, our mind is more open to seeing new solutions.

Happy playing!


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  1. Kathy Hadley on July 12, 2013 at 9:14 am

    This is something I can actually do so am going to do it.

    Sounds like fun.




  2. Gail on July 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I can see how this is a great exercise not only for creativity but also for mindfulness. Just reading it has me looking around and noticing colors all of a sudden. Wow! Sounds like a fun exercise, I’ll try it. Thanks for another great post

    • minette on July 14, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Thanks, Gail! Creating art is about mindfulness and staying in the present moment for me.

  3. Tracie B. on July 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I am one of those that blocks everything out. My kids amaze me that they notice something “new” or out of place, when it barely phases me.

    • minette on July 14, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Tracie, trust your kids and do like they do. Our children can be the most amazing teachers!

  4. Iris on July 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    When my husband and I were living in France last fall, we would wake up and go out on the balcony and look at the bay and comment on whether or not it was a “good color” day. Some days the water was especially blue (and sparkly), the trees especially green, the rooftops especially orangey-brick colored, and other days everything was muted. On the good color days, we would be sure to take lots of pictures. I was always happier on the good color days. 🙂

    • minette on July 14, 2013 at 7:03 am

      I love that, we often do the same in California but rather than water it’s all about the fog!

  5. Jessica Winters Mireles on July 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    So wonderful to see all the beautiful color in “Color”ado! If I had to live anywhere else besides Santa Barbara, it would be somewhere in the mountains of Colorado. I just love all your ideas about finding color around us. It’s so easy to speed by and not notice! Thank you, Minette for adding so much color to the world for us!

    • minette on July 14, 2013 at 7:03 am

      Thanks Jessica, your garden photos always inspire me!!

  6. Cheryl on July 12, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Minette, thank you for creating this series. It is beautiful!

    • minette on July 14, 2013 at 7:02 am

      Ah, thanks Cheryl, you made my day!

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