Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life's Colors

Today the phrase "take time to stop and smell the flowers" popped into my head as I drove to the grocery story. Mother Nature is more than generous to us here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. One scene that always takes my breath away is the white, billowy thunderheads that look like puffs of cotton. On a certain stretch of highway, framed by tall pine trees, you can see the clouds waiting for you at the end of the road. Of course you never reach them, but it's fun to imagine grasping a bit of fluff and taking it home to dream on. I grabbed my camera and went back to capture the picture to share with you. The huge thunderheads were gone, but you can catch a glimpse of what we get to see every now and then when we're lucky and Mother Nature is in a creative mood.


My mother, an award winning oil painter, gave me the love of finding beauty around me. I didn't realize it at the time of my youth, but when my daughters spent time with her and came home talking about their time with their grandmother, I started to see her skills as an artist. Their favorite experience was when she would have them lie on the ground and watch the clouds. "If you concentrate very hard," she would tell them, "you can move the clouds around with your mind." Then they would have fun looking for different pictures in the clouds. Even now I take the time to see what I can discover.

Do you know clouds aren't really white? I learned this watching the movie "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" where Dutch oil painter Johannes Vermeer asks his housemaid-turned-assistant what color she saw when looking at the clouds. At first she said white, then no – yellow, blue, grey are the colors. When I went looking with my camera, I did happen to notice the multitude of colors in the clouds. Amazing how a compilation of colors can appear white.

This got me to thinking about our writing and how we each have our own individual voice. How does this happen? Can it be a compilation of our life's colors and those who've influenced our lives? Maybe who we are is determined by how we absorbed those experiences and share them with others. Is there one event in your life that might have had a great impact on how you write or approach your writing or job?

16 comments:

Mona Risk said...

Paisley, I love the colors in your clouds. Here in Florida, clouds look pink, orange and purple at dawn and dusk. I am not a painter, but I love to look at the ocean, sunset and flowers and always marvel at colors.

I bet your quilts are little marvels of colors.

Emma Leigh said...

Excellent post. Really makes you look at things differently.

Joanne said...

Paisley,
Thanks for the excellent post. We all have such different voices, and our experiences reflect this--especially in our writing.

Maree Anderson said...

Paisley, I really shouldn't be here, as I'm supposed to be doing revisions to a tight deadline.... BUT I couldn't resist reading your post. My mom is an artist, too. And I'm constantly amazed at the similarities between the process of creating a story and the process of creating a painting. And just as her past experiences, her moods, her world-view, and what's running round in her head color her choices when she paints, so a writer's influences her story and her story's voice. It's scary to look back at the things we've written and realize we've infused the words with our own personal experiences. But that's what speaks to our readers.

Awesome post! Very thought-provoking. And now back to revision hell, LOL.

Vonnie Davis said...

Paisley--Great post. Different timeframes of our lives hold different colors: saffron yellow of happiness, pale blue of contentment, blaze orange of anger, midnight blue of depression and passion red of...well, passion. I've just finished writing a hand-out for our writing group here in Lynchburg on POV and how past experiences affect our character's behavior and thought patterns. They color our lives. That's why your post was so timely for me.

Jill James said...

Paisley, I believe all our personal life experiences color our world and our writing. Me, as a teen mother at 18 will approach writing about children, or parenting differently than a woman who waited years to have a child or never got the one she dreamed of ever.

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Super post, Paisley, I've got family over and bears to finish up for orders, but I wanted to drop by and say that my mother was an artist too, and definitely, it's the challenge of not showing everything in the artwork (whether it's art or stories), but what's important. :)

Robin Covington said...

Great post! It really is how you look at things and it's important to change your perspective every once in a while.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thank you, Mona. I do love putting the colors into my quilts, the more vibrant the better.

Someday I'd love to see the colors in Florida, especially a sunset. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thank you, Emma. I think I've always seen the world differently because of my mom. Everyone always says it's like taking a small child out when we go on a trip because I try to see everything. I'd hate to miss out on any beauty nature provides us.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Joanne, I agree that our life's experiences are the spice and sugar of our voice in our writing.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for sharing some of your precious moments with us. How fun we both had moms who were artists.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'm glad I could be of help, Vonnie. I truly believe different colors can affect our moods and writing.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Jill, I think our life's experiences affect the way we do a lot of things going through life. I was a late bloomer, but I know I so appreciate all the blessings I have been given.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for taking a moment away from your bears, Terry. Appreciate you stopping by and saying hi.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks Robin. Glad you stopped by. Yes, it is good to rethink perspective and see the world in a new light.