Years ago we added onto our house and remodeled our kitchen, a project I had dreamed of for decades. New cabinets, new floor, new appliances, and new countertops…a dream come true. In all the decisions that come with a big project like this, the most stressful for me was choosing the countertop. Fairly quickly I decided on the material, but picking the color was another story. House décor trends called for warm tans and golds but I really prefer the cool colors like white, grey, and especially blue. I knew this was a once-in-my-lifetime commitment and I didn’t want to make a mistake so I spent most of my time debating over light colors like grey and white. They were all nice, clean-looking, neutral (because what if we had to sell the house???) and I didn’t love any of them, but they were all “safe.”
In the midst of all this, I spoke with my sister about my color angst. She listened patiently and then said, “If you really like blue, then pick blue.” What? Blue countertops? I’d never seen it in any fancy kitchen magazine, or home show, or in real life either. Who would put blue counters in a kitchen? It’s just not done! At least that was my initial reaction. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. I like blue. In fact, I love blue, and this was my kitchen, and I plan to live here with those countertops for a good long time and who cares about resale value?
I realized my reluctance to choose blue came from a desire to do the reasonable thing, to play it “safe,” to not make waves, to not attract attention, or ruffle anyone’s feathers. And that is my nature. I like being behind the scenes, unnoticed, invisible. But that’s not really how God calls us to live, is it? A life spend hiding is a life half-lived. How many experiences have I missed because I wasn’t willing to be bold? To put my toe outside my comfort zone and risk a little?
I don’t know why, but I hate the color orange. Intellectually I know a world without orange would be boring, but given a choice, I’ll pick any other color over orange. Even as a kid, I remember my orange crayon would remain in the box, tall and pointed, while the blue crayon wore down to a nub quickly. I don’t wear orange clothing, there is no orange inside my house and when I see orange in Fall decorations, I grit my teeth and try to remember that Christmas reds and greens will replace it soon enough.
This aversion creeps up more often than you’d think. A few years ago my husband, Dave, and I were choosing plants for our new back yard. When the landscape designer asked about our color preferences Dave responded “lots of color, all kinds,” while I said, “anything except orange.” Being the old married couple we are, we came to a compromise—bright orange goldfish in the pond but no orange flowers in the yard.
As a result of this dislike I tend to avoid orange in my art, a fact I did not realize until recently while going through some of my egg photos. When I compared color choices and looked at a wide variety of examples from other pysanky artists I saw what a difference it can make. I’ll even admit that orange can add welcome contrast and depth at times.
I still don’t like orange but if I want to grow as an artist I have to stretch beyond myself and experiment with new things, even the color orange. So I’ll try…if I have to…I guess.