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All the colors of creation

Friday, September 28, 2012

Following this summer's drought, our much-needed rain caused the earth's dreary gray/brown tones to morph into vibrant paints, a sort of rebirth that perked my spirits and my energy. I considered it a special touch from God to remind us of His love of contradictions and beauty, as well as His love of color.

Green undoubtedly must be one of our Creator's favorites; after all, He stroked its hue over grass and leaves. Blue surely brings Him joy since He chose that for both the vast sky and the endless waters. And flowers -- oh, how He must love the flowers with their limitless choice of pigments. Even His creatures prove His passion for individuality. The cheetah. The tiger. The chameleon. How can one look at a skunk and not consider it a masterpiece -- at least, at a distance? Is it any wonder God placed a rainbow in front of Noah as a reminder that the earth would never again be flooded?

Color matters. It encourages sales, calms a crowd and makes an athlete pump iron harder. Color sends both positive and negative messages, and experts say its effects can't be understated.

Red symbolizes life; even scripture says life is in the blood. It is the color of strength, excitement and courage. Notice the number of aggressive salesmen who often wear a red tie. It's certainly a color of attention.

Drivers of red cars -- who get more tickets -- can attest to that. Place some people in a red room and their heart will beat a little faster. Red is the ideal shade for a dining room because that color heightens our senses, making tastes and smells more tantalizing. Not surprisingly, it's also a color of choice for fast -food restaurants that encourage diners to eat quickly and leave.

Soften that red and you get pink, the most calming of colors. Sports teams have been known to paint the visiting teams' locker rooms bright pink so their opponents will lose energy. Hardened criminals are sometimes housed in pink cells in an attempt to thwart their aggressive tendencies, as large amounts

of pink can create physical weakness in people. (Silly me. All this time, I've blamed it on my lack of exercise!)

No matter what shade, blue lowers the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, helping us to relax. While pale blue can give a sense of spaciousness, dark blue makes people feel enclosed and safe. Navy blue suits are the preferred attire for interviewees and nearly all athletes perform better in a blue room.

The next time you're down, find something yellow to perk you up. It denotes optimism, friendliness and creativity, probably because the brain actually releases more serotonin (feel-good chemical) when around this color. Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads. Experts say it increases metabolism, although I have a yellow kitchen and have yet to find that true. There is a caution here, however. Intense yellow, the color of flames, causes babies to cry more and tempers to flare. Pick your shade carefully.

Green is the color of growth, nature, money, and fertility, while purple--most adolescent girls' favorite color -- is associated with prosperity and sophistication. Purple stimulates brain activity used in problem solving. Teachers, take note.

White, a combination of every color in the spectrum, reminds us of purity and cleanliness. Think brides and doctors' smocks. Black, the absence of color, is associated with intelligence and power, yet it also can be linked to evil. Most importantly, it makes one look thinner. Love that black.

So, the next time you're shopping, eating, resting, or just trying to pick up your spirits, remember: color does matter.

No doubt, God knew that all along.

Patty LaRoche
Patty LaRoche: Face to Face