Ladies and Red
My mom has a Red sofa. One of the few things that she has bought, on her own, in over 30 years. It was a transitional time in her life, when she walked through a home furnishings store, and fell in love. Red and gold damask, beautifully upholstered and ridiculously expensive. She had to have it; no planning, no second thoughts, just pure happiness on four wooden legs.
A friend was recently going through a change in her life. She decided to go on a major spending spree – in Red. Small appliances, rugs and pillows were all bought in Red, replacing the traditional yellow and white that had been her norm. Her only explanation was that it made her feel happy, the color of the Red coffee maker made her smile every single morning.
Years ago, I went to an Estate Sale with a good friend of mine. I was going through a difficult time, and shopping was not high on my “to do” list. But, my friend and I both have a love of antiques, so we try to spend a few times a year together, wandering through places that feed that part of our soul. That day, was one of those days. I had never been to an Estate Sale before. It seemed a bit sad wandering through someones home, knowing their belongings were being sold because they were moving on. It felt quite voyeuristic, even though the owner knew we were there.
The lady who owned the home was an artist, and a couple of rooms were filled with her paintings. Not planning to buy anything I came upon a canvas of a woman painted in Red. At the time, my life felt very beige; old furniture, too many antiques, and a certain tiredness had overtaken me and my home. The painting was an unusual pick for me, but I loved the color, and I liked the serenity on her face; she had an old fashioned dignity that was nicely at odds with the abstract pieces of paint. I decided to bid on the painting, and was told I could come back the next day to see if my bid had been accepted, or if she had been sold at full price. The next day I returned, and she was still there. My offer was accepted, and I drove home with her.
I put her on the wall, and she didn’t quite match my dull living room, but just looking at her cheered me up. Within a few months I had decorated my living room around her, bringing color and absurdness wherever I thought it should go. I wrote to the artist and thanked her for the painting; I hoped that her move had gone well, and I wanted her to know how much I loved her work.
All of these stories come together with a color and an emotion. Red seems to give a healing energy to many people, unconsciously giving us a strength to move forward when we are emotionally drained. Scientifically, it may not be a proven theory, but from what I am learning there is definitely something that makes us feel better when we are around certain colors. Perhaps, it’s the boldness of Red that makes us feel powerful, or maybe it’s as simple as embracing a color that is the opposite of what we are used to. Whatever the reason, it is important, because it makes us happy. (Or, maybe, it’s the shopping that makes us happy, and not the color after all 🙂
With gracious thanks to: Rosa Maria Thummel http://www.rosathummel.com/
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/