Theresa's Color Wheel“How do you mix yellow?” You don’t. But that’s been a common question over the last six years at the Lighthouse therapeutic art workshops. So periodically we introduce a day of color mixing. A day of learning the basics. Given just three colors – red, yellow and blue, the ladies learn they can mix any color in the rainbow. Well almost… given that we are using craft acrylic paints that aren’t even close to the pure hues described as red, yellow and blue by Pantone, Inc., the authority on color, provider of color systems and leading technology for accurate communication of color. Otherwise know by me most affectionately as the color police.

Given a worksheet with twelve circles arranged in a circle, the ladies number the circles as if it were a clock face. Then they were invited to paint red, yellow and blue in the circles numbered 12, 4 and 8. This was harder for some than it sounds, and eventually the first triad of primary colors was completed. Then they were invited to mix red and yellow to produce orange, the first of the secondary triad of colors that also includes green and violet.  Finally, and a little more difficult, was the mixing of the tertiary colors – the combining of a primary color and its secondary neighbor. Ordinarily, yellow would appear at four o’clock rather than eight on a color wheel, but Theresa captured the color mixing task well until she got to blue. We were woefully short on blue paint with an overly large group of art makers so the blue through red violet range of the color wheel isn’t quite as accurate as it might be. This was a product problem, not an art maker problem. Yet it provided an opportunity to talk metaphorically about what each would identify as the three primary things they each needed in life from which everything else might emerge or be created.

Painted DesignWhite and black paint came out of the art cabinet for those interested in painting tints and shades of the colors they’d created on their color wheels. Others stamped overlapping black circles on fresh sketch paper to create a stylized stained glass window effect. This was a wonderful opportunity to practice their color mixing skills with lots of fresh results. A new-comer to the Lighthouse, the creator of this colorful cross was so thoroughly engrossed in what she was painting that she didn’t even notice the art room/dining room had emptied, or that we were hovering over her waiting for her to finish. We love that kind of getting lost in the basic process of creativity!

If you were to think of your life metaphorically as a color wheel, what would you identify as the three primary things you need for a fulfilling, meaningful life? The three basic things from which everything else is mixed? What about secondary things? How do you see the primary aspects of your life mixed with some of your secondary things? What colorful aspects of you life emerge from this combining?


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