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The Colors of your Life

I went for a walk today. Fall is here, the air is clean and fresh, and the sun was shining. We have wild Salmonberry bushes on our property, and there is something about the muted blue/green color of the leaves that I really like. That sparked the idea to use my phone camera to capture the color, and find out what the html code was, so I could use in in design. What followed was me wandering around the property taking photographs of the plant life for quite some time. When I was done, I used the free Color Picker app on the iPhone to select the colors I wanted out of the photographs to get color codes, and create a reusable color pallet in Gimp.

The whole process was soul filling for me. There is something about this property that makes me feel alive. Its wild, and untamed, and filled with life. To be able to translate part of this into my love for design is enjoyable. If you understand a little about color theory, you will notice how well balanced the colors of nature are if you do an exercise like this. Many things in nature reflect in opposites, or triads. A balanced color triad is inherently appealing to the human eye. If you ever take the time to photograph nature, you'll see what I mean when you look at the colors on a color wheel. They are very well designed. In fact I personally feel it is evidence of design.

So after gathering all my photos, and selecting all of the colors out of them, I came up with this pallet:

screenshot of color pallet

These colors all came from indigenous plants growing on our property, and the colors of the soil, and the stones. I chose gradients instead of color blocks, because everything in nature is a color gradient. A function of its color, the color of the light, and the gradient of light to shadow.

After gathering all of the colors and converting them to html codes using the phone app, I created a color pallet in Gimp so I can start using the colors regularly in various design projects. Im quite smitten with the deep magenta/purple colors of the thistle blossoms...

screenshot of color pallet in gimp

The first thing I did with the pallet was incoporate the colors into the website you're viewing. The dark background is the color of the soil here. Things grow well. The purples are from the blossoms of the thistles that grow in the cleared areas. The greens are the color of the salmonberry bush leaves. The blues are the colors of the sky here on a clear fall day. The yellows and reds are the colors the berry bush leaves turn in the fall. Every color came from a plant, a stone, or a cloud.

I moved on to creating a color theme in DWM, the minimal text oriented Linux desktop I use. DWM has no configuration files, so the colors have to be written into the source code, then recompiled. This is the result...

screenshot of desktop theme using color pallet

What I love about doing things like this is the meaning it adds to things we use every day. I built my operating system enviroment myself, so its personal. And now, whenever I use it, it will be in my mind that all the colors I am seeing come from the land I live on. This may seem like alot of effort to some, and you are probably correct, but I cant tell you how differently you start to feel when you incorporate this kind of thinking into what you build and use. If you center it around a spiritual practice of including God is what you are doing and enjoying, the gratitude in you grows expoentially. But this is starting to sound like a new post. The value and depth of a creatively designed life... or something like that...

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