More Joy & Color

{screenshot of Ingrid Fetell Lee’s TED Talk}

A sweet friend of mine posted a clip of this Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Joy TED Talk on my FB page and I just had to share it. I mean, a talk on joy and color, what could be better?!

Ingrid is a designer, writer, and the founder of The Aesthetics of Joy website and community. As an expert in design and joy she took the stage to talk about our fundamental need and desire for, you guessed it, joy.

“On the most basic level the drive toward joy is the drive toward life.” 

In her research on joy she found that even though “the feeling of joy is mysterious and elusive, we can access it through tangible physical attributes, or what designers call aesthetics.” She began referring to these moments of joy in the world as the “aesthetics of joy.” Boy does that speak to my creative heart!

The aesthetics of color, patterns, multiplicity, and the shapes of objects in our world are definitely a few things that get me excited, I may even jump up and down. It’s true joy is mysterious, but wherever we find it we need to surround ourselves with it. As Ingrid notes, “each moment of joy is small, but over time they add up to more than the sum of their parts.”

I believe she is right, to live a joy-filled life we need focus our hearts and minds on the things that bring us that jump-up-and-down feeling. To pursue joy rather than happiness helps us find the richness and abundance in life we inherently crave.

Hopefully this talk and her website can inspire and encourage you to take the time to notice the aesthetics of joy around you and focus the things and moments in your life that lift you up. Maybe your joy will be contagious and inspire others to pursue more joy. You may even find a way to infuse joy into your sphere of influence through your skills, talents, and giftings. I’m excited just thinking about it!

Here’s to a joy-filled day!


Follow The Aesthetics of Joy on Instagram and Facebook

A Pop of Red

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A long time ago someone said to me: “red is your color,” and it stuck. Sadly, I cannot remember who it was that kindly informed me that with my skin tone and dark hair, I wore the color well, it was insight that has stayed with me. It has even branded me among family and friends, who see it and think of me.

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The color red is a primary color and the vixen of the color world next to cheery and friendly yellow and laid-back blue. When the warm tones are combined they can make an array of fiery oranges and when mixed with blue it creates lovely hues of purple. In addition to being a primary color in the traditional color wheel red is a key component to the RGB color model. The RGB color model is used to create all hues seen via digital media by combining red, green, and blue. Using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop you can pick a color and find out it’s corresponding RGB color.

One could never mistake red for a neutral color, it’s almost always used to attract attention. The psychology of red tells us that it is active, aggressive, angry, amorous, passionate, or even dangerous and courageous. Restaurants have even used the color red to subconsciously increase appetites.  It is often associated with holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day and of course the emotion and feeling of love. Companies, sports teams and nations use red in their branding, allowing for their logos, uniforms, and flags to pop! (GO BUCS!)

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Red is definitely a statement color and a commitment. It is hard to match as the spectrum of hues range from deep burgundy colors to orangy- scarlet and even raspberry-pink tones.

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Red can be found all over the natural world. Many forms of flora and fauna from the land and sea are in hues of reds. Fruits and vegetables may start out green and turn red when ripe.  There are red stones, rocks, and gems containing high amounts of iron-oxide and magnesium.

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A small, but blessed, percentage of the world are redheaded and boast a beautiful array of hues from strawberry to auburn.


One can also look to the sky to see red in the planet Mars, sunrises, sunsets, and blood moons. These are caused by the light ray scatter effect referred to as Rayliegh’s Effect – we originally learned about this phenomenon when we studied the color blue.

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It is amazing how much of our world is dyed, painted, and naturally red. We can’t wait to see where the red is in your world as you join us on this color challenge #itsaredworld!

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Learn more about red

Camera bag pictured by Kelly Moore Bag


The Colour Purple

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Back in February I took you through the colour wheel in the post, Exploring Colour. You would have learned there that purple is a secondary colour combining red and blue. It’s complimentary colour is yellow. Thus, when you mix yellow and purple together in equal parts, you get the neutral colour, brown.

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To clarify, purple is not the same as violet. Violet is slightly closer to blue on the colour wheel, but more importantly, violet is a pure spectrum colour. This means that violet has its own wavelength in the visible spectrum of light, the same violet you find when the sun comes out revealing the rainbow after the rain.

To learn more about visible colour spectrums, click here.


Purple is known to be a colour of royalty. Think Empires, Emperors, and even Bishops from the Roman Catholic Churches. Why was this such a high end colour, you may ask? Well, let’s look at it’s origins for clues. Purple first showed up in prehistoric times in caveman paintings, these paintings were coloured using manganese and hematite minerals. Commercially however, purple dye was first discovered way back around 1570 B.C. by the Phoenicians. Known as Tyrian Purple, it is the colour that is formed when the secretion from predatory sea snails, from the Mediterranean Sea, is exposed to air.


It was said to be so valuable because they often needed tens of thousands of the little snails and many hours of labour to produce the dye. This dye did not fade with time, but only got better and brighter as it aged. Its impact was so significant that Phoenicia means land of purple.

To learn more about this Tyrian Purple dye, click here.

In nature, purple is the colour of blackberries, cabbage, grapes, eggplants, and flora and fauna galore.


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In psychologically purple represents creativity, fantasy, intuition, selflessness, passion, power, respect, leadership, ambition and confidence to name a few.

I will never forget back in high school the head boy and head girl had to wear purple blazers. I’m not talking deep, royal purple either, I’m talking about bright, magenta-purple. It was an eye sore, to me at least. Purple can be a very beautiful colour that pulls design together, but if you get it wrong, it will draw everyones attention and highlight a bad desicion. Therefore I recommend in design, use purple wisely. In photography, it is a great way to attract attention, but not as aggressively as red.  In addition, it can be both a  masculine and feminine hue.

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Side note: a super fun sorting game to play with the kids is to have a bucket of legos and have them sift out all the block in one chosen colour to display.

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Where do you see and use purple in the world around you, we would love to know. Share your purple world with us and don’t forget to use the #itsapurpleworld and #itsacolourfulworld so we can follow along.

Cheers from me – your fellow friend of purple,



True Blue, I love you!

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Red has always been my favorite color, but I truly fell in love with the color BLUE when I walked out of the doors of our hotel suite toward the cliffs in Vieques, Puerto Rico. I was literally stopped in my tracks at the vibrant and dynamic shades of blue. I felt as if I had never truly seen blue until that moment.

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Since that week in Vieques I have subconsciously been drawn to aqua, turquoise, teal, and navy. It’s evident in my wardrobe, designs, offices supplies, and even my drinkware! The color soothes, relaxes, and, ultimately, inspires me.

Blue can be used as a pop of color or as a neutral color, since it pairs perfectly with almost all other hues. In my experience as a photographer, it is one of the most commonly used for family portraits ensembles. It is flattering to all skin tones and especially accentuates blue eyes.

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Blue, just like our friend yellow and that vixen red, is primary color. It is combined with yellow to make green and red to make purple. The arrays of hues that make the color blue are numerous, from the dark navy-almost black to the the teal blue greens.

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Blue in the world is perceived through an optical illusion, referred to as Rayleigh Scattering, where the shorter blue light wavelengths bounce off molecules in the atmosphere.  In addition, the stronger and longer red light is also absorbed by the sea leaving the scattered blue light to be reflected on the surface – this, combined with the life below surface, gives us the various hues of blue, green, and brown. (1,2) This also explains how the natural light in the fall and winter, when the earth is further from the sun, can appear more blue than yellow, as it does in spring and summer months.

Human use of the color blue has been around since ancient times. Minerals were used for jewelry as well as for pigments, along with various plant life, and used in dyes and paints. The first synthetic blue pigments were developed in the early 1800’s and became more common place in clothing and art.

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In the 18th and 19th centuries, many military and police uniforms were switched to blue. Today, blue suits are the most common in the business world, surpassing dark grey and black. (1)

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In religion, just as green is the color of Islam, blue is associated with Judaism, including being used as the feature color on the flag for the State of Israel. Israel is not alone in this, however, well over half of the world’s country flags contain the color blue, including our beloved USA.

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For all the positive characteristics, such as having a calming effect, blue is also seen as the color of sadness. People even refer to being a bit down as “feeling blue.” Even the character in Pixar’s Inside Out were very intentionally developed using the colors associated with their feelings (Sadness was blue). From film to paint, many artists have used the color blue to express their feelings, including Picasso in his famous blue period.

That said, according to J.L. Morton’s Color Matters site, the color blue is the #1 favorite color in the world. That really says something about the depth and variety of hues of the color blue and how it speaks to people.

In the end, all color is subjective, each person perceives the color differently and associates it with good or bad memories made. For me, blue reminds me of my boys, the uniforms of our brave men and women, patriotism, the calm of the sea, my beloved Greek friends, and one of the best vacations I have ever experienced.

How does blue make you feel? What do you associate the color with?

Join us in on our next colour challenge #itsablueworld!

Color on!



1 – Wikipedia contributors. “Blue.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 May. 2017. Web. 15 May. 2017.

2 – Wikipedia contributors. “Rayleigh scattering.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 Mar. 2017. Web. 15 May. 2017.



What came first, the fruit or the colour, turns out the orange colour is the only colour on the spectrum that gets its name from an object. The citrus fruit got its name first.

Orange is a secondary colour. When you mix equal amounts of yellow with red you create orange. It is the complimentary colour of blue. If you were to mix blue and orange together you create the neutral colour brown.

FullSizeRender copyIn design, orange can be used to draw attention.

Orange is a warm colour, but it is not as aggressive as red. For me, orange brings to mind images of pumpkins, halloween, autumn, leaves falling to the ground, and sunsets. Generally, it is associated with joy, enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, determination, success and encouragement. Obviously it is a safe pleasing colour that all the other colours want to be friends with.

That said, with orange being the popular kid in class I’m going to sit back and let her get all the attention. Enjoy the eye candy.

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Let us know what orange looks like in your corner of the world and use the #itsanorangeworld on Instagram to share your images with us. Orange you inspired?



Green: when Irish eyes are smiling

“He had that curious love of green, which in individuals is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament, and in nations is said to denote a laxity, if not a decadence of morals.” — Oscar Wilde

IACW - TomFor me certain colors hold associations with people I love and the color green, reminds me most of my husband. From the first time he asked me out in army green cargos and matching T-shirt, to St. Patrick’s Day in 2007 when we tied the knot. It is the color of the rural area of Virginia where he grew up, the mountains he loves, and the color of his alma mater William & Mary.

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Green is the second most visible color in the world next to blue and it is no wonder that the origins of the word comes from the Germanic words for “grass” and “grow”. It evokes the concepts of nature, health, organic, recycling, and political parties. Funny, that describes my mother in law too, another lover of the color.

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The various shades of green can be found in flora and fauna, rocks and minerals like emerald, jade, turquoise, oxidized copper, and malachite, and an array of man made materials.

As a portrait photographer I’d be remiss to not mention eyes, the range of green eye colors is complex and breathtaking.

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Ancient pigments of green have been found to have been browner than green and used in clothing, paintings depicting nature, and in hieroglyphics of the Egyptian god of the underworld, Osiris. (source: Wikipedia)

Green is a secondary color created by combining the primary colors of yellow and blue. For wall paintings, ancient civilizations used Malachite to create the pigments or more cheaply by mixing azurite(blue) and yellow ochre. To dye fabrics they used saffron for yellow first and then added blue dye from the woad plant. Although it was not cheap, the process was not as expensive as the reds and purples, thus was used by the middle class in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.(source: Wikipedia)

Green is connected to many religions and cultures throughout the world as well. I’m specifically partial to the connection between the color and the celebration of the Irish holiday of St. Patrick’s day, which is a rather American tradition of the holiday, but originates from the country’s flag and also has roots in the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants.

In addition to the feelings of nostalgia that it holds for some, the color has physical effects on a body. “Your pituitary gland is stimulated. Your muscles are more relaxed, and your blood histamine levels increase, which leads to a decrease in allergy symptoms and dilated blood vessels, aiding in smoother muscle contractions. In short, green is calming, stress-relieving, and – a bit paradoxically – invigorating. It’s been shown to improve reading ability and creativity.” (source: Sensational Color)

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There’s nothing better than visiting the hills of the Galilee in the spring, seeing them covered in fresh grass and clover, and finding a moment to relax (and energize!).

How does green make you feel? What color says the most to you? Let us know!





I hate the colour Yellow. I never really realised why until recently. My mom had painted my bedroom a lemon yellow when I moved out of home, and it was in this bedroom that I slept when I went home to bury her. Waking up in that happy lemon yellow room when happiness seemed so far away. I asked Katie what colour she thought we should start our colour sessions with and she cheerfully suggested yellow. I am generally a fan of all colours so I’m hoping that this post will help me mend my relationship with this sunshine hue.

So here it goes, yellow is a primary colour. It sits between orange and green on the colour wheel and it is the complimentary colour to violet.

When I read that yellow is the most visible colour on the colour wheel, I actually didn’t believe it at first, because I mean, have you seen how loud red is?

But when looking into it further, it’s true. Yellow is the first colour that can be seen by the human eye from a distance. And that’s why we have yellow traffic cones, yellow school buses, yellow caution vests in times of emergencies. And yes, yellow is indeed the colour of caution!


Psychologically it is a colour of gentleness, calm and happiness, but it is also a colour of duplicity, jealousy, deceit, contradiction and cowardice.

In some parts of the world, like Iran and China, it is said to be the colour of wisdom, harmony and courage.

Thanks to we know that:

  • “The oldest yellow pigment is yellow ochre, which was amongst the first pigments used by humans.


  • Egyptians and the ancient world made wide use of the mineral orpiment for a more brilliant yellow than yellow ochre.
  • In the Middle Ages, Europeans manufactured lead tin yellow. They later imported Indian yellow and rediscovered the method for the production of Naples yellow, which was used by the Egyptians.
  • Modern chemistry led to the creation of many other yellows, including chrome yellow, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, and cobalt yellow.
  • Yellow is light with a wavelength of 570–580 nm, as is light with a suitable mixture of somewhat longer and shorter wavelengths”

Extra points to ponder:


  • The yellow on a color television or computer screen is created in a completely different way; by combining green and red light at the right level of intensity.
  • Indian yellow is a transparent, fluorescent pigment used in oil paintings and watercolors. Originally magnesium euxanthate, it was claimed to have been produced from the urine of Indian cows fed only on mango leaves. It has now been replaced by synthetic Indian yellow hue.

So putting the facts about yellow aside, I have spent this last week looking for yellow in my environment. I saw beautiful yellow desert flowers, bringing gentleness and colour to an otherwise arid earth. I saw my son playing with his little yellow truck in his little yellow shorts. I saw my 4yr old daughter colouring in with a freshly sharpened yellow pencil and I saw the sun gently setting to shades of burnt yellows.

So at the end of this week I say well played yellow.  You have opened my heart to your gracefulness and shown me joy. The colour that now comes to mind when I think of my 3 beautiful children.

Well played.


Exploring Colour


Colour is an amazing gift in life. A blessing of visual flavour.

It influences an individual’s perceptions whether they realise it or not.

Colour can be used to attract attention and identify a certain style. A person will generally make an assessment of a brand, object or space within the first 90 seconds and 90% of that will be based on the colours used. It is important however, to note that the psychology of colour can affect different people in different ways. Factors such as age, gender, and culture all play an important role.

We could write for hours upon hours about colour and it’s power and influence, so instead of writing the world’s longest blog post, for the sake you, our reader, we will breaking down the subject bringing you regular doses of related posts to inspire and enlighten you to the depth and beauty it adds to our world, sign-up to follow along.

Lets start at the very structure and core of colour theory.


The Colour Wheel

Our starting point is the 3 primary colours; Red, Yellow, and Blue. These are referred to as primary because they cannot be made by mixing any other colour together. They are the 3 pillars of  all colour.

When you mix equal parts of Red, Blue, and Yellow together you will create Brown, which in the colour world is a neutral mix of colours.

Now when you mix 2 primary colours together in equal parts you will create a secondary colour. The make up the secondary colours are:

Red + Yellow = Orange | Blue + Yellow = Green | Red + Blue = Purple.

Now take it one step further. When you mix an equal part of a primary colour with an equal part of a secondary colour you create a tertiary colour, for example:

Blue + Green = BlueGreen &  Red + Orange = RedOrange

The Colour Wheel

Opposite colours on the colour wheel are referred to as complimentary colours. For example: red is positioned directly opposite the colour green. Green and red are complimentary colours. But why are they called Complimentary colours? Because when you mix equal parts of Red and Green (or Blue + Yellow) together you create  that neutral brown, as we mentioned above. Hence, completing the colour circle, and complimenting each other.

With this knowledge future articles on colour should make a lot more sense. We will learn how colour affects mood, styles, perspectives. We will learn where certain colours derived from and how they were discovered over time. We will teach you how to create colour pallets from ordinary moments in life and what to do with them.

There is definitely more to colour than just first appearances. They have personalities, and should to be known, understood and deeply loved! Can you tell we are passionate about colour? What is your favorite color, how does it make you feel? We would love to hear from you!