An advert for paint played on the telly all the time while we were in England:
A couple, newly-married, happily painting their bedroom a bright red. They close the bedroom door, and when it opens again, a second later, several years have passed and the room is now a blur of children jumping on the bed, pets howling, and the frazzled parents, with paintbrushes and a can of white paint, frantically painting over the red walls.
Last weekend, I painted our red walls grey. I painted the beige hall grey. The week before, we painted the green kitchen grey. Over the past few months, I've been sewing grey covers for our red cushions. Slowly, slowly, our home is becoming a place of peace and refuge -- a backdrop to the colour we want to add, rather than an overflowing box of paints into which we have fallen.
A few weeks ago, I found this card in a lovely shop in Bryan. "Colour Study of Whole Heartedness," by Karen Horney. Though the colours this artist chose don't capture my sense of whole-heartedness (I don't think there's even a spot of green or purple in my heart), I love the idea of conveying an abstract value or emotion through colour.
And as I imagine calmness, displayed the same way in Pantone shades, it is so much simpler. Not thirty-six shades, small and squeezed in, but perhaps simply four swatches -- a bright white, a cloudy-summer-in-England grey, a moody charcoal, and a red that sings -- each floating in white space, free to breathe.