I’ve recently developed an obsession with color — what a gorgeous, fascinating topic! It makes me so happy to learn about color.
One reason I love studying color is that it helps me notice the world. I tend to walk around very absent-mindedly; I hardly see anything around me. For me to be present in the moment, and to connect with the world, I need a hook.
Looking at colors is one great hook, and there are many others, too:
- Notice colors — I push myself to notice the color of the sky; the contrast between the orange cone and the gray sidewalk.
- Look in a mirror — things look different in a mirror.
- Look at a picture of an object. Jamaica Kincaid wrote “Why is a picture of something real eventually more exciting than the thing itself?” A question that haunts me. Related…
- Look at an object alongside a picture of it. I heard about this strategy as a way of appreciating art more. Buy a postcard of an artwork, then study the artwork while you hold up the postcard. I’m dying to try this.
- Pretend to be a journalist — journalists notice things in a different way. Similarly…
- Pretend to be a tourist. Look at the shop windows! How people line up for the bus! What are people wearing?
- Draw — this one doesn’t appeal to me, but many people swear by it.
- Go someplace new — I’ve lived in my New York City neighborhood for more than a decade, and still I sometimes stumble onto a street I swear I’ve never walked before.
- Return to a familiar place after a long time away — go back to your old school; stop into the grocery store where you shopped when you lived in your old house. Fascinating.
- Imagine that you have guests coming to stay for the weekend — a great way to see your home in a new way. Along the same lines…
- Imagine that you will sell your house — you see it through the eyes of a judgmental stranger
- Notice contrasts, when two worlds are juxtaposed –school-children on a sidewalk in front of a business; a horse-and-buggy clopping down the highway
- Look with a child — it’s such a sentimental cliche to say it, but children really do see the world with fresh eyes.