Following on from my previous colour posts, it seems a natural transition, if you follow the rainbow or the chakras, to move to Orange after Red. It’s a jump in terms of the more formal colour circle where Red sits in the centre next to Blue and Yellow as the Primary colours; the ones you cannot create by mixing and without which no other colours could be created. For these reasons perhaps, primaries can come across as so very absolute, unique, pure and unequivocal...
So today I will be sharing some ideas around the Compassion of Orange as a vehicle for Transformation and Creativity. Think about it, this is a very powerful concept: without compassion no transformation or creativity can occur. Compassion is the opposite of judgement and brings about an allowing and liberating spaciousness to occur where creativity can thrive. Compassion is perhaps the attitude most needed in the world today.
Compassion is one of the central concepts in Buddhist philosophy. So it comes as no surprise that Buddhist monks wear orange robes. This is also true of other Asian religions. The word for orange in India and China derives from saffron, which is the most expensive dye in the area. Krishna is often seen dressed in yellow-orange. In Confucianism, orange is the color of transformation. Orange can also signify the quest for knowledge and symbolises the highest state of illumination.
But can colours really evoke emotions?
D.H. Lawrence, the famous English novelist who suffered from depression said: “I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred orange and scrub the floor.” It isn’t hard to imagine that looking at sunlight filtering through jars of orange marmalade on a kitchen window ledge, could lift the spirit. It is not the sort of advice you find in self-help books but it obviously worked for Lawrence. He said he had discovered the humour in life’s ironies. Things always changed, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, he said, and making marmalade was his way of allowing his mind to accept that life was an unknown quantity.
When Orange is paired with blue, its opposite on the colour circle, they complement (and compliment) each other. Each one is more vibrantly itself in the other’s presence.
Claude Monet, “Grainstack” (1891)
Orange combines the Passion of Red as well as the Individualism of Yellow so it appears warm and understanding of the frailties of the human psyche. If you look at the two details of Rembrandt’s paintings, made towards the end of his life, “The Jewish Bride” (1667) and “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (1668), we see orange supporting gestures of forgiveness, compassion and empathy with the Other (be it the errant son or the new bride). And hands and their gestures are the vehicles to make these overtures towards another human being. Hands that hold, embrace, touch, imprint themselves and are the agents of creativity and transformation.
I could ramble on a lot longer about Orange but will take my own medicine of “less is more” and leave you with these few images and thoughts.
Have a beautiful rest of the week!
Rembrandt van Rijn Detail from “The Prodigal Son” (c. 1661–1669)
Rembrandt van Rijn Detail from “The Jewish Bride” (c. 1665 - 1669)
Mehrangarh Fort,Jodhpur city, Rajasthan