It’s fair to assume that people wonder about the process an artisan goes through to gain inspiration when faced with a vast empty space, an empty canvas or a block or marble. I recently did a color consultation at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, in Newport Beach, CA, with Pastor Brian Eckelmann. What initially struck me about its gorgeous campus is the large community presence that’s been created with the neighborhood and its congregation. Here are some insights on the challenging process I would encounter in providing color advice for their huge sanctuary that had recently been remodeled.
When I walked into that space for the first time and had to think about what colors should be used, ‘I had to become one with the space itself’. The client doesn’t like the current color scheme, finds little pleasure in it, and feels like it’s not serving its purpose. In his vast space, I sense a great deal of stillness; ‘still as a church mouse’ would be a good way to describe it. My thought process progressed to ‘ethereal’; I wanted to create something ethereal that brought the outside – inside – for here where a ceiling might have been is a gigantic open sky light where parishioners can see the clouds in the sky; that was it – I wanted to bring that sky inside.
The carpets, pews and wood tones had already been finished, but felt heavy with lots of grays and steely cool colors. I started to think about how to bring that beautiful ethereal sky inside to the people who will be sitting there. I imagine this as a room of transformation; peoples’ lives can be changed in this magnificent space. What should it look like, represent, and feel for the individuals worshiping there?
I asked the pastor how he thought people should feel while there, but he couldn’t really articulate it. Then, I had the epiphany standing in that huge, open, free space. People entering this sanctuary should ‘feel like they’re walking into a little slice of heaven’. So, that’s what I’m setting out to do – to recommend a color palette that will conjure up a parishioner’s first reaction when walking through its doors. “I’ve just walked into a little slice of heaven”.