In my business, I occasionally get to work with very talented creative people with whom I have collaborated, who have keen and amazing color and design sensibilities, and are warmly responsive to my opinions.  When they work for others, they can produce handsome and modern sleek designs with elevated color palettes.  However, when they are designing and decorating spaces for their own use, emotions can create quite a barrier to finding the right solutions.

In one particular case, I was working with a highly talented artisan on a personal family residence.  Having worked with this client for quite a while, I had grown skilled at anticipating his thinking and direction. When asked for recommendations for a color for the exterior, I deftly mixed a paint shade ‘on a dime’ when asked; that led to my nuancing 15 different versions of that  particular color employing every range of tint to shade.  In the end, a decision was made – we almost went full circle selecting one of the very first shades developed.

The revelation here is that selecting color can be an extremely emotional decision even for the most highly trained artisans like my client and myself.  We sometimes have so much energy invested in our thought process about what colors mean to us that it blocks our ability to see color objectively, to remember how and where it will be used, and how it will be applied. As is the case in many professions and life situations – when we overthink something or allow our emotions to override objectivity – we hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’ and get stopped dead our tracks.

As we have shared in our articles and newsletters, color has meaning in culture – and can vary from culture to culture.  Color can also carry a stigma if its use isn’t necessarily supported by cultural norms – as is the case of black in Islamic culture.  Sometimes, I think when one skilled artisan with a strong set of views is working with another one of like mindset, it’s best to bring in a skilled and observant third party expert to weigh in objectively and serve as the ‘tie breaker’.  In art as in life, we sometimes get so close to things, it becomes ‘hard to see the forest for the trees’.