Red is the new taupe

Or is it ‘pink is the new black.’ No, I think ‘orange is the new gray’, saw it in a magazine the other day.

I’m not one to follow fashion trends, at least not too closely. But there is no doubt that color has a profound impact on us. Well, you know! It’s been black and white for quite a while now. It might make for some great photography but it doesn’t do a whole lot for the pysche.

Color affects our emotional state. Our physical reaction to various colors is well documented. For instance, you walk into a furniture store having previously decided that a taupe couch is what you need. You come around the corner and there it is – a quirky red ‘cuddler’ sectional. Can you image it, plunking down the bucks for a red couch?  What do you say? “No way! Are you insane? I’d never buy a red couch.” Or “I love it! Just the thing to get me through the winter, it’s perfect!”


yellow tulips


In Maine we are painfully aware of the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am beginning to think it is more than the lack of light that affects us. Perhaps there is a color component to the disorder. If color can have an effect on those with brain disorders or emotional difficulties what can it do for us in Northern climates? See Color Therapy and Color Healing.

Yellow tulips and salmon vase

Yellow tulips and salmon vase

To that end, let’s experiment. Make it a point to head to town this week and buy something colorful. It doesn’t have to be as large as a red couch. Perhaps a bit of fabric to cover some pillows or yellow tulips for the kitchen counter. When I think color I think Jill Caldwell’s paintings and George Pearlman’s pottery. The addition of either works of art would sure make a room.

Single gerber daisy

Single gerbera daisy

Even a single pink gerbera daisy can lift one’s spirit.

Pink gerber daisy

Pink gerbera daisy

A stop at the garden center is essential for me this time of year. As I step into the greenhouse, the sight of seedlings being planted draws me in. The dark, rich potting soil has an aroma that rivals coffee. There is a chemical change that occurs in my brain as I sneak over and run my fingers through the dirt. After absorbing as much green as I possibly can, I greedily grab the most beautiful bunch of tulips with the strongest color.

Ahhh, spring will come. That’s what they tell me. Maybe I will make it until April after all.

For a daily infusion of color follow Xanthe Berkeley on Instagram.

Karen Olson

About Karen Olson

Karen Olson is a photographer, writer, and artist working in metal. Her blogs offer a global perspective, a celebration of art and culture. She 'lives like a tourist' in Midcoast Maine where she makes her home and finds inspiration for art and life in her travels. Follow her creative passion with Renuko Style at and Coastal Collage, a Bangor Daily News Blog at Karen's photography portfolio can be found at