The Color of a Haiku

Last weekend I was sitting in my studio (which is also my office, living space and dining room) staring at nothing in particular, not really thinking too very much at all, but just enough to be conscious that the end of another weekend had arrived. All was quiet and the early evening light outside created a soft haze in my room. I was looking at the blinds, the table, the white brick wall and the little red chair. I subtly thought about how the tones and colors summed up what was then the here and now: quiet in the minimal amount of color, a bit of grey in the lack of ambition I was feeling to do anything constructive and a punch of red that was me in the midst of this moment. And in the back of my mind I could hear Liz Lamoreux asking me, “What color is your afternoon?” In her book, Inner Excavation, Liz uses prompts like this to help us capture ourselves in words, photos and art. Having the cognizance to record the answer to this question (not even knowing what I would do with the answer), I snapped a photo of what I’d been staring at, and then used my ColorSchemer app to pull a palette from the picture. I called it Sunday Afternoon.

Color by COLOURlovers

I remained quiet for the rest of that day and tried not to get down on myself for being nonproductive. Everything is temporary and the next day I was inspired to use my new palette to express my previous afternoon in paint on canvas. When the paint was dry, I was studying the colors, shapes, and overall feeling and many of the areas on the canvas seemed . . . well, excuse the cliché, but, poetic. That term led my mind to the word haiku, and I decided to try a fun experiment. One, write a haiku from what I felt about looking at a particular area of the canvas (this was inspired by the fact that I’m currently working on a book with Katie Kendrick called Layered Impressions and in the book, Katie shows us how to let poetry inspire our artwork, as well as how to let our artwork inspire a poem), and two, take a haiku I had previously written and find a spot on the canvas that I felt could represent that poem.

After finding the two little sections on the canvas that I wanted to use, I tore them out and created folded cards to frame the little swatches. I used watercolor in a couple of my palette colors to write the haikus around the windows to the swatches.

This was a very fun activity and I love how I not only captured a piece of my Sunday, but also discovered the color of a haiku.

To learn more from Liz about other ways to capture your heres and nows, check out her book. To hear Katie talk about her forthcoming book, check out the podcast Ricë did with her recently.

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