|Posted on April 28, 2011 at 8:20 PM|
I was raised Catholic in the 1950s, so most things in my world were black and white then: from the saddle shoes on my feet, to the TV screen in the living room, to the nuns’ habits at Our Lady of Guadalupe Elementary School. There were Rules: Rules of Right and Wrong. Absolute Rules about what You Must Do and what You Must Never Do. It seems very simplistic now, but then it seemed safe. Clear. Already determined.
Yet, it seems that things are seldom so simplistic in the vast universe of human experience. People do their best; icky things happen to good people; the Wonderful World of Disney brings color to the new TV console in the living room. Maybe black and white wasn’t safe, but just drab. This perception of the world made me some what ill-equipped as I grew older to deal with life’s Shades of Greys. Is there more than one way to look at something? Is it wrong to smoke pot if it doesn’t hurt anyone else? Is it wrong to steal food to feed your starving child?
I admit it took me a while to adjust to dealing with the Shades of Grey world (no absolutes, no unqualified surety, interpretation without reference to an Agreed-Upon Truth). It was a gradual transition for me of observing those who moved easily in this other dimension,seeing the depth of their experience, and moving closer to, then over, the black and white line that had defined my world.
I thought I was Very Suave when I began to see the Shades of Grey, to appreciate the complexity of the situations and people around me. So Grown Up. So Urbane. Then gradually I began to perceive the world beyond Grey.
Through art, through humor, through being in touch with my heart center and soul’s desire, I was delighted to see our world is not a gradation of monotones - it’s actually a Range of Rainbows! There are brilliant light and luminous colors all around us! Everywhere I look I see the reflection of laughter, the refraction of inspirations, the hues of nature, the tints of true kindness. The light in people’s eyes, the glittering giggle of a child, the burnished vibration of a cat’s purr, the dazzling dance of a rock and roll beat. These are the polychromatic realities that surround us. The full range of colors describes the fullness of human experience: fiery red and sultry orange, moody blue and ocean sparkle, screaming yellow and soothing lemon. From ultraviolet to infrared, I breathe in the variety and excitement of everyday life.
I believe my safe beginning in a black-and-white understanding nurtured my budding soul, allowed me to follow my heart’s journey, and took me to a place where I now stand breathless with appreciation for the prismatic beauty around me. I took off my Shades of Grey shades, colored outside the black-and-white lines and dove eye-first into the breathtaking kaleidoscope that exists in all of us!
Colleen O'Grady began drawing on the walls at a very young age and, to her parents' relief, started drawing on other people's walls after earning a degree in fine arts. She brings her love of canvas, clay and crayons to her clients’ environments with a special focus on the Art of the Unexpected. O'Grady Custom Art’s work is on display in dental practices, law offices, retail businesses and private homes.
Visit her website to see her highly loved duck bottoms (on the ceiling!) that inspire coloring outside the lines in any room.