Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union Veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30th. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.*
As you celebrate this weekend be sure to take a moment to remember those who have made this day, now a three day weekend, possible.
*Office of Public Affairs
I've been busy making a few updates to my website while you were sleeping.
I finally added the capability for you to sign up for my newsletter. This is something that will go out once a month. And I hope it will be something that you will look forward to. I will always be open to your suggestions if there is information you would like to see in the newsletter or even in my blog. Audience participation can be a good and fun thing. Look at the right hand column here for the sign up box and add your name to the list!
I've also added some new galleries to better sort out my photographs in a more logical manner. This should expedite the process when you are looking for specific types of pictures. Check them out and let me know what you think. I added Monochrome for flowers and plants, Landscapes and Seascapes, and Still Life.
Let me know what you think of the changes and if you would like to see other categories for the galleries.
All this talk about color, but what do we really know about it or the terminology tied to it?
Let's take a look at some of the terminology first.
Hue: is a color, dependent on its dominate wave length.
Shade: is a color with regard to how dark it is; a color mixed with black.
Tint: a color with regard to how light it is; a color mixed with light.
Chroma: how pure a hue (color) is in relationship to gray.
Saturation: the degree of purity of a hue (color).
Intensity: This has a relationship to shades and tints. You can lower the intensity by adding white or black.
Luminance or value: This is a measure of the amount of light reflected from a hue (color).
Color is basically a characteristic of light we describe by a color name. Light is composed of many colors. We see the visible spectrum that consists of red, orange,yellow, green, blue, and violet. That happens is that objects absorb certain wavelengths and then reflect others back to our eyes. We see these wavelengths as color. We use the previously defined terminology to describe the color we see.
It seems so much easier to just go to the store and pick out a paint card of the color you want. But it helps when decorating a home, business or any space, to have a brief understanding of color and the words that we use to describe it.
I've written a great deal about the benefits to healing when patients are exposed to nature and nature-based artwork in hospitals. My interest comes from personal experience. I had the misfortune of becoming ill as a child and had several surgeries over time. I was young, alone in a room in this large building that smelled awful. All I had to look at were walls and a TV. I was terrified.
Whether you are a child or an adult hospitals are basically inhospitable. They are generally cold, smell of illness and disinfectant and the walls are almost always painted in a cold blue or green tint. Nothing in that combination is soothing or stress reducing.
Research has been done since the 1990s that gives us strong evidence supporting the importance of nature and the use of virtual nature in our healing process. I have never needed research to tell me how much better I feel when I can see nature. But it is nice to have the backing of science to help us do better.
Our bodies need energy to heal. Stress takes away that energy. Being ill and in the hospital brings its own special brand of stress. Imagine being able to look out of your hospital room window and see trees or flowers, maybe even a bird feeder. Imagine being told that for your physical therapy you need to walk so many feet, but instead of lines and numbers on the floor or wall to mark this off, this distance is marked by artwork. So when asked how far you walked you can tell your nurse or doctor that you walked to the yellow flowers. What a difference that could make just in your motivation to be able to see the flowers. The beauty in nature cause us to wonder. Wonder brings our imagination into play. This results in our feeling more positive.
A few years ago had to visit a hospital many times over many months for someone else. On the main entry floor and in the common areas they had beautiful photographs of trees, flowers, mountains; nature in all aspects decorated the walls. But the moment you left that main floor and moved up to the patient floors and rooms the artwork was gone.
We need to move the artwork from the main floor and visiting areas and into the patients rooms and hallways. As a society we need to embrace the healing power that nature has to offer.
Art has the power to change the mood or feel of a room. It has the power to change our mood and perspective when we walk into a room.
Stop and look around where you are right now. Do you see any photos on the walls? No? Then close your eyes for a moment and imagine a photo of your favorite place or of a delicate rose. Give it a minute or two and slowly you will start to feel better. That is the transformative power of art.
Art on the walls of any room any where can make you stop and think, to reflect on that piece of art and what it depicts and what it means to you. We become filled with wonder when we stop to view works of art. Wonder awakens our imagination. That is powerful.
The colors in the photo can also impact the mood of a room as well as your own mood or temperament. You know the colors that you like and that make you happy. These should be the colors reflected in your home furnishings and artworks. A photo filled with red can energize the room. Blues will create a feeling of calm. The warm colors of yellow and orange will bring feelings of happiness and vitality. You get the point; artwork and colors within the artwork will have an influence on the mood of your room.
Let the rooms in your home and even your space in the office reflect you. Consider how the photos you choose will impact and even change that mood of that space. Decorate with that in mind. How will your rooms make you feel?
My wish would be that no one would ever need to spend time in a hospital. I've been there, and even with the best of nurses and doctors, hospitals are drab, unwelcoming and scary.
There is an ever growing body of research that supports the theory that specific types of art work used to decorate a hospital can speed up the healing process. One study sponsored by Eli Lily showed that patients preferred to see art on the walls. But it needs to be the right genre of art. When surveyed the preferred to see landscapes, and animals, scenes of everyday life with abstract images coming in as the least preferred. Abstract art is ambiguous and is often interpreted negatively, especially if you are under stress, as you would be in a hospital.
The idea of the importance of art to well-being and the benefits in health care design is not new. Research has been conducted for several decades. The past decade has seen a rise in more therapeutic design of health care facilities. Art work can be used not only to be aesthetically pleasing but to also produce a calming atmosphere. It can be used to inspire and to help orient patients to their surroundings.
I am hoping to see research that shows we can use art work to keep us out of hospitals. If we can use it to calm us in our homes at the end of a long day or in office settings to provide calmness at work it would stand to reason that it would benefit our health. Maybe by meditating on a nature scene we can lower our blood pressure. I've said it before and I think it bears repeating, go for a walk in the park, decorate you home with calming photos to help you stay healthy. But if you do need to go into a hospital I hope it is one that uses art to create an environment that will help in your healing process.
About the only thing to rival the beauty of a sunset is the beauty of a sunrise. Both are beautiful. Both are filled with beautiful energizing and calming colors. To view either one fills us with energy, joy, and hope.
Some people rarely see a sunrise in person because they aren't morning people or they have no reason to be up that early. Lucky for those people there are photographers willing to be out in the early hours to capture those sunrises.
Is it any wonder that we are drawn to these events at the beginning and end of each day? The color orange encourages contemplative thought. Yellow is stimulating. Indigo leads us to a clarity of awareness. Magenta improves our feelings of self confidence and red gives a feeling of security. The varying combinations of these colors combined make sunrises and sunsets powerful moments. We stand in awe, drink them in and walk away the better for it.
Bringing these colors into our homes in some way can have positive effects on us daily. We can drink in their stimulation with our eyes every day. Hang a photograph of your favorite sunrise or sunset in your home. Bring the colors in with paint or other accents. For your inspiration in finding color combinations for your home I am sharing with you an inspirational palette card featuring one of my favorite sunsets. Click on the palette card to see other inspirational palette cards with photos.
Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, marks the Mexican Army's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 during the Franco - Mexican War.
In the United States this has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Many town in the S will have parades and street festivals. Prominent in the displays and decorations will be the colors of the Mexican flag, green, white and red. Green for hope, white for Unity and red representing the blood of heroes.
If you celebrate be sure to include the colors of the flag in your celebration decor.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Nature Deficit Disorder is not an actual medical diagnosis. Rather it is a phrase that Richard Low coined in 2005. But it does aptly describe how our brains and bodies are reacting to a disconnect from nature. And it is also something that is being recognized and addressed worldwide.
What are other countries doing to help their populations connect with nature and de-stress? East of Seoul, South Korea is the Saneum Healing Forest, complete with health rangers and wooden platforms for yoga. This is one of three healing forests, but 34 more are planned by 2017.
Both Japan and Germany have versions of natural therapy requiring patients to either walk for extended periods through forests. In Japan this is referred to as forest bathing. In Germany they practice Kneipp therapy which involves exercising in clearings within the forests.
We can give ourselves our own form of nature therapy on a small scale in our homes. Homes with numerous or large windows to let in an abundance of natural light are great. Houseplants and photographs of nature scenes are another way we can easily incorporate nature into our daily lives. Scheduling time to take a walk in a local park or just get out into your yard, if you have one, can give you a mini nature break too.
If you are working with or if your are an Interior Designer incorporating some aspect of nature into your designs can be included in your plans. However you do it find some easy ways to bring de-stressing elements into your home.
Hi. I am Cheryl of Cheryl Day Photography. Stay tuned for my regular blog posts to keep you updated on what I am doing.