Summer, my favorite season,  has arrived together  with the brilliance of our natural surroundings. All of my life, I  have gravitated towards bright colors and therefore, because of my awareness of them, colors have been around me all my life.  They have stimulated my imagination as well as given me feelings of joy and optimism.. My art comes largely from my appreciation of the intensity of color and the emotionally uplifting effect that their brightness radiates. So, why is it that color, my essential fuel, carbonless, reliable, ever-renewable and naturally abundant, stokes my energy and makes me tick?

Colors, with their many luminous and scintillating hues, are invigorating, restorative and exhilarating. Colors are healing. They are also mood-enhancers and much-needed antidotes to melancholy. With their contrasts, dynamism, unity, repose and tranquility, colors can complement and awaken the emotional potential that dwells within us. I choose to dwell in a world of colors. They envelope me and inform my creative output. Why not invite an abundance of color into your life as well?

In my painting “Zenscape Gone Wild” I used acrylic paints, mixed media on an archival mat board. I depicted the lush fertility of an environmentally healthy land.

Zenscape Gone Wild Painting

Zenscape Gone Wild
By Ellen Palestrant

For my painting titled “Waterworld” depicting a world brimming with life and motion beneath the sea, I used brilliant, phosphorescent colors. Why do fluorescent colors arrest my attention? I think it is because they are flamboyant, bodacious, conspicuous, vibrant and brilliant. “Look at me, look at me!” they beckon and I do. Yet, I use them sparingly in my paintings – just a hint at times for brightness, surprise and emotional impact. The color green, too, has a central role in this painting. Green is a symbol of energy, fertility, new life, and growth. Plus, there are so many variations of the color green from which I can choose when I paint! There are so many different hues of green in our natural environment!

Waterworld Painting

By Ellen Palestrant

Beneath the Sea,  an acrylics and ink on canvas painting, I used largely pastel-colored paints in blues, pink, coral, green and yellow. I depict a scene deep within the ocean. I wanted to capture the delicate beauty of healthy, living coral and sea vegetation. This painting is available as prints of many kinds (canvas prints, framed prints, metal prints, posters – the list goes on). The painting is also available in all manner of home decor: duvets, shower curtains, pillows, blankets, towels, coffee mugs, I used a few dabs of fluorescent paint, too. It is interesting to note that the phosphorescence-fluorescent-affect seen in the ocean, or anywhere in nature, depends on the amount of light available, that is the quantity of light that the fluorescent pigments absorb. Daylight has a good deal of ultraviolet energy and so you will observe the intensity of the fluorescent colors, but you will observe little when those wavelengths are less present.

Beneath the Sea Painting

Beneath The Sea
By Ellen Palestrant

Phosphorescence also results from the emitted light that glows, but phosphorescence lasts longer than fluorescence because the molecules are structurally different. Phosphorescence will glow in the dark.

Think of the creatures you have seen in the dark. The reason they are visible to you is because of their own bio-luminescence. Think of the breath-taking underwater life, corals that glow with such intensity. I think of the hundreds of glow-worms I saw in the grottos in limestone caves in Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand. They were dazzling in the darkness. Think of fireflies. And think of your own fluorescent highlighter markers! I have yellow, pink, green, blue and orange markers and love the fact that that they glow in a dark room with an ultraviolet light.

I have fun experimenting with the range of fluorescent and phosphorescent paints commercially available: Fluorescent Chartreuse, Fluorescent Magenta and Phosphorescent Green are examples. They are brighter than standard pigments and because of their high chroma, I use them for emphasis and contrast. However, I use them sparingly.

I do love color – all colors – though some I prefer to others. I enjoy bright colors because of their intensity and vibrancy, and because, as Edvard Munch says: “The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.”

Just as in summer, “the inner power of nature” radiates and vibrates color, so can we be the providers of color to our own lives if we look for opportunities. There are many ways that we can make our lives and those of others colorful rather than colorless. We can seek the vibrant, purposeful, brilliant, translucent, effervescent spectrums within us rather than settle for opaque, dull, incurious and paddocked states of mind.

Colors are not fixed in time or space and nor are we. Just like diamonds that are for the most part colorless when not tinged with other hues, so can we reflect and  color our world with a multitude of luminous tones – evanescent, rainbow-tinged life-experiences. Like artist Paul Klee, we can also unite ourselves with color – if we choose to do so. Klee said: “Color possesses me…Color and I are one. I am a painter.” And you, too, can stir and mix the many potential colorations of your life into unexpected shades of vibrancy, integrating them, one alchemic brushstroke after another, into your habitual thinking.

Can you imagine a world without rainbow colors – without red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and without that beautiful violet-purple at its end? British novelist and playwright Dorothy Sayers said,: “The worst sin – perhaps the only sin – passion can commit is to be joyless.”
I discuss the  feelings of joy I experience when creating in HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HUNCH: The Importance of Creative Thinking:
Ever since I was a child, I have felt an anticipatory excitement before beginning something creative. Even today, my fingers still literally tingle before I start, and this sensation is usually accompanied by feelings of joy, expectation and optimism. It would be hard for me to be severed from the creative process.” And therefore, I will continue to imagine, paint and write about fantastical, luminous, joyful worlds of brilliant colors – environments replete with flowing hues! How about you? Some advice about entering the creative process from my book, The World of Glimpse.


from your mind

all you know.



will unwind your flow.



a glimpse –

without intention,

You’ll step

into a world

from a new dimension.

If you shut your eyes,

you’ll hear

some cosmic verse…