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Add some colour to your life

painting of birch trees

I dug my paints out yesterday. I can't believe how much I missed them.

Around the time we closed the bakery, I took a watercolour painting class at the community arts centre. I thought watercolour would be the easiest way to start painting. Little did I know it's one of the more complex media to work with. Ah well, I was having fun and it was easy to clean up afterwards.

Painting: Sunrise over Wascana Lake

Sunrise over Wascana Lake

You see, I had to get used to the idea that I could 'do' art. I used to love drawing and painting but it was never encouraged. During my grade 5 parent/teacher interview, my Mom and my teacher sharing a laugh over how all the people in my drawings were big and boxy. My grade 9 art teacher, after looking at one assignment, told me that it was OK, not everyone could do art. I didn't draw anything other than the odd doodle for, oh, 35 years or so.

But I was always drawn to colour. I actually asked for a programming job in the late '80s when all I really knew about it was the project was written in a language called IDEAL and the terminal interface was in colour. It looked cool to me. I spent three years on the project working for Curt Smith, a good friend and mentor to this day.

screenshot of vs-code

Modern code editors: colourful fun!

Whenever I describe my corporate days and am feeling uncharitable, I talk about working in a beige cubicle. As opposed to my bakery which I named Orange Boot and had bright orange walls and a gorgeous pink counter. I miss my yellow mixer so much. Colour matters to me.

Colour (and taste, of course!) is why I fully bake my bread. Why have a dull beige loaf when it can be a myriad of colours from bright gold to dark umber? Last weekend I baked polenta and pumpkin seed loaves and one loaf had a hunk of bright yellow polenta gleaming like a jewel on the end of the loaf. Stunning! I had to resist the urge to hold that loaf back for myself.

Back at the MotherCorp, colour was a frill. An extra. An added expense that no self respecting manager could justify. As one VP told me, vanilla is a very popular flavour.

But what if colour is the difference maker? What if a splash of colour, literally or figuratively, made you and your work special, sought after and uniquely you?

It could be that little spark of joy that makes your day special or the magical property that makes your product amazing.

Sure, do good work. Help people. Make the world better. But please, don't forget the colour.

How are you bringing colour to your life and work? Let's chat about it in the comments.