Nature has given many artists great inspiration. From the landscapes of Constable to the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keefe, we have celebrated the amazing gifts of the creator in the form of brooding landscapes and flowers bursting into joyous bloom. In earlier centuries, the painting workshops made their colours from mineral deposits, nature being an intrinsic ingredient of the painting itself. Lapis Lazuli was used to make the most beautiful bright blue: sulphur-bearing minerals offered yellows and 'verdigris' green was derived from deposits of copper. Cinnabar crystals gave a rich red vermilion and this, along with many others, meant that art was reserved for the elite as many of these pigments cost almost their weight in gold! Thankfully things have changed.
During lockdown we started on a new range, one that celebrated life in an explosion of colour. The brighter the better! We wanted to add a few to each category and it is still an ongoing process. So far the feedback has been extremely positive - it seems that many people are touched by bright colours and can feel the joy that comes from them - Joy of Life! Colour has been a subject of fascination for millennia. In 1810, Goethe wrote his Theory of Colours in which he linked colour categories to emotional responsiveness. Other conceptual statements about colour and psychological functioning have focused on general associations that people have to colours but the general consensus is that bright colours convey happy responses!
Being in lockdown for so long has taught many of us to appreciate life and the small things more. Living in a green belt area, it was amazing to see how many people were suddenly flocking over the fields and countryside. Being an avid walker with my dogs through the years, you get to see the same familiar faces out walking. Now we were seeing people (and dogs) we had never seen around the village! People seemed to realise the beauty that had always been on their doorstep, and the enforced stay-at-home rule meant that they needed to find an outlet for exercise and activity to prevent the boredom. The stunning weather that was gifted to us last year made everything seem brighter and beautiful. Nature does seem to look it's best when the sun is shining.
I think many people have found a new 'Joy of life' over the last 12 months. Fathers got to spend quality time with their children on an extended 'holiday' that helped many to realise that work and material things really weren't that important. During this time, many made life changing decisions to change direction in life so that they could free up more time and start to enjoy their lives in more important ways. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make people sit up and re-evaluate their lives and the people they share it with.
So, we are going to be celebrating life with colour throughout this year. There will be glorious images of nature displaying God's abundant gifts and celebrating all happy occasions from bright Christian Birthday cards, like these displayed above, to Priest Anniversary of Ordination Cards with calligraphic Scripture quotes weaved into the designs. If this lockdown has taught us anything, it is to enjoy the simple things in life, the things that don't cost us any money, like spending time with close family members and special friends. Taking walks in nature (that is often much closer to home than you realise) and delighting in all of God's beautiful, natural creations - all these things will add to your Joy of Life and bring you a life of joy.
If you adore colour and God's beautiful earth as much as we do, then you will just love this stunning nature video which is such a celebration and explosion of colour of the natural world. Shot in Ultra HD the colours just leap out of the screen at you!