Exploring Color Awareness and Pushing New Boundaries

by Tom Parish

January 1, 2015

(copied from Tom’s blog Color Talk)

INTO THE DEPTHS_by Leanne Venier_ScreenSaver1920X1280_1

One of my personal and professional quests as a media colorist is working with storytellers in exploring color awareness in their scenes, characters, and story lines. This includes the awareness of light, too, but for now I’ll refer to the two as one and the same. Of the dozens of films I have color corrected and graded, generally with first-time filmmakers, rarely have I found one where the filmmaker had given any thought to how color is being used in their film. I have wondered about this for years, then I realized that the best place for me to start is to understand the influences of color in myself.

I needed to understand my own feelings and experiences of color and light more deeply, so I embarked on this opportunity to take Healing Colors Creativity & Flow Workshop, which is based on color and light and how that impacts our lives emotionally and psychologically.

From a simplistic perspective I understand how color influences our buying habits, our cultural mannerisms, and other rather fixed notions of color for commercial enterprises. I had not considered how color and light could play a part in my ability to understand creative flow and how that impacted my own business.

Let me provide some commentary here. We tend to think of color as secondary in nature. Use of color comes after we have figured out what we’re coloring and in what context. Perhaps you have seen on the Internet those color psychology quizzes that say pick a color and it tells you what kind of person you are. It’s as though once you pick a color, that’s it. But this could not be farther from the truth because as humans our emotions are constantly evolving, and once we become more aware of color and light in our lives I believe what is revealed to us are powerful healing energies for our bodies and minds.

Leanne_Venier with Ageless_Boundless_Timeless_by Peter LakewaySML

I had been following the news about this course – Leanne Venier’s Healing Colors Creativity & Flow Workshop. I realized she was holding the course nearby so I made a commitment to attend back in September.

This was the promise for Leanne’s course:

“Flow” is a term coined by the famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to indicate a Meditative, Right Brain, Heightened State of Awareness & Expanded State of Consciousness, which brings about:

  • Enhanced Creativity
  • Physical & Emotional Healing
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Peak Performance in Business & Sports
  • Improving your Relationships
  • Tapping into your own Inner Wisdom & Intuition
  • Rapid & Accurate Insights into problems or challenges you may be facing in your business, personal life, or health

I had some concerns about this course being rather woo-woo in nature, taught by someone so caught up in enlightenment that their feet floated off the ground. I jest here, but this was on my mind. The truth is, Leanne’s course was a reflection of her own groundedness in the reality of everyday life. She is that rare breed of human as teacher who combines the best of an engineer’s mind with that of an artist’s mind, all with a desire to help others find their greatest talents themselves. I felt right at home with the way she led the course.

Here is what I learned from the course and how it impacts my business as a creative. I was taught a simple way to find a creative moment in my day to set my mind free. I realize that’s not a unique idea but it’s one worth remembering and, as Leanne says, setting a discipline in place to help yourself grow can be easy. Inner growth, she says, is about finding and exploring sacred moments of flow. Leanne helped each person in the class fully understand the importance of finding time to experience this inner flow.

Here is what I experience by ‘getting into the flow’ daily by practicing the techniques that Leanne teaches.



It’s like I walk into a new, ever-expanding exploratorium of ideas in my mind. Many of those ideas have been hanging there in my subconscious just waiting to be noticed or associated with something going on in myself, but I wasn’t aware of it yet. I subscribe to the notion that I am what I think I am. Suddenly I started realizing life is a lot bigger and wider in its influence (and vice versa) as I found this new way to tap into my subconscious thinking.

The first exercises we did with Leanne felt like a penny dropped. After she helped with interpreting my particular use of color on the drawing I created, I realized something very intimate that was holding me back in being more expressive about some personal issues that seemed to impact my professional life. What was interesting was observing that once I had all this out in some form of color patterns – inside, around, and even the outline of the drawing – I realized I could let it go now. Then I could see answers to how to move forward with the insight.

There are specific reasons for everything Leanne does. During the course I began to realize the finesse of her delivery of these ideas. The use of drawing and colors as tools for finding your creative flow is ingenious, and you get why that is so as you listen to her talk and allow yourself to experience what she has on offer.

So after I had the initial ‘ah-has’ around some personal issues that emerged, I just let go more fully on the second exercise and noticed a kind of giddy excitement. That was huge. I was beginning to sense the ‘feeling’ of being in my creative flow. This is what I wanted to learn, and this is what I want to bring to other media creators.

In the weeks that followed this short but powerful course, I continued to practice the idea of setting aside a spot of time for myself along with my large pad of white paper and coloring instruments (crayons, pencils, markers … whatever is handy). I close my eyes, breathe and relax, and just let myself have that time for myself, and the rest just flows as to what colors I’ll choose and why and what ends up on the page. Looking back at what I drew reminds me of my insights for every session. Those new understandings and insights are there, hanging in that unique image, so I do not have to pick up a pen or a computer and start writing. It’s all there a day later, a week later. That part is just pure magic to me, and I am so thankful to find this.

Currently I just sit down, rest my hands on the table, and breathe. What comes up comes up, and it never fails that something is there for me. I reach for a color to draw with and the rest just seems like a blur for a while. After some time spent reviewing what was put down on the paper, I refer to the handouts from Leanne. Then I realize I have another piece of insight to move my business forward. New ideas for marketing, new ways to understand client issues, new insights around creating “LOOKS” with, versus for, filmmakers. For me, understanding color has helped me understand the key to collaboration with others in the creative process. As I expected, it all starts with me, and from there the rest changes.

As we continue into this 21st century, I expect we’ll see more and more businesses of all types focusing on these kinds of exercises because in the end the machines will be doing the dreary work. It’s the humans who will be required to do the creative work. You cannot manufacture creative work nor can creative work always be done 8-5. I can imagine Leanne’s insights of light and colors and how they impact our lives being shared as a secret weapon for architectural teams, ad firms, design firms, even sales teams wanting to truly gain the competitive edge.

Creativity is the higher currency of this new economy. Go to this course and see for yourself.

Tom’s Follow-up Assessment and how His Life and Business Shifted after taking the Creative Flow Workshop

Learning about how color and light impact our body and mind – the most impactful live workshop I attended in 2014 was with Leanne Venier, and I have a lot to share about that experience.  Her workshop helped me learn how to interact directly with color in ways I had not considered.

What’s Next for Color Talk? I am shifting the focus of Color Talk to be more about color, light, art, and how we perceive these in our lives and how we use them to tell our stories. This is where I’m headed. This is where I’m spending more of my free time in 2015. I’ll still be honing my craft as a colorist and learning from the many mentors I’ve mentioned above.  But at this point in my career I’m ready to delve more deeply into the artistic aspects of my work.” – Tom Parish