Constant Creative Surprises

Close up of Marilee's latest painting Tempting Tangerine Rose

A renewed view of the world and an open heart are my best tools for a day of inventing new art. Inspiration is the heart and soul of my business and my life! “Beauty Inspires” is all about seeing with fresh eyes the magnificence around us, giving us curiosity to explore and push the limits of our skills and thoughts. The artist’s vision starts with appreciating beauty at the deepest level, which brings me to the color ORANGE. 

Orange is a color about which I am deeply passionate – lively, upbeat, happy, hip, exciting, enticing, and captivating are all the words that I would use describe the rich mix with the energy of red and the happiness of yellow.  Wikipedia tells us “In Europe and America, orange is commonly associated with amusement, the unconventional, extroverts, fire, activity, danger, taste and aroma, the autumn season.”  Being an introvert, the thrill of the color orange may balance my quiet nature. Also, curiously, a color that could be associated with my hair color. tells us that children all over the world are drawn to orange.  A red headed seven year old I know very well absolutely calls orange as his favorite color. 

If you subscribe to the idea of energy centers or “chakras” in the body, the sacral center is associated with the color orange.  The gifts on a spiritual level from this chakra include, enthusiasm, optimism, persistence, wisdom, creativity and joy. 

In an article in the Huffington Post, “How Color Affects Our Moods” Jeanne Mai shares  “Orange is said to stimulate creativity and enthusiasm and symbolizes vitality and endurance.”  In business orange is “edgy” as a number of the forward thinking brands in my design business choose orange in their logos. 

Dance the Orange”, is a wonderful waltzing poem about a fruit and color that pretend to be sweet but are actually rather rambunctious and challenging.” says Victoria Finlay in “Color A Natural History of the Palette.”

“Just a moment ..., I savour this ... ah, but it’s flown already.
... Only a bit of music, stamping in time, humming-:
Girls, you grow warm, - girls, you silently mime, -
Dance the flavour of this fruit as we experience it!

Make of the orange a dance. Who can be oblivious
Of how it drowns in itself, of how it restrains
Its very essence of sweetness, holds it back?

It has possessed you. You have deliciously converted it into you.

Dance the orange. The warmth of the landscape,
It draws you forth, so that your ripeness streams forth
Resplendent on the local breezes! A glow arising, revealed.

Aroma after aroma! Evoke its affinity
With the pure, self-denying peel,
With the juice which joyously fills it!”

by Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December  1926) was a Bohemian–Austrian poet and art critic.   He considered one of the most significant poets in the German language.                                                              

Carotenes create rich warm orange and saffron tones of the namesake orange along with carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.  The multitude of curries, paprika, and the many exotic spices from India, Morocco and other far away lands are peppered with orange.  A richly spiced dish resonates with my color palette pursuit and fulfills the wanderlust of my taste buds, but leaves my mind to consider hunting down the spices in their authentic homelands.

A favorite weekly adventure is to walk the lovely labyrinth at Ranch San Raphael in north Reno, which is surrounded by incredibly colorful landscaping. It is a very well-loved and familiar place to my eyes.  With each turn of the labyrinth, I look for something new to appreciate about that day, that season, that moment.  The tangerine roses are always a favorite of mine, and on a particular Indian summer day, the western sunlight illuminated orange petals casting a candlelight yellow glow that was as sweet as the scent.  Mesmerized, I knew that image would translate perfectly to my canvas in vibrant colors.  My hope is that you can feel the warmth of the sunlight coming from the west, see the depth of the luscious petals of the rose, smell the sweet scent, and the painting captures your heart in a way that makes you want to take a closer look.  I am very proud of this new style of images that has evolved over eight years and is sure to continue to develop.

Tempting Tangerine Rose in the garden where she belong

Inspiration can be as simple as bright white contrast with the deep, dark brown precious eyes of my golden doodles, Zion and Chloe. The light, the reflection, the love are all there, each and every morning I rise to greet the sun.  The point is to find time each day to appreciate the abundance in your life.  Interesting, even my doodles are a shade of orange along with their leather sofa.  Notice I said “their” sofa!

Zion and Chloe freshly groomed

Chloe Brielle 

Zion Rosso

Speaking of Indian summer in the high desert, it is my favorite time of the year!  Long warm days, typically uninterrupted by high winds or precipitation and lingering rays of end-of-summer kiss the earth with enthusiasm before Jack Frost appears on the scene. 

Leaves start their dance of curling, twisting and adorning colorful costumes for their acrobatic flight to the ground.  Quaking aspen leaves, an all time favorite, are painted in russet tones in a fancy seasonal dance while mother earth tilts away from the sun.  To further celebrate the aspen leaf motif, I adore the colorful plates made by pottery artist, Alanna Hughes, which can be found at the Riverside Studios in Truckee, California.  A common practice among artists is to collect unique art made from the hands of other artists – they are just like tools of the trade, which equal inspiration and happiness in my world.

Turning of the seasons


are all major players in the game of composition whether it is creating a painting or staging a photo.  Scrumptious autumn tones in this image make me want to have a sip of apple cider and make a warm delicious butternut soup with crusty olive bread.  Red leaves are juxtaposed with a lingering green crabapple in this oil painting, which plays off the forged metal leaf created by a local blacksmith, Brett Moten at Infinity Forge.  Pottery inspired by Italian countryside depicts a color so well known to Siena,Italy... gold ocher or butterscotch with sculptural leaf and grapes on the elegantly twisted handles.  Can you see and feel the autumn air? 

Crabapple contrast

Stock up on candles now so your autumn evenings glow, and light the way for creativity to unfold through the depths of winter.  Copper Cat Studio created this custom candle for me, which warms my heart.  Cheers to creating some magic in the season including apple pie, carved pumpkins, crunchy leaves and heart-felt gatherings.  And don’t forget to “Dance the Orange”!


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