If you live in the Midwest you know that Mother Nature follows her own timeline. The smell, look and feel of autumn arrived late this season, even though the calendar announced the autumnal equinox two months ago. The temperature dropped along with the leaves, and the air has the smell of wood smoke and earth. The landscape is changing before our eyes and we are now in the “in-between season”. This is the time of the year when the leaves are no longer the beautiful red, orange or a golden blaze and there is no blanket of white to cover the dusty browns of the fallen leaves. The landscape shows patches of dry grass and the remnants of frosted flowers. The brown and dusty yellow of autumn waits for the white of winter.

The autumn landscape is OCHER and BROWN. The word ocher comes from the Greeks, meaning pale yellow but over time has shifted to the dusty yellow-brown or an earthy red color. Ocher is actually an earth clay substance that contains a measure of hematite or iron ore. Ocher was probably the first color ever used to draw on cave walls or paint our ancient ancestors bodies.*

Mother Earth is rich brown and fertile in the spring but in the autumn brown implies decay and dying. Brown considered a warm color with a very low vibration or energy. In 1600-1835, artist derived brown paint from decaying mummy’s. It was called Mummy Brown.* This may be one reason brown is considered a sad depressing color and seems to diminish personal vitality. Many  paintings that depict peasants are usually portrayed in brown clothing.  The color brown was also associated with humility and worn by monks or religious brothers. Brown ranges from yellow to red and is considered the richest neutral in the color palette. Brown is also associated with the environment and a homeostatic color that leads to a sense of security. A room painted a coco brown may also promote the synthesis of serotonin leading to a sound restful sleep.

If brown is your favorite color you are known to be; dependable and steady, you perform your duties conscientiously, you are shrewd when it comes to money, obstinate in your habits and convictions and can bargain or barter as good as any horse trader.  A counselor, a private investor and news reporter or journalist, that wear brown colored clothing invite people to open up through conversation. It is a trusting color that puts people at ease. It adds the impression of informality and comfort to a group.

Mother Nature uses the warm brown palette to helps us prepare for the cold winters by wrapping the earth in ocher and brown. Reminding us to relax and rest. The warm brown palette is a sign that helps all of nature prepare for the next 3 to 4 months. It is that time of the season to wrap in soft sweaters of browns and ocher knowing that soon the snow will fly but we have warmed up to face  Old Man Winters wrath.

Julietta Brothers, The Message of Color

Research from: *Color A Natural History of the Palette, by Victoria Finlay and The Power of Color, by Dr. Morton Walker