Blue Skies and Gratitude

My Blue period was unlike the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso’s. Both were moments of pure artistic expression but while Picasso’s played out 2-dimensionally on a range of canvases, mine unfolded 3-dimensionally, against an ever-changing panorama of scenery.

Pablo Picasso Blue Period, 1901-1904

The Blues:

Pablo Picasso’s early career began strong, with acclaim and commissions. However, between the years 1901 and 1904, Picasso fell into a severe funk due to the loss of a dear friend, a young man who took his own life.

The work he produced in this period was somber — paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors, with subject matter of beggars, drunks, prostitutes, poverty and emaciated solitary figures.  All were reflections of Picasso’s severe melancholy. This work was not viewed favorably. In fact, nobody wanted these “Blue Period” paintings, which made matters worse for Picasso’s woeful financial state. He became impoverished and his despair worsened. However, through steady painting, Picasso’s mind gradually began to heal, and his paintings evolved. As his psychological state improved, he entered what we now know as his “Rose Period” and he moved towards more joyful, vibrant works, emphasizing the use of pinks and other warm hues to express the shift in mood and subject matter.

Pablo Picasso Rose Period, 1904-1906


My Blue Period – 2012-2013

Blue Skies and Gratitude

For me, in defining my blue period, the plan was simple: Walk the earth wearing only articles of blue clothing and accessories, head-to-toe, every day from my birthday and for the next 365 days. Easy peasy — March 2012 to March 2013. What was the reason for my bluing? I was turning 50 years old and welcoming the opportunity to express my feelings of awareness, gratitude, and appreciation of being on this beautiful blue planet for that amount of time with all the incredible beings I had encountered. For me, blue was the tidal mixing of the ocean, representing the one sure thing in life – change. It also depicted the crisp expansive blue sky symbolizing the endless possibilities of life’s pursuits.

Another detail to point out is that, like Picasso, I had lost several young, close friends to illness and accidents along the way. Blue prompted my remembrance of them for those 525,600 minutes of my 51st year.

I really felt the accomplishment of this milestone, of living a deliberate life this long. I also happened to think I look phenomenal in blue — it really brings out my eyes — so landing on such a color and the mood I wish to project appeared obvious to me!  Know thyself and know me in blue. Blue hats, blue glasses, blue overalls, blue coats, blue jackets, blue shirts, blue pants, blue shorts, blue bathing suits, blue socks, blue shoes, blue watches, and yes, blue briefs.

The Benefits of Being Blue:

Blue clothing is quite available in the retail world.  My wife got a kick out of helping me dress in blue, picking out some extremely sharp outfits, and even ensembles that matched with my then 3-year-old son. He looked cute; me, creepy. Wearing blue became easy and really didn’t consume a lot of time. It bordered on the benefits of wearing a school uniform every day, thus providing structure and appropriate behavior in the classroom. Who doesn’t need that?

Everyone had an opinion of what the rules of my blue clothing engagement should be. This was my gig as I saw fit, but those close to me, and even not so close, felt compelled to formulate the commandments of what thou could and couldn’t wear. I would receive text messages at night, “blue jeans don’t count towards the ‘blue moment era thingy’ you’re doing, in fact, they are a total cop out.” I would write back, “Blue Shit, any denim is in!” I’m not a big blue jean wearer anyway but this was my Blue period — I’d make the rules.

Transitioning – The Absence of Color

Towards February 2013, the cold winter winds provided a blast to remind me that my Blue Period was winding down. How would I transition back to other colors? What would an assortment of colors feel like for me? Where are my other clothes? Come my March birthday, I thought it best to transition back to everyday civilian clothes by introducing a month long White Period. A cleansing if you will. Yes, white is an inherently positive color, representing purity, safety, spirituality, humility, and new beginnings. It would be a perfect segue back from such a significant Blue Period for me. Only one issue, and it was a biggie: The rules of fashion state that you can only wear white clothing between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Easter hadn’t even arrived yet! For 30 days and 30 nights I sailed this rogue wave, with my palette cleansing “intermezzo” which actually brought more attention to me than a years’ worth of blue gluttony. I was a strolling seasonal faux pas.

Today’s Palette

Over half a decade has passed since my Blue Period. A period that triggered diurnal reminders of what is exquisite on my earthly sojourn. Today, I easily wear all colors, tones, and shades in a very conscious manner. My blue wardrobe has been in a constant state of atrophy, being updated by new favorite colors. Happily, the two lower drawers in my bedroom dresser remind me how much blue I still possess, which is comforting when I need to reach for a blue moment and reflect with gratitude.