Tapping into the power of color from nature to art to functional beverages
I recently came across an Instagram post from the National Parks Service, showing how we can draw inspiration from the colors of nature. It reminded me of the power that color has to stir up emotions, ranging from boldness and strength to serenity and reflection. I’ve personally been inspired by the colors around us so much so that I got a tattoo to memorialize some of the most visually moving landscapes I’ve witnessed: electric blue for the magnifying glaciers in Alaska, crimson for the enchanting red rock in Utah, and lavender for the twilight sky during a northern Finnish winter.
There is so much literature about the psychological effects of color, but I began to wonder… if color is capable of eliciting so many emotions, why do people not rely on color in the same way that they do, say music? I’ve certainly never stared at a blob of yellow when I needed a boost of energy for the day.
On the other hand though, plenty of people turn to art to connect with a spectrum of feelings, and we can’t deny that color plays an integral role in most artforms. Take Mark Rothko, for example, the painter best known for his color field paintings in the 1950s and ’60s. These paintings were intended to stir up emotion. Many critics even call out how Rothko’s paintings, which leaned towards vibrant reds and yellows in his early days and then shifted to darker blues and greens, and eventually to blacks and grays before his suicide, were a direct reflection of his inner emotions. Rothko’s interest was, as he said:
“in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions.”
Another famous artist who comes to mind is Marc Chagall, most known for his hypnotizing stained glass. “This medium allowed him further to express his desire to create intense and fresh colors and had the added benefit of natural light”. Picasso was even recorded to say that “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color is^”. I distinctly remember being mesmerized by Chagall’s work. I was five years old the first time I visited his work in Israel and felt truly in awe. I couldn’t verbalize why, but it was the vibrant color that drew me in.
While I never consciously related my connection to Chagall’s windows or glacial ice to my process in creating Fat Leaf Water, in retrospect, all of these emotional connections to color influenced my decision to make color just as priority as flavor and ingredient profile. Fat Leaf Water was inspired by the nostalgia I felt for drinking bug juice at summer camp. If I were to make a pinterest page for those memories, they would be filled with primary and neon colors and lot of happy tweens without a care in the world. I set out to bottle that visual memory into the vibrant colors of Fat Leaf Water.
It was quite a challenge to achieve this vibrancy when I simultaneously wanted to ensure that Fat Leaf Water contain only natural ingredients. Of course it would be much easier to produce brightly colored drinks if we could rely on artificial colors. Instead, we sourced natural ingredients that not only add visual appeal, but also provide functional benefit. Key Lime Mirage gets its green hue from chlorophyllin, a derivative of chlorophyll. And we all remember from science class that chlorophyll is essential to absorbing energy from light. Mojave Citrus’s golden glow is due in part to turmeric, known for a slew of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and easing depression. And Rimrock Red’s deep tone is thanks to a mix of raspberries and blueberries, both chock full of antioxidants.
While I sincerely hope that the colors of Fat Leaf Water will elicit positive energy for anyone who takes a sip, I believe that this response will be all the more poignant if you pair your refreshment with movement. Since our launch, we have come to realize that our community is filled with so many inspiring individuals who relish the joy of movement (such as Mechelle Freeman, Pauls Pujats and our friends at The Mountain Guides), by actively engaging in life.
I took in the beauties of Alaska, Utah and Finland as I moved. I hiked around glacial lakes and desert rock, and I skied through Lapland terrain. And it was that movement that helped me to take in the glorious colors that much more intensely. So — let’s cheers to being moved, literally and figuratively, by basking in a rainbow of natural colors.
Elyse Sara is the Founder of Fat Leaf Water, a cactus-water based sports hydration beverage, that is currently available on Amazon. She is based in Long Beach, CA and planning her next adventure.