GRETCHEN, THE COLORFUL SOUL
My color baggage journey began in the backseat of my parent's car in Puerto Rico, sitting on the red Naugahyde seat of my father's shiny-black Chevrolet Impala. Without seatbelts to worry about, I could slide around the back seat of that car, from one window to another, and entertain myself by watching the world through shiny chrome-lined windows I wished were still manufactured today.
During those sunrise-to-sunset car rides, I fell in love with light. I watched light paint a new sky every night, fill the ocean with glitter, change palm leaves into giant feathers and flowers into beads. These life illusions I recall are the color memories and experiences that shaped my love for color and the shades I still truly, madly, and deeply love. I call them my color baggage, baggage I brought with me when I moved to the Pacific Northwest.
I stood out like a lime-green thumb in a mass-produced world of hunter greens, cobalt blues, and cranberry reds. My baggage had me craving burnt corals, spirited limes, crystal cyans, and bottomless indigos. It wasn't until I had babies that I made it a mission to make "myself" my home by pulling out my color baggage and using it to color a vibrant and inspiring place that resonated with my true essence—not to be different but as an act of self-love. Something unexpected and remarkable happened next. I went from being a lime-green thumb to stepping into my limelight with a bucket of paint.
GRETCHEN, THE COLLAGE ARTIST
If Puerto Rico taught me about the sovereignty of light, the Pacific Northwest taught me about the sovereignty of shadows. Like Puerto Rico, Oregon was green primarily year-round. Except for these trees and ferns diverged into thousands of shades I had never known before.
The gray wooly blanket sky I resented became a filter allowing me to see hundreds of lucid hues breaking through their shy gray nature. When I made room for these new color experiences, my color baggage grew with new possibilities. I turned these feelings into art; colorful collages featuring female figures at the height of a blissful moment.
Their reflection was contagious. Pieces of my art and heart sold in galleries such as Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery in Seattle, Washington White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon, and Clarksville Pottery in Austin, Texas. I even sold a curated piece by the Bellevue Art Museum at their art show before I started using walls as canvases, creating faux finishes, murals, and paint colors from my art that became divine interventions in people's lives.
GRETCHEN, THE PAINT SAVANT
Painting became a vehicle of belonging, growth, and expansion. I distilled and blended paint color harmonies from colors in my art and created glazes. I coordinated custom colors with them and practiced anything I could get my hands on. I turned my walls into gigantic canvases and used the 7 colors in the rainbow, like 7 notes, to harmonize color palettes based on the unconditional colors people loved.
Color Baggage makes you the Color Baggage Expert of your life by using Color Theory and its wheel as a vehicle of enlightenment, and a bucket of paint is a creative tool of transformation that synchronizes homes with shades of belonging, chemistry, and connection. The color harmonies will be different, but the end result will be the same. Where harmony rules, growth, creativity, and possibility are sure to follow, magnetizing more of the same.
GRETCHEN, THE ENTREPRENEUR
My professional success story as a Boricua Latina entrepreneur began when I used my educational experience in Art Therapy, Architecture, Fashion Design, and Graphic Design to create a powerhouse cult brand called Devine Color, Color Therapy From The Northwest, in 2001. Devine took the paint industry by storm with a feminist perspective, putting women in charge of their own paint color experiences with color tools and formulas fashioned after the cosmetic industry, thus changing how paint companies market and sell paint today.
My brand was acquired nine years later by Valspar Paint, where I held the position of brand consultant. I walked away with a five-year non-compete in the paint industry in 2015; Sherwin Williams initiated the acquisition to buy Valspar in 2016, which closed in 2017, and the elimination of Devine Color.
A lot happened in those five years. I began practicing mediation, which opened new channels of creativity and possibility, became a board member of the Alzheimer's Association, Oregon Chapter, and developed a color protocol called Color With Benefits focusing on using color in meaningful ways to benefit memory, dementia patients, and caregivers, and implemented in the Oregon Ronald McDonald Houses in Oregon.
In 2018, while waiting for my non-compete to end, I created and launched DIP Design Is Personal, providing high-quality, stylish, customizable DIY home improvement products. DIP Design Is Personal became a 5-star review DIY home improvement brand three years later. DIP is sold online at designispersonal.com and across all major U.S. retailers, including Target, Wayfair, Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon. The end of my non-compete in 2020 coincided with the exiting of her Second Saturn Return, an earth-quaking global pandemic, and catalytic social events.
My Devine Color journey taught me how to use the rainbow and a bucket of paint to synchronize diverse elements in a home and harmonize them with color. Color Baggage is the leg of the journey that taught me how to harmonize my life by becoming the rainbow itself and using the same principles to trust in meaningful synchronicity; remarkable memories, experiences, and desires with timelines of their own that trigger us and our intuition into taking leaps of faith or decisive action and move forward confidently towards our potential. Making our dreams real in unexpected ways and real journeys more exciting than their destinations.
GRETCHEN, THE WRITER
Color Baggage has a journey, a transformative creative method, and a painting ritual to step into your limelight with a bucket of paint. It is a first step to a path and destination that is not the end of the journey but the beginning of a future you create for yourself and leave behind for others, like nature does, to be recycled, reimagined, or reinvented. The same color principles I use to change homes also change lives by emotionally empowering people to take charge of their experiences, color or otherwise. I am currently writing about my extraordinary color baggage journey packed with serendipitous moments, events, and life-changing twists that helped me master my intuition and keep moving forward during an unprecedented period of uncertainty to birth new dreams destined to come true. Which I will be oversharing.
Much like Alice, Dorothy, and Santiago, I was led right back to where I started and experienced the same profound truth; "Where your heart is, there your treasure will also be."
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