MARTHA LOVING ORGAIN Thinking with the Heart
Light, Darkness, and Color in Painting Therapy

"The Passion"

"...color is the dance
between Light and Darkness."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The entire Universe is condensed in the body, and the entire body in the Heart. Thus the Heart is the nucleus of the Whole Universe."

-Sri Ramana Maharshi

Light, Darkness, and Color in Painting Therapy

"Yet mystery and manifestation arise from the same source 
This source is called darkness... Darkness within darkness,
the gateway to all understanding." - Lao-Tzu

Imagine you are on top of a mountain on a clear night and behind in the west is a deep indigo sky with stars still shining. Slowly becoming first light, the sky expands in the pre-dawn with a hovering of magenta above your head and all around, and the earth becomes visible. In the far distance across the valley to the east, another rise of mountains stands. Above the peaks a bright cold turquoise shines that slowly fades above to a light cobalt blue. As you let your eyes move upwards, the cobalt blue gradually goes over into a deep ultramarine as you stare straight up above your head.

The clouds begin to form on the edge of the east and the sky begins to glow where the sun will peek its blazing roundness. All of a sudden there appears in the east a momentary bright green flash, an emerald light, and the sun pokes its searing penetration over the horizon. As the clouds have billowed above, the rays of light peer from behind in long bands, radiating from the center of the source toward the periphery. The rays are straight and carry a pale glow of magenta from the dawn with them as they fade over into the cobalt darkness and into indigo as the moving clouds change.

Liane Collot d'Herbois was born in 1907, and lived in Tintagel in Cornwall, England. Living by the sea she observed nature and the atmosphere from an early age. A gifted artist, she studied painting at the Birmingham College of Arts and the British Museum, London. Early in her twenties Collot d'Herbois worked with special needs children at Sunfield Children's Home, England, giving her the seeds for what would later become the methods of working in painting therapy.

Her encounter with the work of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy was an important influence on her artistic and therapeutic work. In the early 1930's and 40's she collaborated with two anthroposophical doctors, Ita Wegman and Hilma Walter (who had both worked directly with Steiner) developing the painting therapy based on the origin of color through the forces of Light and Darkness.

"We think with the head and the heart feels the Light or Darkness of the thought."
Rudolf Steiner

Light, Darkness, and Color as Universal Laws of Nature, are visible for everyone to observe in the physical world, and operate simultaneously in nature and in human beings. These forces are also present in the spiritual world. As human beings, these forces must be in balance for us to be healthy and able to function properly. The three-fold (head, heart and hand) human being can be understood as one who has thinking (nerve/sense, brain and nerves), feeling (cardiovascular/rhythmic system, heart and lungs) and will (metabolic/limbs).

The Light illuminates our world of 'darkness'. The Light has direction, is strongest at its source, weakening as it radiates outward toward the periphery and is always linear and straight. In our brains, when we think, there is a spark of light connecting the synapses or nerve endings and light travels throughout the whole body in the nerve/sense system. We must be clear and awake in our thinking and have linear sequential thoughts. These are Laws that do not change and are the same the world over.

There are Laws concerning Darkness and Color as well. Darkness is related to the metabolic pole and when we eat our food, we care not what happens to it. We are unconscious of our metabolic system. When we eat something that doesn't agree with us we have consciousness in the wrong place, in the form of pain as a stomachache.

Imagine a dark space with a sensation of warmth and fullness. A bright shaft of light cuts the darkness and illuminates the formation of clouds that are attracted to and yet repelled by the light. Where Darkness and Light meet, movement is created and this movement becomes visible as Color. Color weaves together these two polar opposites of Light and Darkness in the feeling life/soul (rhythmic/cardiovascular system, heart and lung).

Colors appear in a 'color space' of movement. The warm colors - reds, oranges, etc.- are the Darkness 'in front of' or 'before' the Light. The cool colors - the blues to violet - are the Darkness 'in back of' or 'behind' the Light. One color represents the Light itself: emerald green. Color, like nature, is always moving, from the all-potential pre-birth seed through the bud to blossom and into decay and death, awaiting new life. It is the same in the developing, living human being.

When we become ill these forces in us are out of balance. When the feeling life is moving, free from trauma, nutritional deficiency, environmental pollutants and stress, etc., then a weaving between Light and Darkness can take place free of hindrances. When a person is overextended with too much technology/thinking or even, over exertion on the physical level, imbalances occur. Specific issues can be addressed from any of the three areas in the human being.

The nerve/sense/thinking pole relates to multiple learning difficulties; sclerotic tendencies, dementia, Parkinsons; dreaminess/not being fully awake, inability to focus attention, scattered thinking; overactive or obsessive thinking; confusion or false thinking, etc.

The cardiovascular/ rhythmic system/feeling/soul life relates to low self-esteem, traumas - whether emotional or physical in nature, as well as Post Tramatic Stress Disorder; depression, apathy; low or high blood pressure; asthma or any lung problems, from simple colds to more chronic illnesses.

The metabolic/will sphere relates to metabolic disturbances, constipation or diarrhea; cancer; lack of energy; inability to move or to get things done, lack of will, and/or the equally unbalanced overactive will such as someone who jumps ahead of everyone unconsciously and/or the type A person who cannot slow down, one who is "driven", with or without purpose - meaningful action.

Other more specific imbalances, among others, which can be addressed with Collot Painting Therapy are: bone marrow supression, anorexia/bulemia, eczema, depression, chronic fatigue, cancer patient post chemo and radiation therapy for upbuilding, bronchial asthma.

In Painting Therapy we work to recreate pictures out of these Laws of Light, Darkness, and Color. On a two-dimensional piece of paper we create a three-dimensional color space. As a client is able to understand and work towards this, balance and harmony are restored within them. Over time and with guidance they come back to wholeness, 're-cog-nizing' nature and their connection to the world around them.

Martha Loving Orgain, MFA, is a Painting Therapist, working with Light, Darkness, and Color using methods developed by Liane Collot d'Herbois.

Ms. Loving studied with Sonia Landy Sheridan and received her MFA in Generative Systems from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago ( She studied Waldorf Education and Consciousness Studies with Dennis Klocek at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA (

In 1991 Ms. Loving began her training in Collot d'Herbois' painting methods with Master Artist Lois Schroff. In 1993 Ms. Loving began Painting Therapy training at the Emerald Foundation, Den Hagg, The Netherlands. One of our teachers at Emerald Foundation was Elsie Franken, an American living in The Netherlands since 1957. As of this writing in January 2007, Ms. Loving from Virginia, Pamela Whitman from California and Ann Arnaud, also from Virginia, have received diplomas in Painting Therapy from the Emerald Foundation, The Netherlands. They are the first three American women living and working in the USA to have earned these diplomas which are also recognized by the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science, The Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland. Another Dutch woman living in the USA, Marielle Levin, also received her diploma from the Goetheanum, Switzerland and is working in Denver, CO. Out of the second group who studied together at Emerald with Pamela and I between 1993 and 2003, there are two others who received their diplomas from Dornach, Switzerland. One is Arlene Moeller, a Canadian living in Germany, and Sally Martin, an Englishwoman living in Australia, founder of The Sienna Academy in Mapleton, Australia.

As an Educator, and Painting Therapist, Ms. Loving offers private one-on-one sessions and classes in arts education to people of all ages in drawing, painting and, for adults, classes in meditation. Ms. Loving teaches preliminary and continuing education and training for adults in the USA and abroad in Light, Darkness and Color.

For formal training in Painting Therapy, contact:
Emerald Foundation
Josine Hutchison, Director
Mesdagstraat 118
2596 XZ Den Haag
The Netherlands

Phone from the USA:
Fax: 31.70.324.3726

To contact Elsie Franken-Holt, Lois Schroff, Pamela Whitman, Ann Arnaud, Sally Martin, Arlene Moeller, or Marielle Levin:

Elsie Franken-Holt
Majellapark 54
NL 1406 TP Bussum
Phone from the USA:

Lois Scroff
Galeana 22-A
Ajijic, Jalisco 45920, Mexico
376.766.1250 studio
or use USA line 703.880.8831

Sally Martin
27 Deodar Court
Mapleton, QLD 4560
(07) 5478 6260 or
+61 (0) 7 5478 6260

Pamela Whitman

Arlene Moeller
Bischof-Gebhard Strausse 11
88696 Owingen
Tel. & Fax: 07551-68289

Anne Arnaud
Creative Jewery Center
3006 Arctic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Marielle Levin

For information of Painting Therapists / teachers of Light, Darkness, and Color in the USA please contact Martha Loving or the Emerald Foundation.

As an Artist Ms. Loving creates watercolor veil paintings, photographs and "Star Chart Talismans", among other things, in her studio wherever she may be.

Ms. Loving has developed a special program for expectant mothers and newborns in BIRTH ART.

As an Astrologer she shares interpretations in
Spiritual Astrology from 30+ years of study in Astrology and 20+ years of study in Anthroposophy.

'Seeing into darkness is clarity 
Knowing how to yield is strength. 
Use your own light and return to the source of light. 
This is called practicing eternity.' - Lao-tzu

To view more watercolor paintings, go to the gallery.

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Images and/or text may not be copied, reprinted, translated, or otherwise distributed by any means without express written permission from the artist, Martha Loving Orgain, MFA.