Understanding the Application of Lazure Painting Techniques

Robert M. Logsdon

The following essay was originally presented by Mr. Logsdon at the Eighth Symposium on Healthcare Design held November 16-19, 1995 in San Diego, California. It is reprinted from The Journal of Healthcare Design volume VII (August 1995) with the kind permission of The Center for Health Design.

Mr. Logsdon is a painter, muralist, lazure artist, and color consultant. His firm, ColorSpace, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, creates color environments for schools, churches, businesses, and curative facilities. He has studied and worked in Switzerland with Fritz Fuchs, the creator of the lazure painting process; and was an artist in residence at the Rudolf Steiner House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Logsdon uses both lazure techniques and mural painting to "develop a creative and practical means of improving the visual-aesthetics of environments within which human beings live, work, and heal."

The Center funds research, produces educational programs, and publishes resources that explore how the design of the built environment affects health and well-being. Although these articles are primarily directed toward healthcare and design professionals, we believe that the information contained in many of them may be useful for parents and teachers. We highly recommend this site.

If you have not done so already, you may want to also read Rudolf Steiner's remarks on classroom decoration.

Bob and Nancy

Imagine yourself working all day indoors, perhaps studying or conducting business at a desk. You feel a longing for a change, perhaps a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. You go outside and breathe deeply. A short walk increases the circulation and the sluggishness is replaced with renewed energy. The clouds ripple rhythmically across the sky, leaving spaces of rich blue showing through. Within minutes, all the colors in the clouds intensify to beautiful rose, orange, and golden hues. The atmosphere is filled with colored light and you are refreshed as it is breathed into your whole being. The color exists in that fluctuating living realm between the invisible worlds of light and dark.

There is an expanding awareness of the influence of color and architecture on people's well-being. We who work, play, live, or convalesce in a facility may not always be conscious of specific influences. We may feel gray in a gray room without even recognizing the connection between the two. Yet, when we are delighted by a color or inspired by a particular architectural space, we are awakened to this joy and instantly feel better. On these occasions, we are more conscious that there is something about these elements of design that arouses our attention. Scientists, artists, doctors, and designers are giving greater consideration to these helpful or hurtful features of architecture.

"Lazure painting is a cost-effective and highly applauded technique that offers relief from high stress environments and dreary institutional color formulas," says the Detroit News. Through layers of translucent color, Lazure painting utilizes subtlety of hues and tone-on-tone blends to create unlimited design possibilities. Color science and creative skill merge to give each room a color mood to support those who use the space and to allow each architectural detail to voice its function. Where a room's existing architecture clashes with its purpose, color can be used to mollify the conflict. As stated by R.A. Benson in the Detroit News, "Lazure painting has transformed rigid boxes into fluid, pliable, and human responsive environments with color.... [This] work is of exceptional artistic merit."

What is Lazure painting and what does it have to do with healing environments? While Lazure is a decorative painting technique, it is not merely a "color wash." Lazure painting emphasizes transparency with the creation of color through a layering of several different colors. Sometimes these are close in hue; other times they are more contrasting or even opposite to one another. All may be painted to create gradations of color and tone. The color may be deeper at the bottom and lighter at the top, or move from one color to another.

By its very nature, this approach to painting has the capacity to enliven a surface through the subtle interplay of hues and tonal variations. The effect can be extremely soft and subdued, no matter what the color, and it can also be more intense or dramatic where desired. The "aliveness" of the surface, resulting from the transparent interplay of color, relates to colors found in nature, where monotone does not exist. Monotone is tiring. Variety is enlivening. Nature is dominated by transparent and translucent elements. Think of the sky, the air, the water, clouds, leaves, flowers, feathers of birds, wings of insects and the skin of humans and animals; even slices of wood or stone allow light to pass through.

Transparent layers of color allow light to reflect from the white surface behind and shine out through the color. This was a technique used by many Renaissance artists. The Old Masters often used thin layers of color over a white or light-colored surface to give depth and luminosity to their paintings. This gave a heightened sense of the spiritual reality they were depicting. The heavier opaque color gave a feeling of the material world. In this way, levity and weight were given expression.

A conscientious use of color, founded on knowledge of specific color influences, joins with aesthetics to create wholesome environments. This is the goal of Lazure painting.

When we are healthy, we are free to be unaware of our bodies. It is with illness that we are forced to be aware of some part of our body or conscious that our body is overwhelmed with gravity or with levity. In other words, with health, we are in a state of equilibrium in which we experience a sense of wholeness. In nature, we experience gravity in lifeless matter, but where there is life, we also have levity. The plant kingdom is lifted by the forces of the sun. Thus, in matter we have gravity, and in light, we have levity. The architect works actively with these forces to provide a feeling of security. A building must not weigh down excessively or lift off the earth too much. Both light and protection from the sun are necessary in the right proportions.

When we create architecture, we separate the interior space from the exterior world. We design public and private space. Religious buildings often strive to close off the outside world to focus on the inner life. Medieval and Renaissance cathedrals were often centers of healing. People traveled from far away to be bathed in the colored light of stained glass windows, to feel the forces of the architectural structures, to sit before the altar paintings, to smell incense, and to hear Gregorian chants. Many illnesses were healed. In these examples, we see that healing was more than physical treatment. Today we have the advantage of more scientific knowledge, but too often we lose sight of the soul's need for truth, beauty, and goodness. Our goal must be to unite these elements of healing in architecture and in the healing professions.

"Our goal must be to unite these elements of healing in architecture and in the healing professions."
Artistic activity involves the middle region of the human being, which is the heart and lungs region. There, we experience the rhythm of breath and heartbeat. And we see this imaged in the rhythmic formation of the ribs. The arts work through this aspect of our being and move toward the other two poles: the head and the limbs. Consciousness dwells primarily in the head and nerve system, while the will or "action" moves dominantly in the limb, circulatory, and metabolic systems.

With some contemplation, this becomes obvious. That which stirs our feelings first shows itself in the heart and circulation. It may enliven our thinking or give energy to our movements. Through sensations, revelations of physical things are exposed. Through intuitions, revelations of spiritual things are exposed. These unite in the heart region. The ancient symbol of the yin/yang expresses this in balancing light and dark in a circle. Another is the powerful movement of the lemniscate.

What begins innermost, moves to outermost, back again to inside, and continues this figure-eight movement until what was most inside becomes that which is most outside and vice versa. In each of these symbols, we are reminded that central to our being is the circulation of blood though the heart in an in-out rhythm. Likewise, the breath provides a balancing of the inhaling and exhaling of air. It is not surprising that these functions are central to health and are noticeably affected by illness and wellness.

Color Treatments

I saw one of the most fascinating color treatments many years ago when I was studying in England. In a course at Emerson College, Michael Wilson demonstrated innumerable variations of the phenomenon described below.

Using two projectors, specially drawn designs were projected in two colors corresponding to figure and ground. Each projector had a dimmer in front of it so that the image could be faded out or in. In this way, one image and color were gradually replaced with others.

A therapist sat close to the child being treated and operated the projectors by remote control. The projectors were behind the screen so that only the images were seen. These designs were nonrepresentational, though mostly organic and dynamic in character. Occasionally geometric designs were used. These were worked out for a particular child's needs. This visual experience should be unrelated to anything in the child's memory. It was intended to stimulate, coordinate, and balance the visual and emotional faculties. In this way, the child was able to concentrate for 15 or 20 minutes in a way that he or she could not do at any other time during the day. For a child who was overly tense or obsessed with detail, a sharply contrasted form would be projected, gradually emerging from darkness and appearing in strong color. Then it would fade out until nothing was left but a faint luminous cloud. If the child relaxed and yawned, a great deal was accomplished. For a child too asleep in his senses, the opposite procedure could be undertaken to achieve a wakeful experience.

Another wonderful example involved a restless boy of seven who was always absorbed in what was going on around him and felt no repose in himself. He had weak lungs and tended towards bronchitis and pneumonia. A cold blue color against a red background was projected in a symmetrical form similar to lungs. The blue figure was changed slowly to purple and then to red while the background changed from red to blue. Even with several 15-minute sessions per week, the boy never tired of it. Every time he saw the cold figure begin to glow with warmth, he got excited. This change from inside to outside produced a corresponding change within him. His condition changed and he recovered from the illness.

Not long after the fascinating course with Michael Wilson, I went to Kent, England, where he lives and works, to visit and observe the work at Sunfield Children's Home -- a community for children in need of special care. One of the more innovative treatments involved illumination of a pool from beneath the water surface. After considerable research, Wilson and his colleagues found that two colors worked best: one pinkish and one blue. The pool was lined with gray tiles so that when the child entered the water, his or her body was brilliantly lit in contrast with the surroundings. The lighting was built into the sides of the pool so that nearly all the light was reflected downwards. This was quite wonderful to see as the light remained below the water and moved with the surface. The water became an illuminated atmosphere. The child experienced its warm pink body or cool blue body.

Some children who previously had little awareness of their own limbs began to take a lively interest in their movements, especially when the pink light was used. The two circuits of lights could be dimmed independently. The blue lights worked to calm the child. Usually there were only two children in the pool at a time. To cross-fade from one color to another was often an important experience for the child. The water was thoroughly filtered to allow better scattering of light and reduced hardness of shadows. Reds and yellows did not work as well because of the long wavelengths. Children with underdeveloped intellectual critical faculties will have a deep-seated genuine response to color. The therapeutic effect of color depends on the level of consciousness of the beholder. Consciousness is where the attention is. Where we focus is our reality.

The eyes are the most transparent organ of the body. They have been called the windows of the soul. Just as they take in light and color more directly than other organs of the body, they are also the most expressive of the feeling life of the individual. For some, perception itself seems to be undeveloped. The crudest effects are necessary. Color radiation treatments work directly on the physical organism.

In general, red radiation is used to stimulate metabolic processes, while blue radiation stimulates the nerve processes. In a physical sense, red and blue are a polarity, yet they are not complementary. They correspond to the polarity of willing/thinking. Red is nearer to thermal radiation, while blue is closer to chemically active radiation. Use red for those who lack life forces. Use blues and greens for those who lack consciousness or who wish to be more supported for conscious activity.

In red, the soul pushes deep into the body and excites the blood sphere of the will. Contemplate how red stimulates the blood, or how anger or embarrassment bring blood to the surface -- flushing the cheeks. Red expresses life. In the words of Austrian philosopher, scientist, artist, and seer Rudolf Steiner, "Red is the luster of the living."

With blue, the soul turns toward the other side, upwards toward the head, where we work in peaceful thought formations. In contemplation we seek quietness and a movement inwards. Steiner said, "Blue is the luster of the soul."

"In yellow, we experience joy."

In yellow, we experience joy. This color is full of light. It stimulates the intellect. Of this color Steiner said, "It is the luster of the spirit." While yellow shines like the sun and blue is inward, as illuminated darkness, green emerges from the interplay of these. The light blue sky of daytime results from seeing dark space though an illuminated atmosphere. Similarly, smoke with darkness behind will appear blue while smoke with light behind will appear warm yellow, orange, or red -- depending on smoke density and strength of light.

Green is created from yellow and blue. It appears dominantly between the light of sun and the darkness of earth. The plant world is born out of darkness and is drawn into the light. Green is a color of balance. From the color green, we have the feeling of stability. We could stand on it. It is physical, but filled with life. It is the outer image of life.

If you have observed afterimage colors, you will know that these colors are truly opposite to the colors you were observing. Where there was light, you now see dark, etc. Red is the afterimage of green, blue the afterimage of orange, and yellow of violet. They are complementary colors. All colors, light or dark, have complementary afterimages. These experiences reveal to us that the eye seeks to complete the color circle. It seeks wholeness. In polarity is contained the whole. One-sided experiences create illness, and in order to heal we offer an element to balance the one-sided aspect.

In the experience of the afterimage, we are reminded of basic principles of therapy. It is worth contemplating this event, which takes place in the eye; or is it in the imagination? While light plays on the nerve endings in the eye, the nerves must be nourished by the blood. Nerve endings will die without this life source. If we can see that blood and nerves serve opposite functions while working together in symphony for the whole human being, we may see a physical link to this mysterious "soul-full" world of color.

When Germany's great poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first lifted a prism to his eyes in 1790, he saw that Newton's theory of color was inaccurate. Color did not appear on a white wall. Colors appeared where light and darkness interacted, where the light was dispersed over the dark and dark dispersed over the light. This set Goethe on an exploration of color that became, for him, his most important accomplishment. At the end of his long life, he said that his scientific studies ranked above all else, greater than Faust, his poetry, plays, and novels. All these would dim in the luster of other poets. Least perishable would be his massive study of light, darkness, and color.

Goethe's book, The Theory of Color, is highly recommended for an investigation of color's secrets using a method devoted to nature, yet objective, uniting science and art. In this connection, I also wish to recommend a book by Arthur Zajonc, who is a professor of physics at Amherst College. His book, Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind, published in 1993 by Bantam Books, was already sold out by October 1994. A new printing is due out soon. I first got to know Arthur in 1975 and 1976 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was working on his Ph.D. We collaborated to teach some courses outside the university on Goethe's color studies. For me, as an artist, working with a scientist was very stimulating, and he remains an inspiration today.

As we continue our review of mediums used in color therapy, I recall another extraordinary experience I had, at Camphill Special Schools, a community for children in need of special care located in Pennsylvania. A form of dance, called eurythmy, was used together with color lights to effect a harmonizing influence on the children. A group of children were brought into a dimly illuminated room where they sat facing a small curtained-off stage. Behind this stage were windows of different-colored glass so that natural light was used to color the space behind the curtains. Colored windows not wanted were closed with shades. A person well trained in eurythmy was dressed in silk veils, which gave emphasis to the flowing movements performed to music or speech. In this instance the eurythmist, behind the sheer curtain, moved to music, while the carefully chosen colors projected the image on the curtain in colored shadows. The colored shadows could be shown more than one at a time and they changed when the light was changed.

(An outstanding example in nature is seen in the blue shadows of trees against orange-colored snow. An otherwise neutral light appears blue when a shadow is cast by the warm orange color of the sun. In experiments using "white" light, the shadow cast by green light appears red, even though no red light is used.)

I sat with the children, who had first exhibited unusual restlessness and chaotic breathing. Within minutes, I noticed their breathing had deepened and altered to a rhythmic harmony. The children were captivated. In this community, only real musical instruments were used. Television, videos, and other such artificial devices were avoided. A direct and living experience of the arts was found to be the best therapy. A lifestyle relating to the seasons and a closeness with nature, together with daily rhythms and a sense of belonging to a family, are important principles of the Camphill communities.

Painting therapy encompasses many aspects of color experience. First, we know that children love to paint. Adults are sometimes timid because they have particular expectations of themselves. Just overcoming this and enjoying color is a great achievement. Enjoying color is the key. As pointed out in the beginning of this presentation, enjoyment can be viewed as generalized therapy. Once accustomed to the fluidity of paint (especially watercolors), the person can be guided to use certain colors and to create specific moods. While drawings and paintings freely executed are used for psychoanalysis and even for physical analysis, specifically guided paintings offer specific color treatments.

Recalling the example of the projected imagery forming and dissolving, a similar approach may be used in painting, either within the same painting or through a series of paintings. Another polarity to work with could be described as "action painting" on the one hand and "precise studies" on the other hand, of a candle flame or a plant. A wonderful exercise is to do a series of paintings showing the progression of a sunset. The actual process of the painting is more important than the finished product.

Illness can often be divided into categories of "inflammatory" or "sclerotic" conditions. For an inflammatory condition, one might begin with an imaginative and loosely painted series of landscapes, preferably using watercolors. The patient would begin, for example, with a hot desert scene. In the next scene, the colors could be shifted to those of the plains, then woodlands, mountains, and finally to the far north polar region. Begin where the condition first expresses itself and move toward what the person needs. An overly tense, well-organized person might need to loosen from form and enjoy a misty seascape.

True healing does not happen overnight. Artistic therapies are done regularly over a period of time. If specific organs are diseased, specific colors will help, and these are used in conjunction with other medical treatments. Color exercises call forth soul movements and are imprinted into a person's life processes. As feelings affect the breathing and circulation, they reach deeper into the physical organization. Artistic therapy is distinct from psychoanalysis. It leaves the personality free.

Relationship of Buildings to Color

Having described several aspects of the relationship of color to the human being, how can we relate this to buildings? As a beginning, we might consider the following notion. Through a building's structure, it has a body. Through its form, skin, and gesture, it has a life body. Through color, it is ensouled. Finally, through the presence and activities of human beings, it has spirit. Consciousness is given through human beings, yet all the elements of the building itself are influencing the consciousness of the people. As Leland Kaiser said, "In designing buildings, we are designing consciousness." First we give shape to the buildings, then they begin to shape us.

Color contributes a powerful influence on our feeling of a space and how we move through it. Just as in our example of the colored atmosphere created by nature, we are met with an atmosphere created by the color of paints and building materials. Our breath and our mood are affected.

The lively quality of form can be enhanced or quieted by the way light and color are used. Structure can be accentuated or negated as well. Lazure painting is especially capable of accomplishing this.

Lazure painting was first demonstrated and its use encouraged by Steiner 80 years ago. He encouraged housepainters and artists to develop the technique and explore the architectural implications.

For his demonstration, he used fluid oil-based paints. He encouraged painting so that the natural materials showed through the color. It was as though he wanted to free the color from the surface so that it might hover in the space and not exist merely on the wall. It was a long time before Lazure painting became a common practice in Europe. The development of acrylics for painting contributed largely to this. A quicker-drying and more transparent medium was needed, and acrylics have been used most commonly. The low odor, combined with ease of mixing and application, together with durability, have made acrylics a common choice.

The desire to extend the natural feeling to include organic materials resulted in renewed research and development of the plant colors used by Steiner. The process involved experiments with various salt crystals whereby the color pigments became attached, providing a degree of permanence. These pigments are even more light-filled than others. Just as plants take light into their substance, the pigments from the plants have taken in this quality. At one stage of making the pigment, the moist cakes form spiral patterns. In this is expressed the living quality still found in the pigments. The spiral dominates all growth formations in plants, animals, and man. It is very apparent in the structure of plants' stems and their leaf arrangements.

We see it in bone formations as well. It is not surprising that plants are so vital for health-giving medicines. These pigments offer the most life-filled color available to us next to dyes extracted directly from fresh plant products. However, the pigments produced, as I have described, are eventually ground to a powder and may be stored for long periods of time. Due to their life qualities, these colors are not as permanent as many others, and therefore are used with more discretion. Where the ultimate in color quality is desired, I recommend plant colors. They have been used in medical facilities, as well as schools, churches, and private residences. I use casein and beeswax-based mediums with the plant colors.

"Where the ultimate in color quality is desired, I recommend plant colors."

In the building of the first Goetheaneum in Dornach, Switzerland -- the world center for Anthroposophy -- Steiner painted the entire domed ceilings of the two interlocking cupolas with murals using transparent colors made from plant extracts. This was a completely new approach, as was the entire building in terms of form and materials. The wooden building burned in 1923 and a new one was begun using concrete in ways that bewildered engineers at the time. It was sculpted, one could say, using the concrete in a flowing organic structure that gave a certain liveliness to the building.

More commonly used than plant colors are organic pigments derived from natural earth, or pigments derived from minerals. Paints found commonly on the market are most often made from colors synthesized from petroleum products. Most pigments used for acrylics are made from petroleum by-products. The range is truly amazing, yet these colors do not have a natural feel. Just as petroleum comes from the dark region of the earth, so do these colors have something of darkness in them.

While many situations call for the use of acrylic medium and colors, others invite the use of beeswax-based Lazure and organic or mineral pigments. Where natural nontoxic paints are preferred, white casein paint may be used instead of latex as the ground for the Lazure. Organic primers are also available along with various other finish paints.

For wood surfaces, special plant resin-based oils are available or conventional materials may be used. For concrete surfaces, I recommend silicate paints, which have been especially designed for this purpose. They are produced from water glass (a silica product) and completely unite with natural concrete and plaster. They are unbeaten in durability on exterior facades exposed to acidic and polluted air. With this product, there is no paint to peel.

From the impulse given to architecture by Steiner, many architects the world over have been inspired for their own work. In Sweden, the architect Erik Asmussen is well known for his creative building designs. South of Stockholm, close to the Baltic Sea, there is a community of organizationally separate anthroposophical initiatives in and around Järna, including several biodynamic farms, a large mill and bakery, a number of curative homes for children and adults in need of special care, two Waldorf schools, and an anthroposophical college with programs of study in education, agriculture, and the arts. It is called the Rudolf Steiner Seminariet.

The person primarily recognized for inspiring many of these developments in the 1960s is the Swedish artist Arne Klingborg. He has inspired many initiatives in other countries as well. It was at an International Youth Conference in the U.S. in the 1970s that I first met Arne Klingborg, who introduced me to Lazure painting. Two years later in England, I began working with Lazure. In Switzerland, I helped Fritz Fuchs paint many of the 300 rooms at Ekkharthof, a curative community. Fuchs, who lives in Järna, is renowned for his color work in Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden. He is chiefly responsible for the Lazure painting at Rudolf Steiner Seminariet and surrounding communities, including the Vidarkliniken, a healing center. In Germany, he designed the new color plans for the railway system and many other outstanding projects.

The Vidarkliniken

The buildings of the Seminariet are each unique, but they have a relationship to each other and to the land around them. The Vidarkliniken is a short walk from these buildings. The landscape is largely open, with areas of trees and granite formations. The inlets of the Baltic Sea can be viewed from many points. In front of the clinic there are gardens and behind it are natural tree-covered granite formations running the length of the building and rising in part to its two-story height.

The Vidarkliniken was conceived as a community of healers including doctors, nurses, and art therapists, as well as patients, families, and interested members of the wider community. The main building has two floors above ground and one below. It is elongated on a north-south axis. Two patient wings are located to the north and south. The central wing is shaped around three sides of a courtyard. The fourth side creates an open air gallery, which provides a covered walkway on two levels. The lower level has archways open to paths leading from the courtyard to the natural tree-covered mounds to the west.

The second level is closed on one side for protection from wind. The entire courtyard provides a protected area where tables and chairs can be arranged as needed for lounging or visiting. On the walls of the open-air gallery are murals by Arne Klingborg depicting scenes of healing. Also in this courtyard are sculptures of bronze relating to the four elements -- earth, water, air, and fire -- and gardens of flowers and herbs. Horticulture is an important part of the therapy work at Vidarkliniken.

It would take an entire course to describe the special living quality of the architecture of this clinic and the neighboring houses, which were designed with it to form a cluster of buildings for doctors' housing, outpatient work, and a patient hotel. For this and the interesting preparations leading to the design, I direct your attention to a new book entitled Erik Asmussen: Toward a Living Architecture, by Gary Coates and Susanne Siepl-Coates of Kansas State University.

In a paper on the clinic they wrote, "The Vidarkliniken is specially designed to act as a nurturing and therapeutic environment which, through its spaces, forms, colors, and materials helps patients regain health by bringing into balance their faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing." To quote further from their concluding remarks, "At Vidarkliniken, nature and culture, sickness and health are contained within the embrace of a larger whole.... Through the use of sculptural forms, dynamically balanced and sinuously flowing spaces, unobtrusive but light-filled colors, and clearly recognizable, simple materials, the building of Vidarkliniken speak to the needs and capacities of the whole human being."

The architect, Asmussen, told me that his first task was to create space and color that would cheer up the patients and help them feel at home and at ease. The building is low to the ground and small in scale, giving a feeling of human proportion. Patients arriving at the building do not feel threatened that they might lose their identities. "For patients who are out of balance and whose life energies are weakened by illness, it is important that the building provide a sense of organic, living order," Asmussen said.

He also approached the whole design from the patient standpoint. Upon arriving at the hospital, the patient turns inward and desires isolation. Each room is rich and varied in design. The outside of the building is covered with a warm pink rose-colored stucco. Upon entering the building, one is immediately greeted with warm ochre-colored Lazure-painted walls. Natural light from the courtyard shines through large windows onto an arrangement of large potted plants. The frames and mullions of the windows are Lazured in a cool bluish green. The floor is covered in Norwegian marble with streaks of rose, green, gray, and golden yellow. These colors form the basis of the color plans for the clinic.

A water sculpture is positioned in front of the plants. Water flows continuously through "flow forms." The specially designed forms are the result of years of research regarding the movement of water. The water moves in a pulsating rhythm similar to the beat of the heart, through a series of cast concrete forms. Water moves in lemniscate or figure-eight movements several times before flowing into the next form. Every child I saw during my visit there stopped to look, listen, and touch this special fountain. Many adults did the same.

"Colors in the patient rooms are the result of Lazure painting using plant colors in a casein and beeswax medium."

Patient rooms are carefully planned, offering a world as rich and varied as possible. Some rooms are symmetrical with rectangular plans, and others are based on irregular pentagonal geometry. On the second floor, ceilings offer visual and spatial interest due to their varied shapes, created by the rising and falling roof angles. Many rooms have exterior walls inflecting outward to create asymmetrical window bays and alcoves that bring light into the room from two sides. The windows are carefully positioned and lower than usual to give the best view from the bed.

Colors in the patient rooms are the result of Lazure painting using plant colors in a casein and beeswax medium. These colors are usually warm rose or blue and blue violet. Furniture and woodwork are also Lazured using wood oil and then lacquered leaving the grain showing through.

"Wherever color is used in Vidarkliniken, it is never merely symbolic or decorative, but rather, it is intended to serve the process of healing and to support the functions of the spaces in which it is applied," wrote the Coateses. "Patients whose illness tends towards a 'sclerotic' or hardening condition would benefit from the warmer colors, whereas those with 'inflammatory' or breaking down 'warm' illnesses would benefit from the cool colors."

The patient's movements from the first inward-directed mood upon arrival lead him or her outward to the corridor. The corridor around the central wing follows the windows surrounding the courtyard. An expanded area allows for a lovely cafe providing refreshment and a pleasant space for visitors, patients, and staff to meet. It is positioned for a central view of the courtyard and arcade. The rising and falling pattern of the diagonal green window mullions are reflected in the diagonal pattern of the railing on the second level of the arcade and on the first level by open spaces which allow the natural trees to join in the circle. This gives rise to a feeling of a community of people embracing and including nature. The mood of this space is welcoming and joyful.

The warm colors of the corridors are Lazured using mineral colors. Instead of feeling long and narrow, the corridors feel intimate. This is achieved by shifting directions slightly and varying the width, often widening into alcoves -- some used as sitting areas, others leading to windows that look toward the world outside. Still other areas lead to day rooms where social life takes place. Inside the day room, a sliding window wall may be opened to the wide landscape of rocks and trees. In another area of this room is a sculpted fireplace located near a window. This offers a feeling of warmth and hospitality. The juxtaposition next to the window increases appreciation for the contrast of the outside and the inside.

While the main floor has marble, the second floor is finished with wood, allowing for a more intimate and warmer quality. Likewise, the dining room, which is on the ground level, has wooden floors made of broad planks of yellow pine. All ceilings are finished with acoustical, insulating tiles made from compressed, fire-treated wood fibers. They are Lazure-painted as well.

The basement level offers a more protected area. Besides utility and storage rooms, there are also rooms for mineral and herbal baths as well as rhythmic massage. Here is a "realm of earth and water filled with strong scents of oils and ointments made from plants." Small high windows bring in natural light and remind one that these are protected spaces below the ground where one can feel relaxed.

On the second floor of the central wing are rooms for painting, music, and sculpture therapy; doctors' offices; a library; and a large room for cur-ative eurythmy. The assembly hall, also on the second floor, is a large space for patients and staff to gather in the evenings for cultural events, such as musical and dramatic performances. Some patients are even brought to these events in their beds. With rose-colored walls and a blue ceiling and large laminated joists, also blue, this room feels spacious, but is warm and intimate at the same time.

The eurythmy room is Lazured in warm rose and rose-violet colors to reflect the active nature of eurythmy. The gesture of the room and the large window encourage one to stand up straight and move freely. The volume of the space is larger at the top than the bottom. Downward-bearing weight and upward-rising support are balanced in form.

By contrast, the sculpture room has a greater feeling of gravity. The rose color supports the active work of modeling clay into sculptural forms. The painting room is more calm, upright, and tall, but not lifting off. The color is pale bluish violet. It feels less heavy than the room for sculpture, relating more to light-filled color.

Anthroposophic medicine works to engage the patient in a conscious process of self-healing and spiritual growth. While encompassing various artistic therapeutic treatments, it also uses allopathic and homeopathic medicaments, massage, mineral baths, and nutrition. The nurturing environment of the Vidarkliniken, through its spaces, forms, colors, and materials, helps patients regain health by bringing into balance their faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing.

Anthroposophic medicine encompasses an extensive body of knowledge and is known for its effectiveness in treating many conditions including cancer; Epstein-Barr; chronic degenerative diseases, such as lupus erythematosus; heart and vascular conditions; and many others, such as insomnia and back problems. Medicine is given to help the person reestablish health and become actively and consciously involved in the healing process. Healing must engage the intentionality or will of the patient. Through successful healing the patient's life becomes a little more transparent, and he or she is able to gain new insight into life's purpose.

I hope it has become apparent that Lazure painting offers a healing treatment for buildings and the people who use them. It is being used in schools, curative homes, nursing homes, offices, and residences, as well as other medical facilities.

Both eye and soul find rest and stimulation in the quality Lazure brings. At a time of greater interest in nontoxic paints, Lazure offers a range of mediums and colors to enhance the health of buildings. Beeswax medium, casein paint, plant resin-based oils and protective coats and many others are available. Durable surfaces can be provided while at the same time offering a softer environment. Lazure painters throughout the U.S. work individually in their areas and also collaborate on larger projects to meet the needs of anyone requesting this service.