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How do you see colour

I should have been moving house today. But, due to problems further down the chain, it’s had to be delayed for a couple of weeks or so. But fingers crossed that it can all go through soon. Until that momentous day, I continue packing……

But the days of waiting are sometimes punctuated with pleasant surprises, and today was one of them. My good friend K turned up unexpectedly as he was in the area and wondered if I was at home. And I know he likes drinking tea as much as I do, so I’m sure that had part of the pull !

We’ve not seen each other for a while, and it was good to catch up with him and have a chat. He’s very easy company and we share a lot of interests – he talked about his new job, his wife, and kids and we got onto the usual subject of art.

And one of the things he said got me thinking. He made a comment about people being colour-blind and said he wondered what colours they saw instead? For instance, is the red that he sees, the same as the red that they see? Or blues? Or greens? Infact, are any of the colours he sees the same as the ones I see, for instance. I thought for a while, and we discussed the fact that some people have a hatred for some colours – either through something within them, or through a learnt reaction (for instance it was years after I left school before I was happy being seen in a pale blue blouse and light grey skirt, as it was my school uniform, and I obviously still had some negative reactions to it, and I enjoyed my school-days!).
I had a friend years ago who hated the colour red. She adored pink. But not red. Now, why would that be? What was in her that had created that irrational reaction? Or maybe she’d had a bad experiece with the colour in her formative years (perhaps a nasty episode with a tomato in the spin drier? Or an aversion to blood maybe?). She wouldn’t have the colour in the house and certainly wouldn’t buy any red clothes or lipsticks. And I know of other people who hate particular colours – K said he hated to see women in dark purple, and yet he liked dark blue, which isn’t far off in tone and colour. He said he hated brown too, and I agreed, I find it a dead colour. I love it as a colour though as in natural woods, and brunette hair colouring, but not particularly for home decor colour schemes, and clothes for me.  

So, all this leaves me, as an artist, with a problem. If I like colours, I’ll use them in a picture. But, if someone doesn’t like them, they won’t buy the picture. And what if they see a particular colour in a different way to the way I see it? How can I paint a picture for them? Or do people who are colour blind just “read” it differently? If I painted a landscape all in greens, do they see the greens? Or do their eyes just “read” it as “landscape” and the colours are immaterial?

But then, I’ve had people go a real “Wow” over some of the pictures I’ve painted, because of the really bright colours. So, it obvioulsy “works” for some people.

And all in all, probably leaves me a little confused! But then, that’s the joy of art. No one really knows……….
It’s just finding that bit of magic that works within the picture – whether its through colour, or not.