A Life in Colour


The world has been white far too often this year – and I’m trying to ignore the social media posts that tell me the Easter weekend will be suffering the same fate. All those poor snow-flattened daffodils and crocuses, it’s such a shame. Spring is meant to be about colour after the greys of winter – and I’ve been planning a blog post about colour for ages now. Mostly since I was waxing lyrical during a writer’s meet-up, about apricot skies and long, lilac shadows. A friend’s head swivelled towards me.
‘You can tell you’re an artist,’ she said, with a grin. ‘I’d just have said it was an orange sky. And now I’m going to have to look at the colour of shadows on the roads!’
(Now I come to think of it, that’s a great title for a novel, ‘The Colour of Shadows’. I thought of it first! It’s mine!)
Yes, I am an artist, in my ‘other’ job. I adore colour. I have pink hair! Cyclamen, actually, if we’re being picky. I’ve dyed my hair pink on and off for the past thirty years, and I think it’s here to stay now.


One of the things I’m consistently asked to explain during my demonstrations to art societies, is use of colour – how to darken a colour without using black, for example.
It was a standing joke amongst my friends, that passengers in my car were subjected to frequent exclamations about what a beautiful colour a certain field was, or a tree/sky/wild flowers/substitute here any passing bit of nature that caught my eye. Children taken to rugby or swimming would later remark to their parents about cerulean skies, to be met with the response, ‘You’ve been in Sue’s car, haven’t you?’
My very-soon-to-be-released debut novel, ‘Summer at the Art Café’, was inspired by the colour of a motorbike. It was a deep, dazzling, slightly metallic purple. Imperial Purple, is its official colour, and I’ve loved it with a passion for the past five years. The entire novel grew around that purple motorbike!
It’s fair to say that there’s quite a lot of overlap in my creative life – my heroine is an artist. Writing about the art that she creates made me want to paint!
We’re told to try and include scents and sounds in our writing. Sitting here in my studio, I can hear a chorus of birds singing outside my window, even though the temperature has only just cranked itself past freezing, and to be honest, the dog needs a bath.
It’s also true that we use colour to describe emotion. We go pink with pleasure, redden with embarrassment, blue with cold (I’ve been doing a lot of that, lately) green with nausea and white with fear. There aren’t many colours left out of that lot!
But there’s a rainbow of colour all around me, not just in my paintings but in my surroundings.


When the dog decides I’ve been sitting down for too long and I need a walk, (he’s bored) I’ll see that those snow-squashed glossy purple crocuses will be beginning to spring upright. Tiny, tight, bright lime green buds on dark twiggy trees, golden yellow celandine nestled amongst emerald grass, deep burnished reds of dogwood bushes… they make me want to reach for my paintbrush, and my pen!
 Have I made you notice some colours around you? I hope so! Here’s to Spring sunshine!


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