Colour My World

You know how some people want to know your star sign? And as soon as you admit you’re a Taurus, they offer a sage nod before telling you stuff you didn’t really need to hear. Or have heard before. A hundred times. We Tauruses are not stubborn, by the way. We’re determined. Huge difference. For stubbornness, look to your neighbourhood Aries.

I don’t make a habit of asking people their star sign. Instead, I want to know your favourite colour. I know the favourite colours of all my friends. I don’t attach any mystical theories to the knowledge but it does come in handy when I’m buying gifts. Also, colour is important to me and always has been.

Orange and purple
Like this, but with more purple in between.

When I was a kid, my favourite colours were orange and purple. Together. My bedroom was a bit of an eyesore, but I loved it. I had these brilliant curtains decorated with huge orange flowers and purple leaves and when the sun shone through from behind, the flowers glowed. My wardrobe was painted bright purple and we called it the Purple People Eater. My chenille bedspread was orange and I had a purple rug on the floor. I loved my room. It was every four-year-old’s dream.

I don’t really remember what came after the orange and purple phase. We moved a lot and usually rented our houses, so I didn’t really get around to a lot of personal space personalization. When we finally settled just outside of Washington DC, however, I finally got to decorate another bedroom and I chose a blue floral pattern. Looking back, I’m not sure why? I think I was heavily influenced by my mother. We’d bought an old farmhouse and she had definite ideas about what it should look like, inside and out.

argyleAlthough I’d settled on blue as my favourite colour during my teens, I did go through an odd phase in eighth grade where I only wore grey and yellow clothes. I even had this amazing pair of grey and yellow argyle socks that I would wash out every night so I could wear them again. And again.

I was so weird.

(To my never ending amusement, Google completed my search for grey and yellow argyle with the word socks and then provided me with dozens of wonderful pictures. I might have to order a pair!)

wagon_wheel_by_sisimka_d64ont2-pre
“Wagon Wheel” from the grey on grey on grey period.

In tenth grade I chose an art elective because I thought it would be an easy class. This simple choice would impact my life in a number of ways. It wasn’t an easy class. Our teacher was a working artist with an extensive knowledge of art history. We started with hard black pencils and gradually moved through the numbers. Then we got to use charcoal, then conte, then ink washes. Finally, after six months of grey on grey on grey, we were allowed to use colour. My first painting was a black stick figure surrounded by flecks of every colour imaginable. It was my mind exploding—in all the good sorts of ways—and it was during these months that I first thought I might like to be an artist. My love of art has coloured my life ever since.

kissable_lips_by_sisimka_d5nbct1-pre
“Kissable Lips” from my more colourful period. (Portait of Solange)

One of the things I love to do is sketch the bare outline of a face and then flesh out my portrait with coloured pencils, building layer upon layer of colour until I get the right skin tone, the contours of cheek and nose, and every hint of colour in the hair.

Blue was still my favourite colour when I was a teenager, and I remember associating a lot of my personality with the supposed traits of blue: I was a loyal and steadfast friend. I was honest and fair. Or I wanted to be.

I had also decided around then that yellow was a terrible colour; that it stood for cowardice and shame. And grey wasn’t really a colour at all, was it?

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The Ballroom Forest (Cam Blake Photography)

As I grew into my twenties, my favourite colour changed to green and there’s a simple explanation for this. I traveled a lot and a lot of my travel included hiking up and down mountains and through rainforests. There is a place in Tasmania called the Ballroom Forest and it’s absolutely enchanting. The name comes from the green carpet of moss that covers much of the ground, and the way the trees curve around and up, giving the few clearings the feel of an enchanted ballroom. It’s a beautiful place, as is much of the untouched wilderness of Tasmania, and even now, I can never get enough of those shades of green.

My house now is decorated in a mixture of blues and greens, with blues for the sleeping rooms and greens for the awake rooms (kitchen, dining, family). I have twelve acres of forest behind me and one of my favourite things to do is to look out of the window from the couch to see the green of the forest framed by the green of the family room wall. It’s harmonious.

And right now, if you asked me my favourite colour, I’d probably say green.

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His name is Max.

But I just bought a red car and it’s the most gorgeous shade of red imaginable. Ford calls it royal crimson and it’s like a black cherry—dark and rich and delicious. I also chose red as the colour for the new logo for our bagel shop. A bright, vibrant red. Red is cheery. I always feel happy when I look at red. I like red wine! I also like red apples, but not those cheating red delicious that are never delicious at all. I love Twizzlers. Red is good.

I did think about getting a blue car. My previous car was blue and I loved the deep indigo colour. I also thought about a dark grey. But the other colour I considered did come as a bit of a surprise: competition orange.

competition orangeNow, I don’t really think I could drive an orange car forever, but look at this orange. It’s gorgeous. So warm and sunshiny! It’s a really nice colour and looking at it reminds me that orange is and has been for quite some time, my second favourite colour. It’s warmer than red. Friendlier. It’s hard to feel sad when you’re surrounded by orange. My four-year-old self was on to something.

Is there a point to this post? No, not really, except as an excuse to ramble on, because I haven’t had the chance to do that much lately, and so when I got the idea to write a post about colour, I got all excited. There hasn’t been enough rambling about nothing on this blog!

So, what’s your favourite colour?

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