It’s inspir­a­tion month here at UnArt, and I want to talk about colour.

It almost seems to be cheat­ing to talk about col­our as an inspir­a­tion; there prob­ably aren’t many artists or illus­trat­ors who don’t find col­our inspir­ing. It would be like a writer not lik­ing verbs.

Sometimes just see­ing a par­tic­u­lar col­our gives me a idea for a image, for example ‘Green Meditation’ (below) was inspired by green moss on a rock.

However, it’s dif­fi­cult to talk about col­our in a mean­ing­ful way – this really is an area where a pic­ture is worth 1000 words.

For example, I’ve talked before about my ‘Elements’ series of paint­ings (below), which are almost all col­our – or rather, a col­lec­tion of col­ours assembled to try and invoke a par­tic­u­lar set of ideas. I think that, by and large it worked, but it’s not simple to say why.

Why is red the col­our of pas­sion? Maybe because of blood or fire? Why is blue peace­ful and cereb­ral? Um, because of the sky? It all sounds a bit trite, doesn’t it? Like some sort of silly col­our coding.

Furthermore, I don’t think most artists think in terms of ‘blue’ at all but instead in terms of par­tic­u­lar shades of blue – and while there are names for shades of blue (mid­night blue, cobalt blue, corn­flower blue, and so on) that doesn’t really help. Is there really a word for the feel­ing of open sky, or quiet ocean, or deep and silent forest, heavy with moss? Maybe, maybe not – but there are col­ours that express all that.

So it’s not easy to describe why I find col­our so inspir­ing. Someone once said ‘Writing about music is like dan­cing about archi­tec­ture’ and I feel it’s much the same writ­ing about col­our, so I’m going to stop dan­cing now.

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