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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

Colour Connections

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

One thing that always makes me feel like my day was well spent is walking in nature. It is very healing and soothing. Lately, in the warmer climes, I’ve gone into the garden, on the pathways or the beach, without socks and shoes, enjoying the feel of the earth beneath my feet. It’s wonderful! And I always think to myself ‘Why don’t I do this more often?’ People have started to call this ‘grounding’, referring to a form of therapy or self-care. I simply call it walking in my bare feet.

[ It’s a bit like this so-called ‘new’ concept of ‘wild swimming’, as though no one ever swam in the lakes before. Didn’t we always just call it swimming?! Of course it is a pretty chilly endeavour in the North Sea, so it could be considered a fairly wild thing to do! ]

There have been moments when I have gone outside and it has been like stepping into a painting. The vibrancy level has been raised a few notches. Everything is sparkling and hyper real.

The lushness of the season overwhelms me as the smells of wildflowers and sounds of birds fill the air.

I’m always amazed, too, at the incredible variety in this wide open region of sea and sky. When you look closer, the detail and colour contrast is remarkable. Nature never fails to impress.

The light on the landscape highlights many shades and pigments.

I’ve been thinking about complementary colours in nature lately ~ colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel: green and red, purple and yellow, blue and orange and variations of these combinations. We can learn so much by looking outside. What triggered this thought was noticing an eye-catching contrast from the corner of my eye as I was driving past some gorse bushes and dame's rocket on the verge of the road.

I was inspired to look for other similar colour relationships....

Artists have often drawn on these connections of colour in the natural world. I think of Van Gogh

who would increase the vivacity in his paintings using complementary colours - one colour against another, enhancing each other and creating an electric composition that would sing on the canvas.

Van Gogh often tested his colour combinations before painting, with threads of wool in various hues. Only after that would he use his valuable paint. He had an attractive red lacquer box in which he kept his balls of wool.

Or André Derain:

Matisse's cutouts:

Georgia O'Keefe:

Both the natural world and the greatest artists can be our teachers.

At this time of year there is a luminescence in the north of Scotland - a great thing for painters who often rely on natural light in the studio!

I wish you all a very happy Summer Solstice and some blissful days of beautiful colour and inspiring vistas in the weeks to come.

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