Colour me human.

Nothing evokes reactions like colour.

As an artist I mix paints attempting to create the precise colour that I imagine for the canvas before me. I use a number of techniques to achieve this which include adjusting the hue (the base that the colour comes from), tint (by adding white), tones (by adding grey) and shades (by adding black). Each subtle change is necessary to help define colour, texture, character and shape within the painting. Even when limiting the colour choice to black and white, the possibilities are endless and captures both highlights and shadows. This mixing of colours brings the painting to life, with this purposed designed to stimulate the viewer and elicit a reaction.

Paint retailers promote the fact that colour can affect our mood, for example greens and blues are said to be calming and restful, orange is exciting and red energetic, yellow is uplifting, black grounding and white neutral.

Our lives are full of colour, however the way we see and experience colour is very individualised as is the intensity of our reactions. From very early on we learn to refer to colour as descriptors of feelings, and objects for example in fairy tales colour is used to differentiate between good and evil for example snow white was good and angelic with white skin and the wicked queen always wears black.

This emotion is also seen in nature. For me when the greens of the bush are touched by the suns’ rays, they appear radiant and warm where as if the sky is cloudy and rain is coming down the same green leaves can appear dismal and depressing. For others the same scene may result in totally different reactions.  

Preferences are also individual, for example my mum dislikes yellow roses but loves any shades of pink. My favourite colour is red; I wear all shades of it but prefer red with an orange hue in summer and the blue hue in winter.

What I don’t understand however is why we use colour as an excuse to judge, hurt, discriminate against and in the worst cases murder others. Rioting in the US is occurring this week as a result of a man being murdered by a police officer and sanctioned by his fellow officers as they watched on, all because of the colour of the victims skin.

The colour a person’s skin is determined by the content of a pigment called melanin which is natures protection from the suns ultraviolet radiation; depending on where your ancestors originated, the closer to the equator the more melanin present, dark skin is protective.

The colour of the skin is not associated with whether a person is honest or not, it does not affect their intellect, it does not affect their hopes and dreams, their sexual orientation, their religion or their self worth but what does affect these things is how they are looked upon by everyone of us.

Only we can make a difference, make the choice to see everyone as the colour of a human being and not the amount of melanin within their skin. If we make choices based on love not assumptions based on bias we would all be a lot happier and safer.

My favourite colour is red, which is of course the colour that also pumps within all of us.

Be kind.

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