On sunny days like today, I often ponder some more about the nature of colour and the relationship with light. It is said that the Impressionists were actually realists, as they believed that truth came from light. I’m not exactly sure how this belief would have informed their everyday practice but I do know that they were believed to have been the first artists to mix colour right on the canvas as opposed to using palettes for mixing.
When I am truly in the ‘moments’ of creativity and painting, I mix colour by instinct and on the canvas so it is comforting to know that not keeping strict records of the colour ratios for each piece is a practice I share with the Impressionists! The colour wheel is something I have hanging in my studio but it is not something that I refer to. Why not? For me, it is too precise and scientific and therefore can constrain rather than open up possibilities.
There are many fascinating theories about colour and mood, spectrums and science, reflection and absorption but perhaps the thing that fascinates me most of all is our varied perception of light and colour. How could I ever experience how you experience blue? Can we even imagine a new colour made up of colours beyond our perceived spectrum?
It is tricky for us to know if you and I see or experience the same blue because each of us has a unique way of seeing the world based on biology and how we have decided to ‘log’ purple, violet or aubergine! To me, this is yet another reason why visual art is so exciting – the experience of any piece will always be unique, even to the same ‘viewer’ under different light conditions and from one day to another. So…. there are first impressions, second impressions and if we are lucky there are also lasting impressions.