Me and bright colours

If this sounds like a confession, it is probably because it is one. Sort of. I find bright colours irresistible. And given a chance, I’ll go to town with them. Like I did years ago, when the interior of my home was gutted and rebuilt. New plasterboards covered every wall. Two months later, a friend remarked that he wouldn’t like to wake up in my place after a heavy night on the turps. He was surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colour. A lilac front passage opened into a canary yellow lounge room which gave way to a sky-blue kitchen. When he passed through the kitchen he arrived at the watermelon family room. The bedrooms were burnt orange and deep blue. Even the bathroom wasn’t spared: mustard tiles on a dark green wall. My friend never slept over at my place. He wasn’t a close friend anyway.

When I tried to sell that house a few years later, people who came through on open days actually applauded its appearance. But I didn’t get a single offer. And not a single bid at the auction. But after a month I negotiated a price and got it off my hands. I drove past the place the following year. The blinds were down and I was able to see that the canary yellow lounge room and sky blue kitchen had been off-whited over. I suspect every other room had been similarly degraded. I realised my penchant for bright colours is not universally shared. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be a minority affliction.

I have never tried to paint a house again. It’s the sort of back-breaking work one does only once in a lifetime. Unless one is a professional house painter or a masochist. But my addiction to bright colours is as permanent a part of me as the colour of my eyes or the shape of my feet. And it seeks expression, it demands feeding and satisfying.

This year I studied painting for one semester at RMIT. It is RMIT’s policy to get each of its students to do one elective outside the domain of their course. Once I got past the tentative efforts of returning to art after, let’s see, thirty five years, I discovered an outlet for my addiction that will last the rest of my life. As much as I love painting urban and rural landscapes, I am always looking for opportunities to sneak in a bright yellow or blue or orange or red, no matter that it isn’t part of the original setting I am trying to capture. The result is a stylised reproduction somewhere between real and abstract. Maybe my painting niche resides in this nether world. You can see that nether world in the Instagram section of this blogsite.

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