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  • Writer's pictureHaydn Dickenson


Colour influences our lives at every turn. We decide what colour to paint the walls in our homes, which colour to choose for our car, or for the clothes that we will drape on our bodies, and much more.

Even the colour of the food we eat influences our menu-choice – food is surely a multi-sensory pleasure. Our food also impacts our physical colouration as humans. Beige food is unhealthy – it is food devoid of micronutrients. It is non-food. Look at the sit-down customers in a seaside fish-and-chip shop. You can tell who eats there regularly, for they look beige. Fish and chips, however delicious as a treat, is a beige food.

fish and chips on the beach

We can, if we wish, commission a colour-analysis that decides for us which colours will suit our complexion, our physiognomy, our build and so on. Personally I prefer a more spontaneous, individual and eclectic approach to dressing myself and decorating my home. It's cheaper too.

I wear a lot of black. I love black, and regard it as one of my favourite colours. Black is timeless, and you can't argue with it easily. I don't like to be argued with.

Henry Ford, in 1919, famously offered his new Model T Ford in “any colour so long as it's black”. My granddaughter tells me that black is not a colour, so I can't include it among my favourites; but I can and do. I also love to wear pink. I know - don't even try to categorise me.

My painting, SPEAK YOUR MIND, is an almost entirely monochrome canvas, featuring greys and blacks of varying intensity. It's reception seems to indicate light responses rather than dark ones, and its title reflects, perhaps, the unequivocal - 'don't argue with me' - stance mentioned above. The prevalent tones of this painting do not indicate any morbidity on my part.

large monochrome acrylic painting by emerging artist Haydn
SPEAK YOUR MIND. Artist - HAYDN (2020_

I am about to embark on two companion paintings to form a trio with SPEAK YOUR MIND, which will be pitched by my representatives to a particular very high-profile art collector; a trio of blacks and greys, ameliorated perhaps by discreet accents of earth colours. I have always loved painting in grey – I find grey expressive.

On the occasions when I venture into figurative drawings of the nude human form, my work is invariably in graphite, with only occasional accents of colour. In the same way, most of my analogue photography on 35 mm and 120 film (another of my passions) is in black and white.

I dislike stereotypes and clichés. I don't like people to assume I am angry or have indigestion if I produce a painting that contains red, nor that I am sad if blue is predominant. No, I don't have a 'Blue Period'.

Different colours mean different things to different people and one person's hellfire might be another person's panacea. I adore the natural world but, though it undeniably influences my painting in innumerable subtle ways, the most obvious colour of nature – green - rarely appears in my pictures. If green raises its head, it is more likely to tend towards the poison hues rather than the bucolic ones. A gallerist once commented on my 'colour-madness'. I liked that.

small abstract painting in poison green and blue by emerging artist Haydn

Naturally, when choosing art for the home, the client's colour-preferences come into play, but that is another matter altogether. The colour-psychology of consumption may very well be at odds with that of creation. It would be both precious and pretentious to deny or decry the fact that the choosing of a painting becomes a part of interior design. So it should!

A wonderful painting might look dreadful in the wrong setting; amidst, perhaps, the 'wrong' colours, or incongruous furniture and artifacts. A bad painting probably doesn't have a 'right setting' at all!

This evening's title comes from a lovely sentence from an artist whose colour-language drips with warmth and sensuality:

Colour – what a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams!” Paul Gauguin.

Beautiful 1892 painting by Gauguin in Tahiti
Reo Tahiti - Nafea Faaipoipo - PAUL GAUGUIN (1892)

A DEEP AND MYSTERIOUS LANGUAGE Copyright Haydn Dickenson 2024


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