Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Colour Inspirations

What’s your favourite colour?  If you have or know a young child I’d take a bet you’ve been asked this question hundreds of times.    For me, for a long time, the answer was always pink.  But over the years I’ve changed my mind – lots of times.  As a teenager I remember having a brown phase which drifted into my twenties.  My current favourites are lavender and duck egg blue but I also love limey green, am not very keen on navy blue and positively detest grey.  Why do we like certain colours  - what is it about red or yellow or duck egg blue that draws us in, makes us want to wear it, paint our walls in it, plant it in our garden?  Does it matter?

Well, if you’re an artist, craftsperson, interior designer, even a magazine editor, yes, it does.   I have to admit that one of the reasons I subscribe to Country Living magazine is the front covers – each one is so beautifully put together, sometimes there’s a dominant colour as in the June 2011 edition when a passion for roses inspired a very rose pink theme from the title to the blossoms in the picture, a bright leaf green providing the perfect contrast to the pink hues.  October’s, on the other hand,  was full of rich autumnal colours of leaves turning, a peachy russet fence and table providing the perfect foil for a splash of apple green.  As someone who works with yarn and fabric every day I find myself drawn to those which reflect this variety and richness.  More often than not my yarn choice is variegated, especially hand-painted or hand-dyed.  Recently I’ve purchased several skeins for some new projects.  I had many options but these are some of the colour combinations which found their way into my stash. 

 The purple and pink skein has colours which are close to each other in the spectrum or colour wheel, the red/orange one has contrasting green, the turquoise (from Wharfedale Woolworks - find these lovely yarns on has many shades around an ocean theme – three different approaches but one thing in common – the intensity of the colour.   And that does inspire me.

I’m not alone in being drawn to particular colours; I’ve noticed that when choosing from my knitted corsages customers who are buying one as a gift often look ‘in their mind’s eye’ to ‘see’ what would best suit the recipient – they associate certain colours with that person and are seeking something to complement it.  So this makes me wonder whether the colours we are drawn to say something about us.  Some years ago in my second ‘youth’ I studied Psychology and looked a little into the theory that colour choice may say something about our personality.  It is certainly something which a number of scientists, philosophers and psychological investigators have explored and there are suggestions that there are links between colour preference and emotions and personality traits.  At the scientific end of the spectrum (so to speak) Max Luscher devised his colour test while exploring the links between colour and the mind.  More practically colour practitioners have formulated ways to choose the most appropriate colour in clothes based on seasonal personality types.  If you want to explore these ideas further have a look at the Living Colour website ( or Howard and Dorothy Sun’s book Colour Your Life.  I found it fascinating.  My own little experiment on my Psychology course did indicate that the more extravert my subjects were, the more likely they were to choose red or orange.  So next time you’re choosing a paint colour or new clothes think about which colour your eye hovers over on the paint chart or which outfit your hand reaches to on the rail.  Does your choice say anything about you?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  My next blog will be about butterflies.  Bye for now.  Lots of love, Alison


  1. I'm not sure that theory can be correct red has always been my favourite colour.

  2. What an interesting post. From childhood my favourite colour has been red. Recently joined, over the past 5 or 6 years by apple green. I'm very intrigued now to wonder what that may say about me!!!