The young boy in the student art class I was instructing wasn't enjoying the exercise. In fact, he didn't like drawing at all and defiantly told me, "I hate it!" Determined to involve him, I asked what colour is hate? Without hesitation, he scowled and said "RED!" "Well, show me what hate looks like, show me red", I guided him. He paused and then picked up a red pencil and started slashing great lines of vented anger across the paper. His red lines became more expressive, he incorporated words and symbols, now lost in the process. In the end, his work was by far the most expressive that day. And he turned to me with a smile. He understood.
People often comment on my use of vivid colour. My abstract paintings are all about what I feel and colour is part of that inner language in response to emotions, ideas and commentary. For me, red is passion. Red is intense. Red is hot and full of sizzle. Red can also be a counterpoint to quieter thoughts or an exclamation mark. Red can be heartache or pain. Red can be outrage or love. And red can say stop. Red is a primary colour full of primal instinct.
We are surrounded by colour every day and our response can vary from universal understanding to private thoughts. Red is a stop sign, a valentine and blood in the veins.
How do you respond to the colour red? What do you see? What do you feel? Your thoughts are welcome.
Anna Horsnell SCA
Canadian painter of contemporary abstract art