I was having trouble getting to sleep last night. I broke my strict diet late yesterday, after 63 days, by indulging in a glass of organic shiraz and 2 pieces of organic dark chocolate. I am not sure whether it was the consumption of those or the anxiety related to consuming them that made me and my digestive system feel a bit unsettled, but whatever it was, I was restless and unable to relax properly.
To rectify this, I picked up a book. I often find when I am unsettled late of an evening that reading is the one thing that can bring a sense of calm. I randomly selected a title from my bookshelf which happened to be Colour - Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay, (which I think was later re-released as Colour - The Natural History of the Palette). My dear friend Karyn had bought me this book for my 29th birthday, and in over three years, I had not managed to read any of it.
I read a little of the Green chapter and then began to read the chapter on Yellow. I chose yellow in light of a recent commission I had completed. I usually do not accept many commissions, as I find sometimes the expectations and 'guidelines' can limit my artistic freedom. I don't like the idea of being asked to reproduce a particular painting but can I put that there and make that this colour etc. In fact, I never accept commissions of this nature. I do however accept some commissions that allow me that artistic freedom or provide me with a desirable challenge. In this case, it was quite simple, as the only real 'guideline' was that I feature the colour yellow. Although, in a sense, this golden rule was still something I would usually roll my eyes at a little, I was keen to explore a colour that I had hardly ever used in my work. In fact, in the past I had even found the colour annoying at times. Don't ask me why - I have no idea. I now enjoy a much more positive relationship with the colour in question.
I found the chapter on Yellow absolutely fascinating and by 2am I was having difficulty putting the book down despite feeling incredibly tired. I read until I could no longer keep my eyes open.
(I have often heard questions in regards to whether we dream in colour or 'black and white'. Sleep Laboratory evidence suggests that most dreams are in colour, although most people, when dreaming, frequently do not supply colour information unless prompted to do so. It has been said that people who notice colour more in their 'waking life', such as artists, are far more likely to notice colour in their dreams as well.)
I am not sure if this last statement is true or not but I certainly dreamt in full colour last night.
I have picked up Ms. Finlay's remarkable book again today. I simply admire the dedication and intelligence that went into the research and writing of this book. It is truly intriguing and ultimately inspiring in so many ways. What an amazing woman.