Sing the blues
- Credit: Archant
When we first saw the Earth from space – through the lens of an inexpert astronaut’s camera 45 years ago – the colour that looked back at us was blue. It is hard today to grasp the significance of this revelation today. The image, now known as ‘Earthspace’ captured the imagination of the world.
Many centuries earlier the colour blue was associated with the Virgin Mary, who appeared swathed in blue garments in Renaissance paintings – perhaps because the ultramarine pigment was the most costly it was deemed a fitting tribute to the Mother of God. Three hundred years on, artist Pablo Picasso struggled to sell the sombre monochromatic paintings he created at the beginning of the 20th century in shades of blue and blue-green, with only the occasional splash of other colours. Today this work created during his ‘blue period’ are among his most sought after.
Artists continue to be dazzled by blue. French artist Ives Klein created endless paintings using his own 1961-patented pigment ‘International Klein Blue’. He felt IKB, as it came to be known, best represented his whole artistic concept and used it on canvases, sculptures and smeared it on naked bodies to sprawl on blank canvases.
Outside of the artworld, blue has a reputation for being cold, and continues to be most associated with water; but unlike the Rennaissance painters we have many many different pigments of blue available to us. They vary in tone from cold to hot: we can utilise midnight blue, turquoise and right through to palest duck egg blue. More than half of people when asked will list blue as their favour colour. And in our homes it tends to dominate bathrooms and kitchens – anywhere that water flows – and of course, it’s a common interior in its lightest forms in baby – boys only, of course – bedrooms.
Here in Cornwall it is a colour to be especially sought after in the skies to signal a warm day. It is a great colour to use in our homes - and any holiday properties - to underline our proximity to the shimmering waters we are surrounded by – especially if those blue skies are slow to appear. Blue works best with other blues and soft vintage whites. Combine light bleached out blues with white linens and use in ceramics for an airy contemporary feel, and go for darker shades in more lush fabrics like velvet and wool. Blue looks good on the walls, whether paint, wallpaper or tiles – this season try shimmering aquamarine or go bold with petrol tones, teal or Prussian blue. n