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Poppies or daffodils?

In Memory of Helen

The connections I make between colour and emotion are very much expressed in my paintings and I always look to nature, to the sky, to flowers for inspiration. I was walking in the field at the back of my house on a grey day, and in amongst the weeds and stubble I saw a bright red poppy. Instantly my mood lifted. I love painting poppies because they look so fragile, so many shapes and shades of red and because they stand strong, resilient, a reminder from nature not to give up. On a grey day I paint poppies.

Have you ever wondered why people say they feel blue when they feel sad? In Greek mythology, whenever Zeus was upset, he would make it rain .Research published in Psychological Science revealed that participants who watched a sad video were less accurate in identifying colours on the blue-yellow spectrum. Perhaps that´s why we say we feel blue when the world looks grey. The colour I associate with sadness and low mood is hazy grey, like the sky on a cold winter´s day.

But the sun always shines again, drenching the earth in joyful, spontaneous, cheerful, energising yellow. I think of daffodils and how difficult it is to paint their laughter, because although there are many different varieties, the shape doesn´t change. I´ve tried many times! So, on a grey February day I´m painting poppies, optimistic because spring is just round the corner.

And there´s a bowl of giggling daffodils on the table in case I forget.

Marja Brown

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