Playing with colours and creativity

From the time I was a young child, I loved bright colours as almost all children do. I was lucky since my mother was an artist. She put all types of bright drawing and painting colours in front of me whenever there was any time and I just drew to my heart’s content.

I am what I am today because, as a child, I was encouraged and exposed to plenty of colourful pencils and crayons as well as watercolours. Later, there were the colours of India and those that I was exposed to as a fashion designer providing further inspiration. 

When I first arrived in India, I thought that I had arrived in paradise, it was like a wave of colours rolled over me.  I was smitten not only with the Indian man I had met, but also with the wave of colour that I had jumped into. Gone were boring jeans (not a pair of jeans in sight) instead there were riots of colour on the streets,  saris, suits , turbans, colourful wedding tents…

Not long after arriving in India I joined India’s fledgling fashion and garment export business and was exposed directly to professional international designers with their colour charts. I learned about how they turned their ideas into garments produced with all sorts of new colour combinations.

How I add colour

Just recently, someone who has a gallery full of bright paintings that different artists had made, asked me a question. As he pointed to the paintings in his gallery, he asked me, ”These paintings all around us also use very bright colours but nothing shines as brightly as your paintings, how do you do that?!”  My answer is that the brightness actually lies not in the choice of individual colours but in how they are combined. 

To decide on my colours, I first absorb the atmosphere that surrounds me and choose the colours that suit my mood. Secondly, the spirit of the subject influences my choice of colours too, and sometimes these two choices clash, creating visual tension and contrast

I have been painting for half a century and have worked in countless colour schemes, but I still discover new combinations all the time and when I find new ones I get a high!

My paintings sometimes have serious subjects, but God forbid that the colours should be dark and dingy overall. That just does not happen, there will always be a little splash of promising green, sunset orange, or other bright touches. Ultimately, my paintings project a promise or hope of happiness.

A Special Note on Creativity and Innovation

Being different and individualistic is not often encouraged.  The social system shapes the majority of youngsters towards conformity. As children grow, slowly colours are made to fade from the child’s life. One can see teenagers wearing boring clothes whereas in their childhood, they had no shame in dressing up as Little Red Riding Hood and as pink princesses, superheroes, or even witches or warlocks.

I personally always wore bright funky clothing. As a young teenager I already searched magazines and looked for the brighter crazy fashions. Then I would hunt everywhere to find a cheap copy or make it myself on sewing machines. Looking at the imaginative ways that colours were used in fabric prints inspired me to use them in my paintings.

I strongly feel that all children are naturally talented, but few are encouraged like I was. I am of the opinion that children do not get enough of the right encouragement to be creative. Schools focus too much on subjects that demand conformity through much reliance on testing. There is an overly strong focus on mathematics, writing, and other subjects while ignoring the need to develop creativity. School curriculums often short-change children’s ability to develop their imagination through art. Many countries currently include focus on technological innovation to achieve their economic development goals but for innovation, creativity is necessary…  This requires that children develop a creative mind from an early age