February 16, 2017

The Color of the Sea


When standing at the edge of the sea in the tropics, the water appears to be a very pale translucent, aquamarine color. The sunlight hits the white coral sand and reflects its whiteness through the water, illuminating it from below. The color is part reflection of the blue sky and part reflection of the sandy bottom. The sun sparkles on the moving surface of the water. Swimming out, feet no longer being able to touch, the waves no longer breaking, the color becomes darker. The reflected light coming from below is lessened and the sea transitions into the most extraordinary deep, deep blue.

Holding my breath and swimming down into this color, I am surrounded. It is simply a blue world. It is just blue. What is this color? Why does it make me feel so alive? There is such infinite spaciousness. This blueness reminds me of possibilities, of being ultimately free. It feels like potential. There are no boundaries. Blue is emptiness. Blue is the sky and blue is also the sea.

Blueness reminds me of possibilities, of being ultimately free. - nw Share on X

When my brush dips into blue and I see it arc across my painting, it always returns me to that day, swimming in the tropical sea. The color blue is a small reminder of that feeling. But blue is just one of the colors upon my palette. There are so many more. However, blue is like no other. Blue is the window out, a square of it upon a canvas conjures up deep space and invites the infinite to enter my Art. Blue is the antidote to the density, and crisscrossing of the louder, stronger colors.

All of them carry their own associations. Yellow is curt, young and not particularly caring of what others think. Deep orange always returns me to the Earth. It is celebratory and carries with it a heraldic beauty. It feels wise. Green is adventure and always, when it can get away with it, breaks from reality. It lives life on it’s own terms and listens to no one, while Red races ahead, on fire and unrestrained in all it takes on. Purple is set in its ways, ageless and cannot escape its royalty. It is all things refined, but quietly so.

These feelings, memories and underlying attributes of Color cannot simply be ignored when I paint. They spill into one another; they cancel each other out while at other times they seem agreeable and complementary to one another. They are not inclined to be together but sometimes when all seems right with the world, they fall into order, they fit seamlessly, agreeably beside one another and I am able to finally stop. The canvas has arrived. It feels complete, and like that perfect day swimming in the tropical sea, it lingers in the present for just a brief moment and then without warning it slips into memory ever so gently behind me.

This excerpt written by Nicholas Wilton recently published in the book “The Color Lab, Mixed Media for Artists”, by Deborah Forman






Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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