Mum’s gift to me – a love of colour

by | 25 November 2015

Mum's gift to me - a love of colour

You may have noticed that I am absolutely in love with colour – not just any old colour, but brilliant, super dooper bright jewel colours. Hot pinks, mango oranges, lemony yellows, lime greens, teal blues and precious, royal purples. When I need to paint a shadow I use bright purple. No blacks. No greys. Really, really, no greys. I mean that!

Colour brings joy to my life. It is an instant mood booster. It lifts me out of the darkness. It adds sparkle to my day. I love it. I just really, really, love it.

And I think it is because of my mum. My mother, who was known to paint the hallway lime green while I was at school. I wasn’t too sure about that one during my tender, sensitive teenage years when I just wanted to fit in. But I’m sure now.

There’s a pretty big hint about mum’s influence in this picture.

Mum's gift to me - a love of colour

That’s my sister Lyn helping mum in the photo. All of the girls in our family love colour. We have been known to happily ooooh in unison when we see the perfect combination of aqua, royal blue, lime green and bright purple.

Colour is not so much of  an issue with the boys I suspect, but my dad can escape blame for that, considering he discovered his colour blindness when he applied for his first job out of university – at a paint company!

Looking back at photos of my expat childhood in Thailand, there is the undeniable evidence of mum’s influence. I believe she was an active member of the American Women’s Club in Bangkok during the early 1970’s – even though she was Australian. Her passion was for the irresistible Thai silks, and our house was full of them.

Mum's gift to me - a love of colour

The Club had a patchwork group, and the creation of this particular quilt was obviously led by mum.

Our house was full of bits and pieces, and dad reckons that quilt seemed to spend an awful lot of time covering their bed as mum tested out various designs.

I remember playing with the patchwork diamonds, treating them like mosaic tiles, putting them this way and that.

How could you spend time like that and NOT grow up with a love of colour?

The story is that the quilt was sold at Liberty’s of London, and raised a lot of money for charity. It really was an exotic masterpiece, especially for the 1970s.

Just look at mum’s dress below. Isn’t it glorious?

The paint splatters in my favourite colours are mine. I thought it was appropriate to sit them next to mum’s photo. I think she would have liked that. They fit so perfectly together.

Mum's gift to me - a love of colour

In the tradition of paying it forward I have tried to share my own love of colour with my family. I think I hit the mark with my daughter, and my husband has got used to living in a rainbow house. He gets extra points for painting the kitchen “bordello pink” to make me happy. That’s his nickname for the colour – I’m sure that’s not the label supplied by the paint company!

I’m not so sure about my son. He asked once if he could paint his walls black. Hmm. As if!

But I won with passing on a love of art. Both of my children draw and paint in their own styles and I’m so proud of them. My son wins prizes for painting and sculpting Warhammer figures, and my daughter won the design awards at her school for year 12. Moments when I dash for the tissues. I’m so proud of them both.

What about you? Has a parent or another special person influenced your love of art or something else? How did they do it? Did you always know where that passion came from, or did you only connect the dots later on like I did?



  1. Wow all that colour !!!!! and an amazing family . Your Mothers dress is fantastic !!! I grew up in 1970’s Australia and gone the other way and rejected all that colour ! At the time I felt especially proud of our carpets. Yellow in my bedroom, purple in my parent’s bedroom, and orange in the lounge. My brother got lino. While I dislike the orange and red patterns and flowers (salvia, marigolds. red hot pokers), I love the blues and purples. However, my parents instilled a love of creativity, always cutting and pasting, colouring and making. They were the king and queen of string art and macrame. We had a pottery wheel, which then became a splatter art wheel. I have just had a lovely chat with my special Mum and we talked about our EveryDay in May drawing challenge for the day and what we are going to do. I look forward to sing her again one day once we can travel interstate without the threat of a sudden lockdown.

    • You and I had such a different response to colour – now I realise why my son loves black! The carpets in your family home sound amazing, and I love the idea of a splatter art wheel. Why don’t I have one of those?

      I hope that you get to catch up with your mum soon, and that travel is back on our calendars!


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