Philippa Stanton is a freelance artist, photographer and jigsaw puzzle producer, as well as being an Instagram phenomenon with almost 400k followers on her stunning and delightfully colourful @5finf account. Here, synesthete Philippa tells The Colour File what colour means to her…
My first colour memory
This was a really difficult question for some reason! I can’t recall any really strong colour memories from early on in my life…I think a lot of my memories from an early age stem from sensory experiences.
But what did keep coming into my head was a blue velour romper suit I had when I was about 3…I remember just loving the colour ( and the texture ) and it’s all I wanted to wear.
Also when I was seven I started a new school and we had to wear blue jumpers…I really loved the colour and I even wore the jumper in my free time.
So blue is probably my first clear colour memory and it made me feel happy and safe.
My favourite colour
Not surprisingly after my first answer – it’s blue!
I’ve also grown to like green over the years and I also love greens or blues punctuated by a small amount of red or vibrant pink…sometimes orange.
I think that’s why I’m maybe drawn to the sea where there’s a mass of blue, but often with a tiny pop of a bright colour of a buoy or boat.
My favourite colourful objects
I love my collection of mugs and tea cups which are, on the whole, blue, aqua and celadon colours, so not that bright, although I do love some brightly coloured deco jugs I have too.
The colourful, everyday objects I have around the house often don’t look that colourful in isolation, but I love seeing collections of similar colours and how that informs them.
I do have a two lamps from the 1980s; a table lamp and a standard daffodil lamp, which are bright yellow and green.
I really love them, mainly as they have been part of my life for so long, but I also love the simple, bright colour combination.
I love the colour and texture books bring into my house, and I like to introduce colour with plants or flowers…I really enjoy their transience and watching how their colours change over a couple of weeks.
I have a colourful chair which I’m very proud of because i designed the velvet for it [see above].
My favourite colourful work of art
Anything by Mark Rothko but probably his orange and yellow pieces most.
How colour makes me feel
Colour makes me feel many things and I always feel it helps me navigate through life a bit more easily if I allow myself to notice it and utilise it and how it makes me feel.
For example, I needed to write these replies in green for some reason as black felt wrong, blue didn’t feel right and green just made me feel ok!
I have intense reactions to textures more…the texture of rusted metal in water I find really frightening!
The colour combinations I find difficult…
I find brown combinations quite difficult: brown and yellow, brown and orange, brown and lime green.
These combinations make me feel confused and cluttered and just not nice; they don’t clear or clam my mind.
It’s been quite tricky in my forties as four has a brown colour to it and I don’t like the number combinations I’ve had throughout this decade; they’ve really irked me.
42 was hard as it’s brown; a sort of very slightly soft tan brown and orange.
…and the colour I could happily do without
Yes, the one below…( for the reasons above! ).
It’s not too bad if it’s in nature, but generally these 2 colours tother make me feel really churned up inside. I hate them together!
These two colours ‘spell’ the number 42 to me.
I was meant to wear a glamorous dress in a play once and when I went to the fitting they were starting to make it in this horrible brown colour!!
Fortunately it really didn’t look great on me so the turned the fabric inside out, so I had a gold dress in the end!
How colour and emotions interplay in my life
Colour plays a huge part in my emotional life and how I process things but in a sort of integrated way rather than anything anecdotal.
Wearing colours plays a big part in how I feel but I’m never sure what I’m going to wear until I’m aware of my emotional state (never orange and brown though! ).
When I was pregnant I craved colours…one week all I wanted was green food, then red, then orange, then back to green!
If my son felt upset when he was little I’d always try and get him to work out the colours of his emotions but that feels natural to me.
I also tried to get him to learn his times tables by writing them on paint chip cards with colours corresponding to numbers…
it wasn’t that successful though as his numbers had different colours to mine!
The colours of my loved ones
My mum is always a pinky purple, my son is a glowing orange ( like a Mark Rothko) and my partner is red and green.
My favourite colourful place
I loved visiting Portmeirion in Wales when I was younger. Seeing colourful buildings was beautiful and inspiring.
Sometimes if somewhere is too full of colour though, I really don’t like it.
My favourite place to go for ‘colour’ are snowy mountains…all that blue white makes every single colour so clear that it feels incredibly calming and peaceful.
My colour advice
I think I would just say spend time simply investigating it, really looking at it and observing how it makes you feel and not to be afraid of that.
Maybe go to a home store and pick out paint chip cards just to look at.
My 2 favourite colour books are Josef Albers ‘Interaction of Colour’ and Kassia St Clair’s ‘The Secret Lives of Colour’
If I had a colour named after me…
I wouldn’t ever want that…colour is about the world around me, not me 😉
Find out more about Philippa, including
– Her books, Conscious Creativity’ and ‘Conscious Creativity; The Workbook’ (published by Leaping Hare Press and Quarto Books)
– Her new ‘Conscious Creativity’ Card Set to be released in October
– Her limited edition jigsaw puzzles
by visiting her website.