London: a Riot of Colour

I have to admit to not quite knowing where to start with today’s post. I spent last week in London, a city that never fails to blow my mind, and last week was no exception. It was of course in the throws of London Fashion Week and the The Brit Awards which meant that the shop windows were groomed and styled to perfection.

Strong colour trends were clearly visible throughout London. Blocks of coral crashing into great chunks of Klein blue and 70’s purples anchored by spicy tans and cinnamon hues – tribal colours without the pattern, instead emerging in great blocky geometric shapes.

As if I needed any more colour stimulus, I made a trip to the David Hockney exhibition ‘A Bigger Picture’. Suddenly you find yourself looking at the English countryside though a new set of eyes. To say the exhibition is vibrant, energetic, zesty would somehow be an understatement. This huge exhibition positively bursts off the walls of the Royal Academy with a ramped up sense of optimism and freshness. I would strongly recommend you to watch Andrew Marr’s interview with David Hockney on last nights The Culture Show – so much can be learnt from the mind of this artistic genius. As Hockney says, ‘everything becomes interesting if you really look’, I couldn’t agree more.

looking at patterns and exaggerating colour in Fife

Space is something David Hockney often talks of, particularly where one thing stops and another thing starts. Where two colours meet is something I am intensely interested in as the energy created at the boundaries of adjoining colours is the perfect fusion of art and science. But infinite space is one of  Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s enduring obsessions.  Her show at Tate Modern is one of the most fascinating exhibitions I have ever seen.

It shows her work constantly changing over the decades which probably mirrors her life which includes living in rural Japan, New York, Tokyo and for the last thirty years living voluntarily in a  psychiatric institution where she has created work hoping to show the psychological trauma she so often feels and wants to escape from. Leaving the exhibition you must navigate through a darkened room covered in mirrors and tiny coloured lights which completely disorientate you and seem to stretch out to infinity. It really is something you should experience if you are in London.

Apologies for the lack of photographs on this post but I couldn’t take my camera into the exhibitions. I’ve also been very busy creating some new products – I’m still at the messy stage but I am really pleased with the pieces that I started in Iceland last month.  I hope to have images up soon!

15 thoughts on “London: a Riot of Colour

  1. Great blog! I entered the following question into google; “What colour are the walls at the David Hockney exhibition?” and up popped your blog. I saw the TV programme with Andrew Marr and was fascinated by David Hockney and his work. But I also loved the wall colour – it seemed to set off his work perfectly. Would you happen to know – or have any idea how I would set about finding out? I expect it is mixed specially.


  2. Thanks Sarah for the lovely & interesting comment. Funnily enough the colour of gallery walls is of prime interest to me too. The Scottish National Galleries paint them specially for each exhibition and they choose so incredibly well. They very kindly always tell me what colour they are – they use the NCS notation. As for the Royal Academy, well I haven’t asked but by choosing a deep red in the rooms where a lot of the work had an intense vivid green was a great choice – red being the complimentary to green really made the paintings even more vivid and almost vibrate off the walls. Complimentary colours always make each of the two colours intensify in strength – as if they are sparring for the lead role. Ill find out though and let you know. Be in touch!


  3. Thanks Niki – much appreciated. I haven’t managed to get to the exhibition yet. It was the buff colour I was particularly interested in. Sort of a taupe/grey. I’ve even done a screenshot of DH being interviewed on the RA website -with I think the said colour behind him! The lengths we colour lovers go to hey!


  4. Ah, yes the perfect taupe. Such a difficult colour to get just right too isn’t it. The Royal Academy managed to find a great taupe – no pinkish undertones and no fusty green ones either. I agree, very well chosen.
    I once found the perfect taupe but when the room was finished it looked slightly green as the lawn outside was reflecting on to the walls changing the taupe to a sickly green-beige (I’ve seen this happen from the green baize on a snooker table too). We had to drop some red into the paint mix to counteract the green from outside. So I guess the perfect taupe doesn’t exist as a single notation because it depends on where it is painted!


  5. Thanks – that’s very useful guidance. The room I had in mind is a garden room/kitchen with large windows front and back – so lots of green will be flooding in.


      • Niki – thank you so much! 🙂 I’m truly touched and delighted to have received this. So very kind of you. I’m now going to study it and print it off. We plan to go the exhibition in the next couple of weeks.


  6. No problem at all, you are welcome. It’s great that the National Galleries put so much thought into the gallery wall colours – it helps me as I often send clients into exhibitions so they can see particular paint colours on large surfaces. The current Cadell exhibition here in The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, is a great example as the curators have mixed a beautiful pale grey-violet to match the colour the artist himself had in his studio when he was producing his work. Enjoy the Hockney exhibition and thank you again for making contact.


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