I first visited Bali about 10 years ago and it was then, as they say, that the scales fell away from my eyes. The scales of subdued hues and winter tones gave way to the glory of tropical colour.
I’ve never been a peacock in the way I dress, preferring the anonymity of blue denim, greys and blacks. Possibly the British (and Manx) landscape defined the palette of things around me.
However, that first trip to Indonesia showed me how joyous the vibrant colours of warm climates can be. Most importantly that visit also informed the way I look at the subjects I paint. A silver mackerel wears the most stunning blues and greens in its stripes. Its gills blush from salmon to vermillion, it’s fins and tail carry a rainbow of hues. A red, or pink, or yellow tulip is a riot of many colours, shadows equally so. Clouds and skies are rarely fluffy white and blue.
So, what I’m saying is that Looking is not the same as Seeing. Seeing comes from looking hard and carefully analyzing what is before you. Throw out those old assumptions (like add black for dark, grass is green, the sky is blue) We have to unlearn a lot of the things we were told when we first used a paintbox and see again with fresh eyes.