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Colour and Light

A collection of cans of paint and other relate...

I haven’t written for a while.  I’m unemployed and contrary popular belief I am quite busy.  I have been doing a lot of work on the space that I live in both physically and metaphorically, internally and externally, for the past couple of weeks.

I have painted the living area of the house that I live in.  I have to say I am a convert to understanding just how HUGE a difference colour can make in your life, to the illusion of space and to the effect on the available light.  I live in an old workers cottage in inner Sydney.  The house has been added to over it’s 150 years by previous owners and is now at a stage of having had done to it about all that can be without tearing the best part of it down and putting a second storey on top.  Anyway it’s only 3.1m wide, that’s just over 10 feet in imperial, and 11m (give or take a few cm) long or 36 feet if you prefer and has been painted the most dreary dull and remarkably dark shade of pale blue for the past 20 years at least.  The shade of blue that was used is akin to that shade you find in storm clouds that is almost grey and has a foreboding about it that warns of more than your usual thunder and lightning.  I have lived with the house painted in this colour for the past eight years, I rent the house from a family member and have enquired on and off over the years about repainting and have been offered the tin of left over paint to ‘touch up’ the existing colour.  This family member and I differ greatly on our colour palette and he has been convinced that I would “paint the house to look like a kinergarten or an experiment in the use of primary colours” so has been reluctant to give his permission for me to change the colour of the walls.  Can I just add here whilst I wasn’t wanting to paint the house to ‘look like a kindergarten or an experiment in primary colours’, what is wrong with that if I did?

That was until recently!  His attitude now is that he is going to renovate and do the aforementioned tearing down and adding a second story so he doesn’t care what I do to the place but sees any money invested as a waste.  This talk of renovation has been taking place for the past eight years so I am comfortable that I’ll get my money’s worth out of my investment of, so far, two 4 litre tins of paint and some various painting equipment.

The Living Room

The Living Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to the point though, I now have a living room with white walls.  The difference that it has made is truly amazing.  I thought that the house was very dark to the point of having to have the lights on in the day time most days to be able to read and that nothing much could be done about it.  I was so wrong!  The only thing dark about it was the colour of the walls.  The walls being white bounce around the available light beautifully and even on a dark day like today I don’t need to have any lights on inside which is as it should be.  Even at night-time previously the walls ‘ate up’ so much of the available light and because of their colour cast very dark shadows, now I only need to use half of the lighting I did before to light the house and it’s not so shadowy and gloomy.  Yes I know I’m raving about paint!  It’s a revelation I tell you, I’ve been living in the dark quite literally for the past eight years all because of poor colour choice.

Add to this new-found light a new-found spaciousness, as I have continued culling my possessions with a new-found ruthlessness and there is now an air of clean, light, space and even a touch of an echo in my living room and I am really liking it.  I think I have emptied about four or five full car loads (in my little 4 door hatchback) of ‘stuff’ out of my house in the past 12 months and what amazes me most is how on earth I fitted it all in here in the first place.  In all of that culling I have so far only missed two things that I got rid of, my shovel and my pruning saw, yes so feminine of me I know.

I have also been looking for work and going to job interviews hopefully without any residual paint splatters on me.  I now have a whole shelf of books in the shelf that haven’t been read yet to tackle, what a chore!


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