Red, Red, Red, such a small word, just three letters for a colour that is so impactful, stimulates strong reactions and oozes power…………..

From the red of rich fertile soil, to the blood that courses our veins, it comes in many hues….  crimson, claret, scarlet, burgundy, terracotta, vermillion, Hot orange tomato reds, cherry reds, to the cooler blue leanings of magenta, violet and purple to name but a few.

Kermes, a small female insect to be found in the Kermes oak started the regal leanings of the colour red and power.  A dye of extremely high value, had to be imported into England from Spain and Italy and attracted heavy import duties. Not a colour for the everyday man,   By the 14th and early 15th century, brilliant full grain pure kermes scarlet was “by far the most esteemed, most regal” color for luxury woollen textiles in England and Europe. =, even more so if the fabric was velvet.  Henry VIII even passed a law that red worn below a certain high status was punishable, clothes would be confiscated and a fine of 40 shillings imposed……..

And what do you know, this power holding colour changed entirely when worn by women, THE SCARLET WOMAN.  Yes, Red has a shadow side?  What does it conjure up?  a wild  woman, passionate, feisty, vivacious, hot blooded.    Elisabeth I  steered well clear of these connotations and was never seen in red, she went for lavish embroidery often on virginal white………  although Mary Queen of Scots at her execution, at the removal of her black satin dress revealed a scarlet red bodice and petticoat, was this a statement of defiance or in honour of her catholic faith.    The book of Revelations states  “And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.”  Very powerful statement.

There is no doubt about it,  certainly a provocative colour, I love it !!

Oh of course Christmas jolly red santa! and Rudolph the red nose reindeer, don’t get me going on that one !,Happy Christmas everyone……..






Another layer

Another layer, a little more detail, eyes not easy and need attention !   Not having painted a face before  its a good exercise for me !

Why it all started from RED I am not sure, but I went with the flow and it felt right


Portrait with roses. SF

Red portrait

The bare red canvas moved along today to be the makings of a portrait.  Have always been drawn to the body before and always headless !  this just flowed out today and Ireally enjoyed it……… Lets hope its dry tomorrow and then another layer ?



What’s it to be? I said to myself as I stared at the gessoed canvas !  Working with a crimson oil paint stick thought I would  just see what happened.  Nothing really so then soaked a rag in turps and smeared the the red streaks until they left a pinkish stain on the canvas……..    Another go, this time squeezed out long luscious lines of cadmium red and equal parts alizarin crimson,  thoroughly mixed a palette knife and then long sweeping movement the buttery soft paint smeared across the canvas until the empty knife scratched across the surface, first a dancing sprit, elfin like jumping in the air, then more paint and  a three quarter on profile with luscious red mane of hair……. do I stop here, do I put in some black and white to build up the facial features?  NO, just kept going until the whole canvas was covered !  now where to go from here?