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  • Writer's picturevanessaosborneart

The World in Colour

This latest writeup is coinciding with a very special event... my birthday 😊 And not just any is birthday number 50! How and when did that happen? I do not know because I feel just as ignorant and naive as I always have! 😂

So, for my 50th while I am trying to quietly celebrate (as quiet as friends will allow), there is an exciting adventure coming up at the end of April 2024 that I can't wait to share with you! But for now we all need to be patient and as I have been pondering the wonderful world of colour, that is what we shall talk about.

Large-scale floral oil painting with birds and butterflied

Throw back to early 1990s - high school art project

(Photo: Vanessa Osborne)

Sing a rainbow

Pondering happens rather often when there is painting and creating to be done and as I love colour, this subject is regularly at the very centre of my musings. This is kind of ironic coming from someone who often wears black on black… but I really do love colour. One thing about being an artist is you generally look at and for colour differently than other people do. You are looking for hues, tones, shadows, highlights, reflections, and how they all work together.

A rainbow gives us a spectrum of colours - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. According to science there are as many as 10 million colours ‘in the world’, and some say colour is infinite. I think how wonderful it is and lucky we are to have so many choices!

Vase of flowers, paint brushes and paint palettes

Capturing prettiness in the studio (Photo: Vanessa Osborne)

More than meets the eye

I read an article about an Australian artist who has a rare condition where they can see colour more vividly than the average person. Vibrant, dazzling, and glowing colours that just cannot be detected by the typical human eye. The condition is called tetrachromacy. It is a fascinating thought. Some may see it as a gift, but on the other hand, it might also have a downside such as sensory overload, headaches, eye strain and whatnot.

While I do not have any such condition, I do spend a lot of time looking at the colours around me and noticing the characteristics and subtle differences that change an object from a flat colour to multi-dimensional. The way we see colour is affected by cool shadows, warm highlights, the nature of its physical shape and the reflections of the surrounding environment. Colour changes with the dawn, daylight and dusk, and moonlight. It changes with the seasons of the year.

What is your favourite colour?

Artists are very much driven by the colours that inspire them. You can see common themes emerging in their art – bright, pastel, neutral, warm, cool, Australiana, and the list goes on...

When critiquing my own paintings one of my common thoughts is that I have painted the subject too bright. My theme for now is painting oversized blooms and large-scale florals in bright and vibrant colours. I admire artists whose work embraces more muted tones giving an antique kind of feel and really capturing the darks and shadows. But then again of my paintings, I am most connected with the vibrant ones – especially where I have included different colours to capture the movement and dimension of the subject.

It is extremely hard for me to name a favourite colour, though the vibrant blue of a clear sky, the aqua and teal of the summer seas, the velvety red to almost black of a voluptuous rose, the happy yellow of a sunflower or daffodil, the pale powder pinks to rich magentas of a blooming dahlia, the calming greens of foliage, and the brilliant sienna’s, ochres, and umbers of the beautiful Australian outback come to mind. These are just a few that make my heart beat a little faster.

Do you have a favourite colour? Or are you like me and just cannot decide!?

Palette of purples, pinks, blues and ochre colours

A palette being put to good use! (Photo: Vanessa Osborne)

In other news

In other news, I am busily preparing for some Art Shows that are coming up in May. It will be exciting to put some of my paintings out into the world and hopefully meet some other local artists and fellow art lovers in the process!

I have also joined the world of Bluethumb online art gallery and have created a profile on their platform: Bluethumb specialises in connecting art collectors with Australian artists.

A selection of my paintings are available for sale in the Bluethumb online gallery.

A view of my home gallery with painting of pears, iris flowers, gum nuts, tulips and roses

A view of the home gallery (Photo: Vanessa Osborne)

Visit my online gallery

If you have gotten this far, Thank You for taking the time to read my musings about colour. Your support is deeply appreciated.

My name is Vanessa Osborne, and I am an artist from Adelaide, South Australia, specialising in large scale floral paintings.

I welcome you to visit my online Gallery at and follow my humble adventures here and on my social media pages (see links below).

If you have any questions about my paintings, please don't hesitate to email me at

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