No offence blue, but you’re the most basic colour. Don’t get me wrong, I love you blue, you’re my boo, but you basic. By this I mean you are the most popular colour. It’s no wonder you’re associated with masculinity, though this wasn’t always the case, because in our modern society masculine is considered the baseline, and you blue, are the baseline. You’re the “safe” choice. In fact, blue, you’re so basic that navy is considered a neutral, and so are blue jeans, and blue suits are as innocuous and ubiquitous as those in actual neutrals, and everybody likes to write with blue pens.


Fortunately, you are also capable of pizzazz. Azure is a bright, vibrant colour, and there’s even a hue called electric blue! I like wearing you blue, because you accentuate the colour of my eyes. I feel comfortable with you and get compliments whenever I wear you. The dress above is flirty enough that it could be worn as a party dress, and yet the restrained tones mean it’s also professional enough to wear at the office, which I have. I wore this exact outfit (with the addition of a shrug) to an office party, so two birds, one stone!

Apparently you have been historically elusive, which certainly makes you fascinating. You are the colour of the sky, and of the ocean (which makes your ancient lack of acknowledgement all the more confusing) but are otherwise rare in nature.


I trust you blue. You never let me down. You are comforting, reliable, and tranquil. Cool, even sometimes cold, but always accessible. You can be rather somber, and feeling blue means to feel sad, and yet the term “blue-blooded” means you are aristocratic. So cheer up, blue, you’re rich and important, and everybody likes you.


Turquoise & Teal

Turquoise is both a gemstone and a colour, with the latter named after the former. As a colour, it is a mixture of blue and green and to my eyes has always veered more towards blue. In fact, I’ve just now looked it up and according to the internet turquoise is 70% blue and 30% green. Teal is a colour named after a bird, which is also a mix of blue and green, and to my eyes it skews green. I love all colours, but if forced to choose a favourite I would definitely choose something in the turquoise/teal range. Interestingly, I’ve just read the symbology of turquoise and in some parts it reads like a description of my personality, although I suppose one could read such a thing into any colour’s meaning, the same way we all manage to find ourselves perfectly described by our horoscopes.


But why, you might ask, in my Colour Theory colour wheel am I introducing an entire colour board for an in-between colour? Is it simply because this shade is my fave? No, in truth, it’s all because of this dress.


I see this dress as green. It’s not even ambiguously teal to me. It’s straight up green. But everyone else who’s ever noted the dress has called it blue, and this has always thrown me for a loop. Yes, I suppose it technically falls into the turquoise spectrum but come on, it’s really more green than blue, isn’t it? To take this picture I stood in front of a wall that to my eyes is definitively in the blue range of turquoise, but once the green dress and the blue wall are right next to each other, they appear pretty much the same. Forced to confront the subjectivity of colour perception, I’ve decided turquoise/teal deserve separate representation from both blue and green.


As I carried on with my colour board photo shoots, I took great care to separate out the turquoise items in my home from the blue, but of course, colour is a spectrum, and I found several things that could skew either way. Do you agree with my choices? Is everything in this board truly turquoise, or do you see anything here as blue, or even perhaps, as green? And what of the dress above? What colour is it, to your eyes?


Usually the paintings depicted in Colour Theory are my own, but quick shout out to my friend Caroline Ostiguy, who painted the painting above (the pic to the left is a closeup of a larger piece).


Green is the most abundant colour in nature, yet plants that yield green dyes are surprisingly rare. In the 19th century Victorians literally died for fashion due to green dyes made with arsenic. But can you blame them? Who wouldn’t want to rock an emerald green frock?


Since green is the colour of nature, it is associated with growth, freshness, and fertility but also jealousy, as in being “green with envy”. Apparently this association with envy dates back to Sappho and ancient Greece with speculation that this is due to the Greeks also associating green with sickness and categorising jealousy as a type of sickness. Thanks to Americans and their boringly monochromatic money, green is also associated with wealth, though this association also makes sense if you think of wealth in terms of verdant vegetation.


For no reason that he was ever able to explain, my younger brother has long been obsessed with the colour green. From the time he was able to dress himself, to the time his wife took over this task, he always, and exclusively wore green. As a result I’ve grown to associate green with science and intellectualism since my brother is a science nerd and physicist. And since my birthstone is the emerald, I’ve spent some time contemplating the colour in as much as it relates to me. Do I think of myself as “green” the way I think of my brother as “green”? No. But I’m green adjacent.


Whenever I put together colour boards I scour my home for objects of the colour in question. As I was looking for green things I discovered quite a few green action figures. As a child I was very enamoured of this android looking doll, who is apparently named X-Ray Woman. She and Princess Leia were great friends who went on many adventures together throughout my backyard in the 1980s. It seems green is also the colour of monsters, aliens, and other weird things, again perhaps because green is the colour of nature and such creatures would easily be able to blend into forests and therefore more effectively jump out and scare lowly humans into submission.




Yellow is a complicated colour. It is bright, luminous, and evokes thoughts of sunshine and flowers. It stands out as the lightest colour in the spectrum, which is why it’s used in pedestrian crossings, but this lightness also makes it weak. In terms of pigment, it is the colour you must put down on the canvas first. You can’t paint yellow over other colours because the other colours will show through (unless you spackle it on incredibly thick).


While yellow is vibrant and enthusiastic, and almost every culture associates it with sunshine and happiness, in the western world it is nevertheless the colour of cowardice. Yellow is also an indicator of sickness. As someone with anemia, my skin, and the whites of my eyes, are slightly jaundiced, and as such I cannot wear yellow without the risk of looking increasingly sickly. But while I cannot pull off an entirely yellow ensemble I can still accessorise with yellow, such as with this yellow purse. I’ve even started wearing gold jewelry in my old age, whereas as a youngster I only wore silver. (I used to associate gold jewelry with old ladies and gangsters but I guess now I am an old lady so there you go). In this pic I’m wearing my Fluttershy outfit. Like me, Fluttershy at first appears meek and gentle, but when pushed she becomes a force to be reckoned with.





Orange is the colour of joy, optimism, and cheerfulness. It is youthful without being infantilizing and warm without being hot. Apparently orange also stimulates the appetite which is no doubt why it’s often used in decor within fast food restaurants. I imagine many children have asked themselves why oranges, the fruit, are named after the colour, while strawberries are not called reds, and bananas are not called yellows. But in fact, the colour orange is named after the fruit. In the before times, the colour was called yellow-red, and the word orange as we now know it came into use in the 16th century. It was derived from the Sanskirt naranga, which literally means “orange tree”.

Orange is also the colour of autumn, and of the 1970s, so even though an autumnal palette simultaneously evokes warmth and the crispness of fall, it can also cause traumatic flashbacks to shag carpeting, brutalist architecture, and questionable fashions.


Where I live, in Montreal, there is a metro station called Lionel-Groulx, which opened in 1978. This explains why the floor is patterned in circles of varying shades of orange. It is extremely trippy to look at and can even cause vertigo if you stare at it for too long, which you will because it is so mesmerizing. For my orangespiration board I brought Casimir, the French dinosaur from the ’70s, to Lionel-Groulx for a photo shoot and no pairing has ever felt more natural. But let’s not assume orange must remain in the ’70s, where it was deployed for evil. Orange is undeniably fun but can also be modern and edgy when done right. I won’t claim that I’ve successfully made orange edgy, but I’ve made it cute, and for me that’ll have to be close enough.


I made this maxi dress because I wanted something to cover my legs in the summer so as to avoid wearing sunblock. As someone who is both anemic and Scandinavian, I cannot be out in the sun for more than two minutes without bursting into flames, but sunblock is gross, and I’m lazy. Turns out though that maxi dresses are kind of difficult to walk in. They’re great for standing still while the fabric sways in the breeze but when you’ve got somewhere to be a long skirt can trip you up, quite literally, especially if you’ve not hemmed it properly. How did women do it back in the day? I guess they were so busy being considered the property of men that getting their legs wrapped up in their skirts was the least of their problems.





Red is bright and bold, dynamic and sexy. There’s even something called the red dress effect, wherein people wearing red are perceived as more sexually attractive than when wearing other colours. Plenty of theories about why that is but red is undeniably a powerful colour. Interestingly, different cultures perceive red in various ways. In the West, it’s very much about sex and warning (like stop lights). In China, red is the colour of celebration and good luck, which makes sense because it’s so vibrant, but in South Africa red is apparently the colour of mourning, and in other African countries, red is the colour of death. I guess that’s because red is the colour of blood? Or because death is powerful? Certainly red is an aggressive colour. No wilting wallflower is going to wear red.  Red demands attention and so will you when wearing it.


For my redspiration board I photographed things under a red umbrella with natural light shining through it to give already red objects an even redder glow. This dress was purchased at Modcloth, (this is not a sponsored post) and while it’s very comfortable I find it too fancy for work so I’ve only worn it a few times, on the very rare occasions that I have somewhere to go out in the real world. I do own red shoes but I prefer this look with these royal blue booties. These two jewel tones together really pop, in my opinion.


I actually don’t have much red in my wardrobe, which is interesting because whenever I paint self-portraits I tend to choose a red colour palette. Not sure why. Perhaps in public I’m too shy to demand attention but I see my internal self as bold.