Exploring the colours of my mind

Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

Agapanthus bloom. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

Colour is a very powerful metaphor of emotion in everyday language. It’s not just that we use individual colours (“in the pink”, “got the blues”) to describe our feelings, but even the notion of colour itself (“that’ll put some colour in your cheeks”, “she’s a colourful character”) is often central to how we talk about ourselves, our lives, and our emotional states.

Post-natal (or post-partum) depression has often called “the baby blues”; a phrase that can simultaneously make it more understandable to others,  and at the same time diminish the seriousness of a condition that affects around 16 percent of new mothers (and some fathers too) (1). More generally, the term “black mood” is used to describe depression or feelings of great unhappiness.

Photo: Su Leslie, colour-edited with Aviary Photo Editor.

Agapanthus bloom. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Image colour-edited with Aviary Photo Editor.

Psychologists tell us that colours can our moods as well as acting as a short-hand for ideas and emotions.  Reds are associated with heat, passion (and ‘Stop’); white is traditionally used to denote purity, and purple can suggest wealth, royalty and wisdom (2).

It is not only the hue of a colour that affects us, but its intensity. I quite like the softness the photo below, but also find it sad.

Agapanthus. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

Agapanthus. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

Of the three images below of canna lilies; I’m drawn to the second. Although the colours are brighter, it doesn’t make me feel happier; it just makes me feel — well, more.

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Canna lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

Canna lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

Canna lilies. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

Canna lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

I’m interested in how others’ respond to these image. Please let me know what — if anything — they make you feel.

This post was written for Sally’s phoneography and non-SLR digital devices photo challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. You can see Sally’s beautiful tulip shots here; and explore the contributions of other bloggers in the challenge.

But now I’m going to leave you with an aural colour experience. At the end of last year, I went to the funeral of a friend who had lost his battle with cancer. As his coffin was carried into the crowded chapel, followed by his three daughters and other family members, this was the song that played. It was unexpected — maybe whacky — but set the tone for a funeral that truly did celebrate a good life, well lived. Here’s Donovan’s Mellow Yellow.

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(1) American Psychological Association – Postpartum depression

(2) About.com Colour Psychology

Six word Saturday: in praise of small-town junk shops

Perfect for indulgent afternoon teas. Found in a second-hand shop in Tuakau, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Perfect for indulgent afternoon teas. Found today in a second-hand shop in Tuakau, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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The Big T and I have been searching for a plain, old-fashioned gravy boat for several years now. This one is perfect; large, not too fussy and with a detachable saucer. Found in a second hand-shop in Tuakau, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Six word Saturday is a blogging prompt from Cate at Show my Face. You can see more here.

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An intricate challenge

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Richly coloured and intricately patterned violets. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Intricate

adjective
1. having many interrelated parts or facets; entangled or involved:
2. complex; complicated; hard to understand, work, or make:
Dictionary.com

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Photographed at the Wintergarden, Auckland Museum. Species not known. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Anyone who has stopped to take a photograph of a single, perfect flower, a cluster of buds or a fallen leaf will know how intricate are these small marvels of nature.

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Seen out walking, Te Atatu Peninsula. Species unknown. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

We humans are dependent on plants –for food, medicine, shelter and fuel –as well as less tangible things, like the calming scent of lavender, or the sheer joy of being given a bouquet of roses.

Asiatic lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Asiatic lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Over time, the properties of plants have come to be ascribed deeper meanings and significance. ‘Floriography’ — the language of flowers — may be less well-known today than in its Victorian heyday, but we still associate roses with romance and lilies with funerals. White violets apparently mean “let’s take a chance on happiness.”

In Victorian times, floriography was widespread; with dictionaries available to help people navigate this intricate language and send the “right” messages through their choice of foliage.

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Pink roses, Parnell Rose Gardens, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

On occasions where I’ve chosen flowers for bouquets and arrangements, I’ve tended to do so on a purely aesthetic basis. I wonder now, what anyone familiar with floriography might have made of my choices? Perhaps:

“Respect! You’re a wonderful friend. I’m sincere” and “Could you pick up some bread on the way home?”

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: intricate.