'You can't be at the pole and at the equator at the same time - you must choose your line, as I hope to do - and it will probably be colour.' Vincent Van Gogh
When I was a very little girl, I lived with my parents in a tiny, timber workers cottage in inner city Sydney - an industrial part of town mostly made up of factories and warehouses with a few little cottages dotted around the place filled with immigrant workers and their families who came to Australia with the hope of finding a better life.
It was a very humble, kind of run down first abode - comprising two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom with the loo outside in the garden - but it was all that my parents could afford at the time and they were happy to have a roof over their head and a place to call their own. My mother, with little means but always the avid decorator, set about putting her own stamp on the interior. She chose a warm palette of caramels, rustic reds and oranges for the lounge room and kitchen and pinks for the bathroom. It was a blue and green striped, woolly bedspread that would set the palette for my bedroom.
My room was simply furnished - with a single bed, chair and dresser - but that didn't stop my mother infusing a sense of excitement into the space with colour and texture. I remember well watching her transform the old, inexpensive pine dresser and chair from dull to electrifying with a tin of cobalt blue paint and a paintbrush. Glossy blue paint was all that she used to turn my simple room into an exciting space, full of colour and energy. A space that made me feel alive and filled me with a sense of pride and excitement about who I was, where I lived and my place in the world.
Watching my mother be creative in this way taught me a valuable lesson about the power of transformation. That with a little thought, time and love - you can turn a room (or your life) into something more than it was before. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live or how much money you have - we all have it in us to make things better.
That's my hope for this year ahead - that we find it within ourselves to transform what was into something that better reflects who we are and how we want to live. All that it takes is time, thought and love - and maybe a tin of glossy blue paint - but the results will be electrifying. That much I'm sure of....
pic by Prue Ruscoe from sense of style: colour