‘Colour and I are One’

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‘Colour and I are One’. So said Paul Klee, one of the most exciting artists of the 20th Century. Certainly colour can provoke a strong emotional reaction, and this will be on a daily basis when used in our homes

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Castle and Sun – Paul Klee

Like so many people, I pore over colour charts and long to possess the shades therein. Choosing one is limiting, yet I also love the commitment of applying paint to wall after all the preparation

When we moved in to our first flat in Eton it was a blank magnolia canvas, so I indulged myself in reds, yellows and oranges. Baz soon joked that the rooms were becoming smaller due to the number of coats of coloured paint I applied. Then we moved to our little house and when Charlotte was born I painted all the walls in soft buttery yellows to be warm and uplifting. Sixteen years down the line I have replaced pretty much all of this, always happy to have an excuse to re-decorate. Repeatedly. Eventually the novelty wore off and RSI started to set in, and so our hallway still remains unfinished in one corner

I love the brights, but of course there are some wonderfully subtle yet highly pigmented shades, muddied and grounded by earth tones. These have been championed by the rather smug middle-class heritage paint producers, who seem to have plucked them out of an imagined past, charging us a premium for having given them their ancestry and poetic names (‘Elephant’s Breath’, ‘Mole’s Breath’,’Mouse’s Back’ etc.)

As for ‘Cats Paw’? – if I had a cat with paws that colour I would not expect it to come back from the vet…

A member of the family, a professional carpenter and decorator who can recognise the exact F and B shade painted on a wall, tells me that these colours can be reliably matched as trade paints way more cheaply and with higher quality paint, and that when someone asks for a particular F and B paint colour he uses a matched Leyland trade paint and his customers are very happy. So this is something I plan to research. It may be a disappointment, but I have to check it out because regrettably I have to take care of the pennies on the French house. And because it really appeals to my inner ‘Belligerent Bitch’ (which would no doubt be an intense blood-red on the chart)

Does anyone out there have any experience they can share of this matching service?