Blue is for boys and pink is for girls — or so we are taught from an early age — but as we develop our own tastes, blue is the colour that eventually prevails. After all, it is the colour of the sea, the sky and strange fictional characters that go by the name of Smurfs — there is simply no escaping it. And why would we want to? If blue were a person they would be bestowed with an enviable air of cool, calm and collectedness — just like the girl in the Rolling Stones song: “She knows who to smile to today … And she always just knows what to say.”
In many cultures the colour blue has spiritual significance. In China it represents immortality; in Iran it is a sacred colour that symbolises paradise. Indeed, if one were ever stranded in Iran’s Dasht-e Lut (considered one of the driest places on earth),
the sight of blue water would produce something akin to nirvana. There is no denying, though, that the colour can represent an oasis in a less literal sense: it is said that productivity improves when people work in blue rooms (no doubt rooms painted
like an unsolved Rubik’s Cube should be avoided at all costs); and scientists have successfully used bluelight therapy to treat a wide range of psychological problems, such as addiction, impotence and depression.
Yet ‘having the blues’ (which is what LeAnn Rimes warbled about in her mind-numbing song ‘Blue’) hints at the hue’s melancholy effect, as well. Pablo Picasso’s own Blue Period refers to a series of paintings, produced between 1901 and 1904, in
which the colour dominated. Inspired by the suicide of his dear friend, the young Spanish painter Carlos Casagemas, Picasso painted some of his most sombre works — many of which, despite their bleakness, are now amongst his most celebrated. To turn sorrow into art is not all that uncommon, though it goes without saying that a genius like Picasso only comes by once in a blue moon.
From Oyster, issue #95.