I Could Eat Color – I Have Synesthesia

am friends with a lovely blogger and artist named Sarah. Recently she posted an excellent Synesthesia article to her blog, First Night Designs, with a link to the original Neuroscience News report, here.

Synesthesia + Me

I have synesthesia but only learned a few years ago it was called synesthesia.  I had never thought much about my need for {certain} colors in my life or my art. I did know that certain colors made me physically ill but didn’t everyone feel that way? I didn’t talk about it because why? I had no idea I was different. At least not in “that” way-other ways, well…

I Taste Color

The form of synesthesia I have is called Gustatory/Visual Synesthesia. My sense of taste is crossed with my sense of sight. I taste colors before I see them as well as if I see them.  So I might be sitting in front of a canvas or a big piece of watercolor paper. Almost all my paint tubes will be scattered around my work surface – EXCEPT certain greens {olive} and brown. If I need one of them, I mix it myself. The exception is one called Permanent Green Light and that one I MUST have a little bit!  My palette is always filled with shades of this and that. Many more than is wise, if you are into being wise. I’m not.


It is like having a strong appetite to see or paint what I taste. To create it. It’s NOT how pretty it is or how it might best illustrate something. I do not care about realism. I paint by what I taste and what I feel. It’s {I am} not rational in the slightest. Synesthesia dictates every color I choose. I learned long ago I cannot paint “against” my  sensory perceptions. There will be hell to pay if I do!  I will tear everything apart and do it all over again. Sometimes many times. I am also OCD so….  It is the same in my clothing, my house, sheets, my garden, even cows and dogs! Insane… I know.

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Painting “Crazy” Art

The first painting {up top} is part of a much larger painting I did several years ago. I used almost every color I had in this painting. I threw paint, splashed it, let colors drip and run, used medium that makes paint into drippy sticky shiny strings. I smeared paint where the spirit {or my synesthesia} moved me. I sprayed it on, washed it off, cut grooves in it with knives and fingernails and reapplied it. It took me years and it’s still not done.

In short, I have fun!

For more posts about Synesthesia, here’s links to my blog posts about living and creating with Synesthesia.


Acrylic on Arches £300 WC paper, 20x28in. ©2010

There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue.
Every colour holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colours are colours, tones tones…and that is all. All their consequences for the human spirit, which range between heaven to hell, just go unnoticed…

Emile Nolde

Nature’s Synesthesia

©2007-2016 CountryWomanPaints. All rights reserved.



20 thoughts on “I Could Eat Color – I Have Synesthesia

  1. I wonder if the gustatory perception that informs your art is what makes it seem so alive to the viewer? When I look at your art or photographs, it is as if I am experiencing them (not just seeing them) if that makes sense. Whatever it is, I am glad that you share!

    1. Hi Marcie,
      It’s been a long time. I need your link to your blog again because I think you are living at a new site? Anyway I have no idea if the “taste” quality behind a piece might inform a viewer’s perception but it does make lots of sense. What i’ve experienced is people, especially art teachers, often shy away from what i do because it overwhelms their particular structure or belief in what is “too much color”… etc, blah blah… probably why I’m primarily self-taught excepting a smattering of art throughout school. Thanks for commenting! xx

  2. This is a wonderful piece of art…..and to me definitely takes on strong musical tones:) Love it…janet. x

    1. Hi Janet,
      Thank you for your kind comment. It means a lot to me, coming from you as I adore your way with color and hummers, of course, are magical beings. xxx

      1. Have a wonderfully creative day:)xx

  3. I love the vivid aliveness of your paintings, so I for one am glad that you were born that way! Do you offer “Borderline” as a print, or is it still something you consider a work in progress?

    1. Hi Sheelagh,
      Thanks much for such a lovely comment. 😉 I might be able to have a print made of it because it’s a large file. The painting that I’ve posted here is no longer looking quite this way. I got it into my head to paint half of the borderline in an opaque translucent pink and i like it but cannot bring back this vividness in the original. I do however have some photos in fairly large size so let me check my files later today and get back to you here. Would you like one if I can have one made? If so, do you have any size in mind so I can give you a quote? Either way I’ll let you know. 🙂 It would be a giclee print so will be archival quality of something insane like 200 years, hahaha… 😀

  4. Thank you for the shout-out! It’s so good to get more of a perspective on how Synaesthesia impacts on your life and art. I’m now wondering about feeling ill looking at certain colours. I have a real problem with some reds and find I want to get away from them as quickly as possible. I’ve never thought of this as anything other than what harsh red symbolizes in the practical world but maybe it’s related. It’s not a feeling ill as such but a very strong ‘fight or flight’ response. Who knows. xx

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Immediately after reading your words I’d say that you do definitely have synesthesia(more properly synaesthesia! 🙂 in some form. The emotions are intrinsically linked to the senses so your feelings of running after seeing red in some shades makes sense[no pun intended!]. I use my emotional nature to paint, i almost HAVE to paint to stay even a little non-crazy, so believe we are all somehow wired a little differently to color. It does make it interesting!

      I get very ill from exposure to certain colors, especially in decorating colors, like fabrics, etc. Brown is a big one for me, I hate it! I too really “feel” reds and hate with much passion, interestingly, anything orangy-red. I love the color orange if it’s a pure orange. xx

      1. I’ve known for some years I have synaesthesia because of the way I see days of the week but it only occurred to me today about my reaction to certain reds being part of it. Certain browns are anathema to me but if there’s a good milk chocolate feel, then I’m ok! The same applies to certain oranges. It has to veer towards apricot otherwise it’s got too much red. Oh, we could go on and on!

        1. Haha, isn’t that the truth! We are mysterious beings! 💙💜❤️

  5. I enjoyed reading that insightful post on First Night Design. Color has an extraordinary influence in our lives. I think we need to be more aware of our unique color choices. They are usually an indication of a deeper consciousness. Have a wonderful day…

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Our minds are fascinating entities. One never knows where one is going within it, at least half the time. 🙂 Color is definitely linked to many people’s consciousness but they might not want to actually tap into it. I find it very informative on a deeply intuitive sense. You have a wonderful day as well! 🙂

  6. this makes me appreciate the two prints I have of yours even more.

    1. Hi Joss and might I thank you again for your kind purchase of them. I am letting my ArtSpan acct go at the first of the yeat because their mark up is simply too high. I think I can do it better myself and am going to give it a try. I KNOW I can keep the price of a print way down for a much better size! I was shocked at their mark-up but was already signed on for the year. They even gave me extra time on my contract because I was having so many health problems keeping me from painting. Nice company excepting those prices…. Wow, when you add on matting, etc., it’s outrageous compared to doing it yourself, tho many don’t or can’t. I do all my own framing now because the prices have shot up so much even for a simple matte. Shipping out of country is another matter… :-/

      Have a wonderful day! xo

  7. I don’t paint but I feel like playing with colours as i view these works….and also I appreciate the sensory knowing …indeed creates joyful feelings ☺️ compose a happy day ~ smiles Hedy

    1. Thank you, Hedy, for the delicious comment. 🙂

      And you do the same… Have a lovely week!

      1. thank you…also so lovely to visit your blog and read the threads.

        1. Hedy, So nice to see further words from you. I’m glad you took the time to visit and enjoyed my little blog home. I’ve enjoyed yours as well.

  8. Delightfully informative post and spectacular artwork! The colors are delicious!

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