watercolor, 15x20

Synesthesia ~

I have synesthesia. I knew I was different than most people in the way I saw/felt/TASTED color. I need color as much as I need food! And that’s weird… but I 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.

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 with a powerful response to color. 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 a wise woman in my need for lots of color.

Some of my paint palettes

Synesthesia 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 feel, according to the corresponding color to that feeling and what I feel within my painting. It’s and 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…. and ADD. 

It is the same in my clothing, my house, sheets, my garden, even {black}cows and dogs! Insane… I know. I recently bought a mini-golden doodle puppy, who isn’t anything short of absolutely, scrumptiously sweet and adorable. And as she gets older, becomes beige. She was a RED puppy! My love trumps my pet’s shade of beige and gold and strawberry pink too.

Here’s her picture tonight~

Gracie Doo a big 8 months old

The first painting {below} 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. Such exhaustive fun.

For more posts about Synesthesia, I’ll link to my blog posts about living and creating with Synesthesia.


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

nature's colors
Nature’s Synesthesia

Do you want to add to the story?

I’d love it if others who have synesthesia will speak up and add to the minimal thoughts I’ve shared tonight. It’s a very big topic with many people experiencing some strange and wonderful things thru their power of synesthesia. We need to share it with others so that eventually the kids today, who haven’t heard of synesthesia can take part in the conversation!


Comments Most Welcome

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