As a portrait artist I have, over the years, had the great privilege, to paint and draw the features of many people. Making peoples portraits is something I really enjoy. I have to make a living at it, so of course, I have to charge a fee for my time and endeavour. However there are some portraits I will gladly do without charge, purely for the pleasure of it. Sometimes a beautiful child's face will catch my ever searching eye, or it might be an elderly person with the wonderful wrinkles of time etched upon them. It could be the sharp angular shape of a nose or chin. It could be many things. But the thing about a person that is guaranteed to grab my attention and get my artistic juices flowing, is red hair. Commonly referred to as ginger hair.
Unfortunately to call someone 'ginger' is usually these days, in its mildest form teasing, and in its harshest form bullying.
I am on the subject of ginger hair for a reason today.
A friend of mine has a daughter with beautiful hair, which is the colour of burnished copper. I say is, the colour of burnished copper. I should say was, the colour of burnished copper. It is now jet black.
Why has she dyed her lovely hair black? A colour which is totally unsuited to her complexion. The answer is, too many teasing comments, too many harsh remarks. It is bullying. Nasty, and thoughtless criticisms, with a total and reckless disregard, for a young girls sensitivities.
It is not the done thing in these so called enlightened days to make cruel remarks about a persons race, colour, or creed. People with disabilities, or anyone who is slightly different to the so called 'norm', are no longer mocked as they sadly once were.
So why is it still alright for a person to be bullied because of the colour of their hair? I don't know the answer. What I do know, is that discrimination in any form is wrong. It should not be tolerated and society is rightly fighting against it, in all it's forms.
Crikey! I think I'm making myself sound like a flipping saint. Sorry I don't mean to. I am as bad as many others, but the thing is, I do try to understand things, and if we all just tried to think a bit more, before we make our opinions known, then surely the world would be a better place.
The Oxford English dictionary describes 'ginger' as making something, or someone, more lively and exciting. I think they have got it right!
I have just noticed that all my pets are 'ginger'? Apart from 'Lucky' the crow, who would probably like to be, so that he could sneak in, and steal the hens food without getting picked on.
Artists have always been drawn to the redhead. (Accidental pun there). The 16th century Venetian artist Titian, arguably the worlds finest, was a prolific painter of ladies with red hair. Even lending his name to the genre. The reason being of course that he saw red hair, not as ginger, but for what it truly is. A natural palette of delicious warm colours. From deep burgundy through to bright copper and orange.
Here is an admission. Well over forty years as an artist, and I have just had to look in the dictionary, for how to spell palette. Disgraceful!
The next time you have the pleasure of seeing, or being in the company of, someone you would normally describe as 'ginger', take a closer look. Perhaps offer them a compliment on it. You are in the presence of great beauty.
Just a thought to end on. If it happens to be a bloke, over six feet tall, and built like the proverbial brick outhouse, who has the red hair, it would perhaps be wise not to look too closely. Also probably safer to forget the compliment. Anyway, you know what I mean.