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Colours of June | Anita Pounder

31st May 2024 Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Summer is here! As we enter the month of June, the sixth month of the year, with longer warmer days in the Northern Hemisphere. The name is thought to have originated from the Roman Calendar after the Roman Goddess Juno, the Goddess of marriage and childbirth. June also comes from the Latin “juvenis,” meaning “young people,”.  When deciding on the colours of June I was bombarded with plenty of options. June is the first month of the Summer, and as Christina Rossetti writes in the Poem ‘Summer’:

 

June the month of months 

Flowers and fruitage bring too, 

When green trees spread shadiest boughs, 

When each wild bird sings too. 

 

The colours I have chosen are Rose and Cream. The inspiration for these colours comes from several sources. These are opposite colours in the sense that the rose colour is rich and vibrant whereas the cream colour is warmer and calmer. 

Both flowers for June, the Rose, and the Honeysuckle, have variations of colour which includes Cream and Rose.Anita's painting of a Honeysuckle using the colours of june from a Winsor & Newton Cotman paint set.

Colours of June: Rose

The Rose is not only a flower, but a colour seen in many of the flowers which bloom in June. Permanent Rose is a strong reddish pink, transparent colour often used as a primary mixing magenta. Depending on the brand the colour is more often made from PV19 (Quinacridone Rose), or PV122 (Quinacridone Magenta) or a mix of both. Historically a colour which had a tendency to fade quickly when exposed to natural light. However, this has been improved over the years. Single pigments are important for colour mixing so it is important to use a permanent Rose which only has a single pigment for the best colour mixes. 

 

A close-up photo of a single rose with cream and pink petals to reflect the colours of June.

The Rose has over 150 species that are available in many assorted colours and shapes, each colour having different meanings. The Roses existence dates back at least 35 million years. They are often a symbol of power, celebration, love and beauty. They have also been the subject of myths and legends, great literature, art, song, and poetry worldwide.

One of my favourite quotations about June is from Nathaniel Parker Willis: 

It is the month of June 

The month of leaves and roses, 

When pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses 

 

For me, this really sums up the first month of Summer where colour and smells are surrounding you and bombarding your senses. One of my favourite colours for a rose is a cream rose with rose red tips. This represents charm and thoughtfulness, and also brings together both of our colours for June.A pastel painting of a cream and pink rose - the colours of June

The full moon for June, which appears on 22nd of June. This is referred to as the Strawberry Moon, after the sweet rich red fruit which grows, is harvested, and consumed in this month. But it can also be known as a Rose Moon.

Honeysuckle

The highly fragrant, climbing Honeysuckle whose name derives from the edible sweet nectar obtainable from its tubular flowers, is a favourite for nectar-collecting insects.  

The flowers smell stronger at night to attract pollinating insects in summer. Their white or yellow, red-flushed, tubular flowers appear in clusters. Colours can vary, but it is commonly seen with rose and cream-coloured flowers or the wild species, known as Woodbine, is predominantly cream with rose coloured edges. In many traditions, honeysuckle is seen as a symbol of love, beauty, and devotion. In addition, it has been used as a symbol throughout art and literature. 

A close-up photo of a Honeysuckle flower.

Colours of June: Cream

The cream theme continues with the birthstone for June, the Pearl. Composed of calcium carbonate, commonly a creamy shimmering colour with a unique lustre, as light refracts from the organic minerals transparent layers. These are created as a defence mechanism by shelled molluscs as it forms a smooth coating of the same secretion (Mother of Pearl) as the lining of its shell. The same secretions will form over a tiny particle like a grain of sand, to form the Pearl inside. Pearls have been prized since ancient times, and is still a popular gem associated with honesty, purity, and wisdom. 

Let’s all look forward to longer and warmer days as we skip into the bright summer months.  I created both of the flowers using the Colours of June. You can view the Cream Rose here, and the Honeysuckle here. I used the Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Set and Unison Pastels for my paintings, but you can use any medium – just use the colours of June!

 

 

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