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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

"Creative Spirit Blog": The Consciousness of Color

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

"Sunlight on the World" Collage

“Color is the power which directly influences the soul”. Wassily Kandinsky

How does color make you feel? Is there a color that is special to you...a go to color?

Each of us possesses five fundamental, fascinating maps to the natural world: sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell. Sight is thought of as the strongest of these senses. That is because we humans tend to rely more on sight, than our other senses, for information about our environment, and the element most apparent in sight, is color!

When a person encounters a work of art, either abstract or figurative, the first thing that they see is color. Depending on the viewer, that will either draw them in, or send them looking for something more to their taste or mood.

Color allows us, as artists, to create our own individuality and psychic vibrations. We can use it to create a certain mood or message, or to evoke a response in the viewer, which can be harmonic or dissonant.

Colors also have meaning: psychological, emotional, and symbolic. Research shows that the hidden meaning of color can play a major role in how we feel about something and connects to our overall state of well-being. The colors we surround ourselves with directly reflect, or influence, the way we feel.

It also helps us to have better memories. It helps us to store and process images more efficiently. We remember colorful images better. Because of color’s connection to our memories, we also naturally connect color to our feelings and emotions. Designers and people in advertising learn from training how to use color to set an emotional tone for their work or product...Designers to reflect how we as consumers feel; advertisers to appeal to our feelings.

The color palette for a piece of artwork should be one of the first things that we think about. We have an idea or a feeling that we want to express, and pick the colors that will best set the mood.

Colors that are close together on the color wheel harmonize with each other when placed side by side in a painting and create a calming, cohesive feeling. Complementary colors energize each other to produce visually demanding and vibrant areas. Color can also be used to unify a composition, set a visual path for the viewer, produce a rhythm, or create an area of emphasis.

Kandinsky, in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, devotes an especially impassioned section to the color blue. "The power of profound meaning is found in blue...The inclination of blue to depth is so strong that its inner appeal is stronger when its shade is deeper. When it sinks almost to black, it echoes a grief that is hardly human. When it rises toward white, a movement little suited to it, its appeal to men grows weaker and more distant. In music a light blue is like a flute, a darker blue a cello, a still darker a thunderous double bass, and the darkest of all - an organ."

As we create, we need to be conscious of our color palette. Is it reflecting the mood we want to create? Is it creating a visual path, setting up a rhythm, and creating harmony in our work?

Stay safe and create with color in mind. Carolyn

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