The Seven Elements of Art: Color

If you flip though a color deck, you’ll notice names like “Bold Brick”, “Invigorate” and “Spa”. There is even a bright green that Sherman William’s Paints named, “Center Stage”.

These names are onto something. Color is a powerful thing that drastically changes the mood and attitude of a space. It is even proven that the color red can increase appetite, blue aids memory, and yellow can bring out anxiety. Warm colors are stimulating, and cool colors are restful. How spicy and eclectic do these orange and green pillows make you feel? How different would they seem if they were a different color?

As far as décor is concerned, dark colors can make a room look smaller and more closed in. If you paint a large, white

room dark purple, the room will look smaller. Alternatively, light colors make a space look bigger.

Coffee shops and other restaurants often paint their ceilings dark brown. Can you think why this is? Painting a ceiling a dark color makes the ceiling look lower, which makes people feel as if they are in an intimate space.

On the 12-part color wheel, we have the primary colors, which are red, yellow and blue. Between the primary colors are the secondary colors, which are green, orange and violet.

The tertiary colors fall between the primary and secondary colors, which is why we have crayons with the names “yellow orange” and “blue green”.

Of course, colors can vary depending on how much black and white we add to them. “Tint” is created when white is added to a color, and “shade” is created when black is added.

Complimentary colors are across from each other on the color wheel, and provide extreme contrast. Red and green, for example, are two colors that offer stark contrast to each other, as one is aggressive and “loud” while the other is calming and serene.

Discordant colors are far from each other on the color wheel, and when put together, can create an uncomfortable viewing experience. Discordant colors are sometimes used for advertising because they catch attention, but it is unlikely for a fine artist to use pink and green as a color scheme, because they simply don’t look good together.

Nothing can enhance the space around us or change our mood quite like color. This versatile tool can either make a daring statement through contrast or create a feeling of tranquil harmony with subtle hues. Also, notice how colors change before your eyes with the time of day. Color is mood, and energy so use it wisely!

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