Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let's Talk Color.

What is your favorite color? ...and why is it your favorite?

We are surrounded by color and it has a huge impact on our emotions whether we are conscience of it or not. In your studio you can use color to your best advantage. What do you want from your space? What kind of feeling do you want it to convey? How do you want to feel when you enter (or are in) your studio? Drama, comfort, classic simplicity, relaxation, child friendly, or excitement can all be encouraged through the use of color and the purity or strength of color.

In general...

Red generates excitement, warmth and high energy. It is an active color that you will find used often in kitchens and/or dining rooms as it can stimulate the appetite. Red is also inviting, intimate and can be romantic. Think of Christmas, Valentine's day, 4th of July, or hot fire or coals, apples, hearts.

Pink, although it is a lighter value of red, has been found to be more relaxing and has been used to control violent behavior. Think of roses and other soft pink flowers or Easter.

Green is considered a more relaxing color. It coordinates well with just about any other color. Some form of it is a popular color used in hospitals because of this very reaction to the color. Nowadays it is also associated with cleaner living and healthy living. Think of lush lawns, green trees, and shade, St. Patrick's Day.

Blue especially in the lighter form, is also a relaxing and calming color. Although it is a favorite color of the majority of people, it has been found to be the least appetizing color and is rarely seen in restaurants. Think of calm waters or clear blue skies.

Yellow is a happy color that conveys optimism. It can also cause anxiety and a rise in the heart rate. Most other colors can also be used with yellow. Think of lemons, sunflowers, daffodils or yellow finch.

Brown is often thought to be more of a comfortable color and is also more masculine than the other colors. Think of earthy, warm colors of fall, rich soil, or stained furniture.

Purple is associated with nobility and luxury. Think of lilacs or pansies. Think of royal robes in deep rich purples, plums, blueberries.

Orange includes anything from bright orange to more Terra Cotta. It is a warm, comfortable color and is said to stimulate conversation and appetite even more than red. It is a good color to use as an accent color, keeping it in smaller spots. Think of pumpkins, Thanksgiving, the Southwest.

Black, especially when used as an accent, helps ground a room. It is great for accessories and can add a classy, more contemporary feel to a room. I remember learning in one of my classes that you should have something black in every room. Think black patent leather shoes, black purse, black coat, night, black suit and tie, black coffee.

White is clean, crisp and pure and can make a room look more spacious. Of course there are many versions of white that can set different moods. A room done in nothing but white will often have slight variations in the whites used and also incorporate lots of texture to give an otherwise dull room some interest. Think white crisp sheets blowing in the breeze, white lilacs, white paper, white puffy clouds.

Gray falls somewhere between black and white. The use of gray is more trendy and tends to go in cycles. Think gray skies and wind.

Keep in mind that although red, yellow and orange are considered to be the warm colors on the color wheel and purple, blue and green are the cool colors, there can be warmer and cooler versions of them. Purple is a good example. The temperature of purple can be altered by adding either more red to make it a warmer purple or adding more blue to cool it down even more. Red may have a warmer tendency but can also be cooled with more of a blue cast to it. Pick up several strips of one color at the paint store and hold them side-by-side. I think you will find some variations very obvious. As a watercolor artist, I often use a warmer red on the part of a flower I want to appear in the light and a cooler version of red in the shadows. I guess that was my ah hah moment when I discovered that little trick.

The hue is considered the basic color on the color wheel. The tone is the color density. Paint cards at the paint supply stores have different tones of a color on each strip. If you want to use different tones of a color for a monochromatic color scheme, stick to the colors on the strip. Value is the amount of white or black added to a color to change its appearance, light to dark. To change the tone of a color, add a bit of its compliment (red/green, yellow/purple, blue/orange). To change the value, add black or white.

For good flow, a room should have basically three colors: (1) the primary or dominant color such as walls and/or floors; (2) secondary which should be the second color you notice in the room and not in equal proportion to the dominant color; and (3) the accent color such as that used on a pillows, lamps, artwork etc.

I have mentioned this before, but don't forget to consider your light source when choosing a color. It is a good idea to try a swatch on your walls prior to painting the entire room or buying all your paint. To reiterate: North facing windows receive less direct sun and you may want to choose brighter colors; West facing windows have a strong light in the evening and casts an orange tint; East facing windows give strong light in the morning causing a white glow to your room; and South facing windows get the least amount of sun.

Having armed you with all of this information, however, it still boils down to the fact that the studio is yours and the only one who has to be happy with it is you. All rules go out the window if you so choose. This is a room that states who you are and reflects your artistic taste. Have fun with it!

1 comment:

Kim B said...

How interesting! I may have heard some before but always interesting to reflect upon. I hope you had a great weekend. And I always think my favorite color is pale pink however I wasnt allowed to wear red and pink when I was growing up so I think that might have had an impact. I also wear a ton of black.