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Colour Psychology

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

“What´s your favourite colour?”

I had to smile when I read this question on Facebook. I´m wearing blue, green, and yellow patterned trousers, a blue shirt, and a pink jacket! I wonder what that says about me?

My answer? “It depends on my mood!"

I´m in a lively, productive frame of mind, excited and looking forward to my first visitors for a very long time. I feel quite playful which might explain the pink jacket, and the fact that I´m a landscape artist, love to paint my beloved Dorset, yet I´ve just painted an elephant.

Often found to be the world’s favourite colour, blue inspires trust, expresses authority, reliability, and trustworthiness. Many financial, airline and insurance companies want us to trust and believe in them and use blue branding. I notice my bank card is blue, the visa symbol too.

As an artist, I’m obsessed with the sky and for me blue symbolises freedom, pure, soaring, expansive joy and inspiration. But it’s a long time since I saw the sky as “blue”. It contains and diffuses so many magical colours. It never stops amazing me that what I’m painting is light.

Red is passion, love, a call to action, urgent, insistent, hard to ignore. Orange, apparently, is affordable, youthful, lighthearted and creative. For me, it´s a glorious sunset after another lovely day. Green communicates harmony, new beginnings, tranquility, freshness. Green is generally the colour of choice for environmental, organic, healthy products. Mother Nature must have had a good business head on her wise, loving shoulders when She opened her magnificent paintbox.

I never gave psychology a thought when I started the three small paintings in vivid reds and yellows I’m working on now. Not consciously, anyway. These are possibly my favourite colours to work with. Perhaps there’s an unconscious link to the stunning tulip fields in my native Holland, triggering memories and emotions from my happy childhood. I love the red and yellow cheerful, warm, positive, feeling, and in my painting, and I want to share the emotions, the mood, the joy these colours evoke. Heart to heart, or should that be Art to heart?

I love working with vibrant acrylic colours which drench my canvas and lift my spirit. I mix my favourite cadmium red from a limited palette of primary colours to make crimson, orange, pink, magenta and deep purples in different shades and tones using white to cool or warm my work, and a tiny amount of black to balance and cool the fire in primary red.

Cadmium yellow gives me, a lovely warm, orangey hue which I sometimes mix with Indian yellow. Yellow can boost confidence, lift self- esteem, evoke a feeling a well-being like the sun on a glorious summer´s day. I use yellow in my healing paintings for clarity and protection. The healing painting seen in the centre below is a meditation for attracting romance. In The Journey , the abstract below people have seen a viking ship, a compass, new horizons, courage and adventure.

There are interesting cultural differences regarding the symbolism of colours, perhaps for another blog. I´m grateful to artists all over the world who share their ideas and experience freely on the Internet. I´ve learned so much from you.

Meanwhile, Sunny is playing with his favourite blue and yellow toy. I learned that he doesn’t just see black and white as I’d always believed. His world includes shades of yellow, blue, and grey with orange, red and green missing from his spectrum. Now I know why he ignores the red ball in the grass and races after the blue one.

Loyal blue and playful yellow are his favourite colours.

What´s yours?

Marja Brown

Landscape Artist

Original paintings and prints available on my website. Commissions undertaken with joy.

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