and you, how long will you listen to these colors before you hear the language of light?- Frida Kahlo
Color is emotional. We see it all around us, we feel it deeply within us and I believe there are people who can even hear it. It can conjure up deep emotion, it influences our perception and can have an influence on our behavior.
Frida Kahlo was a woman who had a close relationship with color. She used vibrant colors in her paintings to express her pain and emotion. The vivid colors from her culture and homeland in Mexico were prevalent in many of her paintings. After seeing the Frida Kahlo exhibit at both the Brooklyn Museum and the MFA Boston, I was inspired not only by her paintings but her words, very raw and vulnerable. In The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait, the artist scribes her thoughts, poems, dreams, along with 70 mesmerizing watercolor illustrations. At one point she writes about color and what each of the colors symbolize to her as she is looking at the assortment of colored pencils at her desk. It’s a personal and poetic description of what the colors meant to her.
Blue- electricity & purity love
Yellow- madness sickness fear/part of the sun and happiness
Black- nothing is black-really nothing
There are many books and articles on color psychology, one of the best online resources I found is from Nick Kolenda. His guide includes the many resources and research on color psychology put together with great detail and easy to read graphics. But if you are only interested in going to the color meanings you can skip to this table.
Another great resource is the Art Therapy Blog, which explains the psychological effects of color such as cool colors vs, warm colors, what goes into the meanings and symbols of colors and how we see them though the eye.
I thought it would be fun to take the different feelings that a particular color evokes and pair it with an inspired interior that creates the same mood.
Yellow is cheerful and spirited. The color yellow creates confidence, happiness, creativity, excitement and self -esteem. Since everyone gathers in the kitchen and it’s usually the first place you go to in the morning, it’ s the perfect place in the house to add pops of yellow. By adding yellow accents you can create a happy and positive vibe to the start of you and your loved ones day.
The color black conjures up the feeling of elegance, glamour and sophistication. These beautiful black barn style doors are a stately entry into this lovely bathroom. In my opinion, black and white has an element of high class luxury. Other words associated with black are power, ruggedness and emotional safety. Thinking of painting your doors black? these doors are painted Blue Black by Farrow & Ball.
Green is associated with the feelings of calm, comfort, harmony and health. It makes us think of nature, which conjures up serenity and relaxation. Green emotes peace and prosperity. Try the colors Artichoke and Clary Sage by Sherwin-Williams - to create your little zen den. These colors are great for any room really…a bathroom, bedroom or a living room, because lets face it, those are emotions we always want to feel all of the time.
The color brown brings forth ruggedness, reliability, outdoorsy, security, toughness, nature, support. Do these images make you feel that way? To me these images are both yin and yang, feminine and masculine. There’s a Grecian beach feel to the light sand colors on the right. These interior colors work well against the backdrop of the blues and greens you are getting from nature. The brown wall panneling on the left is from the Norwegian paint brand Jotun, the color is 10981 ‘Norwegian Wood’
Purple is charming, regal, spiritual and authentic. These shades of purple paired with the natural elements and neutral textiles feels much more of a relaxed regal to me. I love this violet with the natural elements of the rustic wood, very wabi sabi. The purple colors in the left image are from Crown Paints (faded berries).
White is calm, clarity and cleanliness. It evokes happiness, heavens, hygiene, peace and purity. Now you are singing my song, I’m a big fan of white interiors and this image says all that and more to me. This interior image to me evokes a fresh and sophisticated Parisian flat.
Pink has been trending the past few years and no wonder because it is charming and cheerful. Pink is feminine, gentle, nurturing, soft and sophisticated. But I also think there is something strong about pink, which makes it a perfect color for your office. If you want to add a touch of pink without overdoing it, try a single wall like the image above. Wake up, grab your coffee, and sit your bad ass self down and rock your next blog post.
Red is arousing, daring, bold and passionate, that’s why it makes a great bedroom color if you want to add spice to your love life! Red is sexy and brings up feelings of excitement. Think of a woman in a red dress, not that is going to make a statement.
Blue is a tranquil and calming color. If you prefer your bedroom to be a calm relaxing space to wind down and get some serious sleep, blue may be a better option. A blue bedroom promotes comfort, relaxation, serenity and trust. Imagine waking up in the morning and the first thing you see is a soft blue ceiling, as if you are floating on a calm body of water. Yeah, that’s my happy place.
And finally, another book on color I would recommend is called The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair.
The Secret Lives of color is a beautifully written book on the histories of color from the very creative mind of Kassia St. Clair. The book starts out explaining the color spectrum and how we see color, which is fascinating and everything I forgot from color theory class. The book is divided into sections by color and each color has an interesting anecdote from our culture ranging from fashion, politics, spirituality, art and war. Here is a snippet of the introduction to the Green Chapter.
There is a Buddhist fable about the color green. In the tale a deity appears to a small boy in a dream one night and tells him that to obtain everything he could ever desire all he needs to do is close his eyes and not picture sea green. The story has two possible endings. In one the boy eventually succeeds and finds enlightenment; in the other he is so consumed by his continual failure that life and sanity gradually slip away.
(from the book Secret Lives of Color)
I’m excited to dig more into this book because I am not only learning about color but also about history and events that are completely new to me. Not only is it a pretty little book to have on your coffee table, it is a treasure trove of fascinating and obscure stories.
I hope you enjoyed this post on color. If so, please feel free to leave a message below. Check out my services page if you need help with colors for your home. peace, love and happy spring……