About Art and Craft
The World of Colors: Effects
Technically, the aspect of color perception can be accurately described. From a psychological view point, the perception of colors is more detailed. How do colors work on the psyche? Many color sensations are personal, through one’s life experiences or individual preferences. Some color associations are culturally influenced, for example in the desert, the color green has a very different status as in the fertile lands of Europe. However, the sensation and meaning of colors seems to universally lie in nature, whether one is in the desert or in the jungle, green calms, is fresh and vigorous.
Symbolism of color
One observes predominantly the cultural components in the symbolism of color. Which meaning is connected to a color? How is a particular color used in a specific religion or era? What connections are derived from this? Every color has it’s own character and specific effect, as a consequence of the symbolism connected to it. Throughout the diversity of cultures there are still universal meanings which apply worldwide. As every child knows red stands for love, … but red does not only represent love, it stands for blood, fire, desire, anger and a lot more.
The meaning of one color becomes clearer when it is in combination with another color. There is an interplay between colors. Red and pink are colors we connect with romance and perhaps sex, whereas red and black are associated with hate and sometimes the devil. The combination red with violet works malevolently and sensually. People connect red and gold with luck and wealth. A supplementary color makes the effect of one primary color more precise.
Colors influence and effect the observer and as seen in the previous article, in varying combinations, they also effect each other.
Special color pairs
One group oft he uncountable color combinations deserves particular attention; the complementary colors. These are pairs of colors that are exactly on the opposite side of each other in the color wheel. They are like the symbolism of yin and yang, they are two opposite forces that are not divisible and are connected to each other. Two complementary colors strengthen the brilliance of each other. When they are mixed together they simply create a neutral gray.
When one looks at a color for long enough one will see it’s complementary afterimage when closing the eyes. It is as if nature needs to create it’s own balance. Extraordinarily this is a phenomena that works not only optically or physically, it also works psychologically. The psychological effect of a color tilts after a while to give an opposite effect. In using color one should take the interplay of colors into consideration.
These complementary color pairs have particular characteristics and effects. In the following article I will describe the specific meanings of the pairs.