Of Colours and Stuff

Physiological effects – mystics have long held we emanate a coloured glow, or aura, which is thought to affect the state of a person’s health and spirituality. Today, chromo therapy is used to heal with colours. This form of treatment dates back thousands of years to the ancient “colour halls” of Egypt, China, and India. A more prominent use of colour therapy occurs in environmental design (the effect of colour on health and behavior).

Colour symbolism – our responses to colour are not just biological. They are also influenced by colour associations from our culture.

Personal colour preferences – not only have we inherited cultural associations, but we also respond to colours in individual ways. Research has revealed some variables that help explain individual differences in colour responses. One thing remains the same in colour and that is our own colour preferences are important to us.

Emotional effects – the actual emotional effect of a specific colour in an artwork depends partly on its surroundings and partly on the ides expressed by the work as a whole. To be surrounded by blue lighting in an installation is quite different from seeing a small area of blue in a larger colour context. For many of us the emotional effects of art may be difficult to articulate.

Local and expressive colour – there are two opposite ways of using colour in representational art. At one extreme is the local colour – the colour that something appears from nearby when viewed under average lighting conditions. We think of the local colour of a banana as yellow, for example. At the other end of the extreme is the expressionistic use of colour, whereby artists use colour to express an emotional rather than a visual truth.

Remember that most colours carry physiological, cultural, personal, emotional, and expressive implications.
Red
Any of various colours resembling the colour of blood; the primary colour Increases pulse rate and breathing and causes blood pressure to rise. Infants and children respond well to red. Red is for the amorous, outspoken, and optimistic. People who love red, love life.
The food colour. Ever notice that restaurants use red a lot? It makes you hungry by increasing your body’s metabolism.
Hot, passionate, urgent, danger, blood, devil, angry, enraged, amorous, outspoken, optimistic
Yellow
A colour like that of egg yolk, ripe lemons, etc.; the primary colour between green and orange. The colour of the sunny disposition, the idealist. Intellectuals love yellow. It takes more chemicals in the eye to see the colour yellow. Yellow can have some negative effects — babies cry more often and longer in yellow rooms; in convalescent homes it makes older people shake as it affects their minor motor movement. As you get older you tend to dislike yellow because it can make you feel anxious or angry.
Yellow enhances concentration and speeds metabolism.
Warm, cowardice, caution, fearful, bright
Blue
The pure colour of a clear sky; the primary colour between green and violet.
The number one colour choice of the introspective and educated. Blue causes the brain to send off 11 chemical tranquilizers and is a wonderful calming colour.
Pumps people up. Proven to increase energy. Weight lifters should lift in a blue room. Production people will produce more in a blue room. Not a good colour for hospitals.
Responsibility, trustworthiness, compassion, those are the attributes of royal blue.
Honest, integrity, righteous, puritanical, moral, severe, prudish, cool, melancholy, sad, glum, downcast, gloomy, unhappy, quality, first place
Orange
A colour between yellow and red in the spectrum, reddish yellow. A secondary colour that has been formed by the mixture of red and yellow pigments
Not a colour that everyone loves, but those who do are generally social and fun loving.
Confident, creative, adventurous, fun loving, sociable

Green
A colour intermediate in the spectrum between yellow and blue, found in nature as the colour of most grasses and leaves while growing, of some fruits while ripening, and of the sea. A secondary colour that has been formed by the mixture of blue and yellow pigments
A good colour for people in transition. Green is Mother Nature’s colour; lovers of green may be fickle.
The money colour–bound to influence.
In Celtic myths the Green man was the God of fertility.
Universal symbolism: Nature, freshness
Contemporary symbolism: Ecologically beneficial
Nature, health, regeneration, contentment, harmony, cheerful, lively, friendly, fresh, sickly, unripe, immature, simple, unsophisticated, gullible, new
Purple
Any colour having components of both red and blue, such as lavender, esp. one deep in tone
The colour of fantasy. Most men dislike purple.
Royalty, intelligence, wealth, beauty, inspiration, sophistication, high rank, exalted, imperial, princely, excessively ornate rhetoric, profane, shocking
Gray
Of a colour between white and black; having a neutral hue.
A good colour for offices. It promotes productivity and stimulates creativity.
Neutral, ambiguous, intermediate, apathetic, dull, drab, monotonous, mature, sober, somber, mousy, smoky

Black
Lacking hue and brightness; absorbing light without reflecting any of the rays composing it. The colour at one extreme end of the scale of grays, opposite to white.
Produces a feeling of solidarity and formality. Black is a natural classic.
The colour of authority and power, yet also implies submission.
Aloof, evil, death, unknown, fear, mystery, dark, night, sad, murky, sinful, inhuman, fiendish, devilish, infernal, monstrous, horrible, nefarious, treacherous, traitorous, villainous, depressing, somber, doleful, mournful, funereal, disastrous, calamitous, harmful, deliberate, pessimistic, dismal, hostile, threatening, wicked, disgrace, morbid, grotesque, undesirable, dangerous, false
White
A colour without hue at one extreme end of the scale of grays, opposite to black. A white surface reflects light of all hues completely and diffusely. Most so-called whites are very light grays: fresh snow, for example, reflects about 80 percent of the incident light, but to be strictly white, snow would have to reflect 100 percent of the incident light. It is the ultimate limit of a series of shades of any colour.  Never underestimate the power of this super neutral. It works with any other colour, in any context, anywhere. One colour plus white equals an almost foolproof colour scheme. White would be an inappropriate colour for a wedding in China. It is the colour of mourning. If a bride chooses a white wedding gown, her parents would probably not allow her to get married. Innocence, purity, virginal, sterility, fairness, snow, frost, milk, ghostly, ultraconservative, blank, empty, transparent, honorable, dependable, auspicious, fortunate, harmless
Pink
A colour varying from light crimson to pale reddish purple. Makes one feel prosperous, a bit pampered. “Baker Miller” pink (deep shade of pink, similar to Pep to Bismol) is used in jail holding cells to calm prisoners. Pink is also used to treat patients suffering from headache disorders.
Femininity, sweetness, prime, left-wing
Brown
A dark tertiary colour with a yellowish or reddish hue. Solid, reliable brown is the colour of earth and is abundant in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Men are more apt to say brown is one of their favorite colours.
Earth, nature, dirt, tanned, drab, coffee, solid, sad