Brand of Colors: Color Etiquette for your Graphics

Brand of Colors: Color Etiquette for your Graphics

When friend, colleague and client Debbie Josendale  founder, creator, and president of 3C Marketing Group LLC contacted me to get my opinion on the colors in the graphic below, I dove in headfirst, and delivered an analysis of not only the colors, but their placement, qualities, and distribution.

Print

It is a process I find fascinating, and I never tire of both studying, and analyzing how, why, and where colors work best  for the purpose they are being employed…or not.  When the colors are “not working”, sometimes a slight tweak will do the trick; changing the placement, value, chroma, or saturation of a color, or how much of it is being used.  Other times, a greater overhaul of the color palette may be requited.

Debbie knew that something was not right in the graphic above…not in balance. She knew the feeling she wanted communicated wasn’t quite there yet.

I saw immediately that the central “bar” of color, surrounding the word “AUTHORITY” was too dark, and needed some brightness and warmth to fully communicate the idea of “AUTHORITY” as a positive, powerful, and in essence, beautiful thing to the viewer.  I suggested that instead of the deep, almost blackish green (on my screen, and in this age of individual internet screen and printers, who knows what any given pair of eyes is seeing…), that a a mixture of the top green, and bottom blue, IE, a warmer, clearer, yet still strong,  teal be used, to distill the positive message of leadership and problem-solving.

I also suggested that the lighter, brighter green, used at the bottom of the graphic be moved to the top, and the deeper blue at the top be used at the bottom, to “ground”  the “page”, as is done in architectural color consulting. Deeper, darker, and stronger color used on the foundation, or lower part of a building can “ground” it, making the building as a whole look more rooted, stable, and solid. By moving the green to the top of the “page” or view, I felt a more expansive, airy, and optimistic feeling could be created.

Finally, I advised that the top blue block, encasing the Map Marketing (TM) Method lettering be altered in some way that again, would make it less heavy, and also differentiate from the blocks of color below.  This is challenging, as this lettering/text serves as a logo, and thus changing even its scale could be tricky.

3C Map Marketing_ver3 no crop marks

Well, Deb  and her team made the majority of the adjustments I advised,  to the graphic.  Above you can see the beautiful teal color which replaces that dark blackish-green surrounding the word AUTHORITY”,  relieving it of that “black hole” feeling. Not only was the green from the original moved from the bottom of the piece to the top, but a cooler hue of green, closer to the central teal, and less yellow  is used, bringing the piece as a whole into greater color harmony. The blue at the bottom is also adjusted to be closer to the teal, a greener blue, rather than the original “royal” blue, and is now separated from the “title” color bar/block at the very top.

We are still working on what can be done with that top color block, which I feel still, is too strong and heavy, visually “bearing down” on the rest of the graphic. The left side of the top color “block” overhangs the words in color read sideways, which are surrounded by the white background, giving it the sense of being off-center, and bearing to the left.

Enlarging the white text inside that top blue block would alleviate this to some extent, but my advice would be to lose that top block of color altogether, and make the text itself blue, and maybe a bit larger and heavier, to fill the space.
We will see what 3C decides to do!

In any event, the general consensus is that the graphic as a whole is much improved, and better communicates the feeling its creator wants to project. Voila the power of color, how much of it is used, and where!

You can hear our “Color Muze” discussion on Rebecca E. Parsons‘s blog talk radio program, “Artistically Speaking Talk Show” on this subject, preceded by a wonderful interview with paper artist Helen Hiebert.  You can also catch previous “Color Muzes” here, in Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

From all of us to all of You: here’s wishing all of You the  right color mix for You and Your color needs…today!

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Humors, Hues, and Healing: Color Symbolism of Yesteryear

Humors, Hues, and Healing: Color Symbolism of Yesteryear

Sunday July 15, 2012, on our Color Muze  for Artistically Speaking Talk Show, the Blog Talk Radio brainchild of artist and entrepreneur Rebecca E. Parsons, we delved into the mists of antiquity to explore what my teacher, Frank H. Mahnke, of the IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers Seminars) has called, “Mystical Color Symbolism.

Rebecca interviewed my old friend and colleague, Joy Conway, decorative painter extraordinaire, owner and lead artist of  Funwalls Studio in Albuquerque, NM, a division of her evolving, green  artistic enterprise, nmVerde. Joy is also part of Vintage and More,  selling vintage items and antiques as part of a collective effort.  Although “vintage’ is not necessarily “antiquity”, we found plenty of tie-ins!

We “muzed” about the four-fold system devised by the ancient Greek physician  Hippocrates,  (b. ca. 460 B.C, often termed the “Father of Western Medicine”,  which connects the four major “humors” (human bodily fluids) with the four “temperaments”  (one might term these, personality types) and their color counterparts.

Bear in mind that the hue of each  humor, IE, black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm (this is not for the faint of heart!) does not necessarily correspond to the color related to it.  No, blood/sanguis, even though physically  a shade of red, is related to the cheerful color of yellow, and element of air.

The  term for a cheerful, optimistic, hopeful personality…or, temperament is sanguine!  Perhaps this humor, blood, runs healthily through the veins of one of this temperament, helping them to be positive, and upbeat!

Let’s take a look at the this fascinating  four-fold system.

The humor yellow bile, or “cholos” is associated with  the element of fire, and the  choleric temperament: passionate, touchy, quick, violent tempered, and active. The choleric temperament is strong, faster changing, a tensed mental state directed towards the outer world.  It’s color is red, in modern systems symbolizing  aggressiveness, activity and strength.

The humor black bile, or “melas cholos” is  associated with  the element of earth (not water, as one might intuitively expect given our natural association with blue) , and the  melancholic temperament: sad, with a tendency towards melancholy and depression.  The melancholic temperament is strong, but slower changing, a tensed mental state directed towards the inner world. It’s color  range is  blue, blue-violet, and black. It’s counterpart in contemporary color symbolism would be “feeling blue”- IE, sadness, melancholy, and depressiveness.

The humor blood,, or sanguis” is associated with  the element of air, and the  sanguine temperament: warm-hearted, lively, cheerful, impulsive, with a positive approach to life.. The sanguine temperament is weaker, faster changing, a relaxed mental state directed towards the outer world.It’s color is yellow, which in our modern system symbolizes cheerfulness, vitality, and high-spiritedness. Yellow, in the Hippocratic system relates to the element of air, and the humor of blood,  is the color of the sun, and sunlight…perhaps the “life blood” of our planet earth?

The humor  phlegm  (we all know that one, yes?!) is associated with  the element of water (which makes sense when you think about the relationship of phlegm to dampness) and the  phlegmatic temperament:stolid, calm, reserved, and hard to rouse to activity. The phlegmatic  temperament is weak and slow changing, a relaxed mental state directed towards the inner world.  (Think about when you have a cold, and just want to curl up in bed and let the world go by). It’s color range is green, green-blue, and white. Green, in more modern color symbolism, can express withdrawal, quietness and reservation.

Just for fun…here is an excerpt (found on http://www.fisheaters.com/fourtemperaments.html)  from the 11th c. Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, attributed to John of Milano, giving the basic run-down as to the effects of too much of one humor or another: 

If Sanguin humour do too much abound,
These signes will be thereof appearing cheefe,
The face will swell, the cheeks grow red and round,
With staring eies, the pulse beate soft and breefe,
The veynes exceed, the belly will be bound,
The temples, and the forehead full of griefe,
Unquiet sleeps, that so strange dreames will make
To cause one blush to tell when he doth wake:
Besides the moysture of the mouth and spittle,
Will taste too sweet, and seeme the throat to tickle.
If Choller do exceed, as may sometime,
Your eares will ring, and make you to be wakefull,
Your tongue will seeme all rough, and oftentimes
Cause vomits, unaccustomed and hatefull,
Great thirst, your excrements are full of slime,
The stomacke squeamish, sustenance ungratefull,
Your appetite will seeme in nought delighting,
Your heart still greeued with continuall byting,
The pulse beate hard and swift, all hot, extreame,
Your spittle soure, of fire-worke oft you dreame.
If Flegme abundance haue due limits past,
These signes are here set downe will plainly shew,
The mouth will seeme to you quite out of taste,
And apt with moisture still to overflow,
Your sides will seeme all sore downe to the waist,
Your meat wax loathsome, your digestion slow,
Your head and stomacke both in so ill taking,
One seeming euer griping tother aking:
With empty veynes, the pulse beat slow and soft,
In sleepe, of seas and ryuers dreaming oft.

But if that dangerous humour ouer-raigne,
Of Melancholy, sometime making mad,
These tokens then will be appearing plaine,
The pulse beat hard, the colour darke and bad:
The water thin, a weake fantasticke braine,
False-grounded ioy, or else perpetuall sad,
Affrighted oftentimes with dreames like visions,
Presenting to the thought ill apparitions,
Of bitter belches from the stomacke comming,
His eare (the left especiall) euer humming.

So, what does all this say about our use of color, and the use of color in the architectural space?

I can’t give a definitive response to this query, but take a look at these interiors, and let me know what you think!

Red for the bed…a couple’s romantic red bedroom.

Blue for you…this is where you will stay as a guest in this house…in the blue guest room.

Mellow yellow? The blue guest room’s yellow and deco bath.

Green for clean?  This green room is the complementary master bath for the red bedroom above.

What does it all mean? Have we changed that much since 460 B.C?  Certainly not our “humors”, nor their hues. If we truly peruse and analyze the ancient Greek scholars, we can probably discover methodologies and means timelessly revealing of the human body, spirit and psyche.  At any rate…it is a fascinating  area of study and contemplation, and one befitting our Color Muze,on  Artistically Speaking Talk Show and  Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

if anyone is interested in further humor-ous (or other) exploration, please consider checking out these sites for further fascination, fun and fancy…and maybe a few insights along the way!.

May YOU live long, and healthy.

http://www.greekmedicine.net/b_p/Four_Humors.html

http://www.thecolourworks.com/pdfs/Hippocrates%20the%20Four%20Humours%202.pdf

http://thecolourworks.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hippocrates-galen-the-four-humours/

Strike Me Pink…You Feel Me? Color Associations & You

Strike Me Pink…You Feel Me?

  Color Associations & You

Hello Gentle Readers of Artissima!  I am Debra Disman, your friendly Color Muze, here to share tasty tidbits of color wisdom…from here, there and everywhere.  (If you would like to know about the relationship between color, and taste..please check out previous posts on SYNESTHESIA, and….Synesthesia!)

April 15, 2012,on Rebecca E. Parsons wonderful, and inspiring  blog talk radio “Artistically Speaking Talk Show” ,  our Color Muze   found me in colorFULL convo with Rebecca, and her two highly cre8tive guests,  Deb Thompson, and Christy Gossett ; bloggers extraordinaire. We had a fun romp through a serious color association study, that I learned about from Mr.  Frank H. Mahnke, my instructor at the IACC-NA ( International Association of Colour Consultants/ Designers North America).  The  color skinny, as per this study?  Color associations may indeed be cross cultural…even universal, within a certain range, of both colors, and cultures.  Meaning that…in this study, the majority of participants had similar color associations.  What were they?  Well…please peruse my take and interpretation  below, and let the fun, and fascination, begin!   Less verbiage…let’s let “Les Couleures” speak for themselves!

Red   =   Love

Wouldn’t you know it?  (Heart, blood, life force, et al…)

However, when paired with black, the love may change to hatred…oh dear.

However, this may shift depending on the proportions of red to black, and the addition of another color, such as white.

The human presence, also may alter this association!

The obvious associations with sky and water seem to compel us to associate the color blue with peace and tranquility.

As well, green, with its relationship to springtime,  plants, and the rejuvenating life force of nature.

Although white may be the color of mourning in some cultures, the majority of participants associated the colors black and gray with mourning and sorrow.  Here the effect may be mitigated by an undertone of life giving green, paired with  fresh creamy trim.

The most common color associated with “happy” in this study was yellow…with orange coming in second.

What comes to mind when YOU think of orange? The color of joviality…[“French, probably from Italian giovale, from Old Italian, of Jupiter (regarded as the source of happiness”; from Latin joviālis of (the planet) Jupiter, considered by astrologers to foster good humour),

Warm oranges may be associated with appetite, and can be used effectually in kitchens and dining areas.

Here, the radiant, embracing orange wall and ceiling of this living room veer towards the yellow, or golden, also associated with “jovial”.

Fresh clear life affirmative green…no surprise that “LIFE” is a big association!

Slightly toned down, but still radiant!  Life Force…here we come!

Light-filled yellow…no orange here..with luminous associations.

More luminous-ness…an exterior faux finish featuring a deeper-valued texture over a lighter base,

popping on this building against an azure blue sky.  Yellow = sun/sunshine = light = luminous, indeed.

Speaking of blue…blue and violet associate with “noble”.

Noble blue door…this one does make a statement.

Purple has long been associated with royalty…and has been the color of royalty, or the “highest” of “noble blood”.  To obtain this once rare color, a fair amount of effort once had to be made.

“The actual color of Tyrian purple, the original color purple from which the name purple is derived, is the color of a dye extracted from a mollusk found on the shores of the city of Tyre in ancient Phoenicia (present day Lebanon) that in classical antiquity became a symbol of royalty because only the very wealthy could afford it. Therefore, Tyrian purple was also called imperial purple. (See Article).

Nature arranges colors so beautifully…in ways that delight us, and make our hearts sing… might her “color associations”  be the same as ours?

 What colors do YOU associate with “love”, “hatred”, “peace/tranquility”, “sorrow/mourning” “happiness”, “joviality”, “life”, “luminous”. or “noble”?

If you feel so inclined, please share them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all color associating with this thing called Life, together.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Colors that Advance and Recede



Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Colors that Advance and Recede

On March 20, 2011, during our Color Muze segment on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, I had the opportunity to chat with hosts  Rebecca and Lyna‘s delightful guest, mixed media artist Kelli Perkins about color temperature, colors that advance and recede, and the relationship between the two.  Playing off our previous discussions of “Synesthesia“, or, “The Unity of the Senses“, the idea that colors provoke associations our senses other than sight, during this Muze, we focused on which colors seem to advance, and which to recede.  This effect is particularly salient as regards to architectural color, as it can be used to make a space feel larger,

or smaller….

For example, if we paint the walls a color that seems to advance towards us, the space itself will feel smaller.  Doing the opposite can create the opposite effect.  This technique can be used in any visual context.  Using colors that advance and recede can create movement or stillness, dynamism or placidity, agitation or peacefulness, in paintings, textiles, clothing, or anything that uses color as an element.  Artists, take this to heart.  Kelli does use color!  Warm, saturated, and often secondary (purple, green, orange) color!  She uses it intuitively and instinctively, even giving herself luminescent purple hair in a self-portrait.  Check it out, you have to see this!

But what makes a color seem to advance or recede?   And, what qualities do those colors have?

Well, for one thing, how warm or cool a color is perceived to be plays a major role.   If we consider the color wheel, we can see a warm half of the wheel,  red through yellow-green, and a cool half, green through red-violet.  In terms of our perception, warm colors seem to advance, and cool, to recede.  When we talk about color “pop”, it refers to the advancing quality of that color, making it “pop” out at us, like the brilliant orange vase in this room.

Warm to hot colors will seem to advance, making the surfaces sheathed in them seem to be closer to you, thus making a room seem smaller, cozier, and, of course, warmer.  Often, we want this, and a cavernous space may need it to feel livable.

Cool to cold colors will seem to recede, making the surfaces they sheath feel farther away from us, thus visually adding space, or volume, to a room.  This sense of space can be calming and refreshing, especially on a hot day!

By the same token, dark, saturated colors advance and make a space feel smaller, and more intimate,

while pale, light colors, with less saturation add volume by receding. offering a sense of spaciousness, and potentially, rest and relief.

And for sure…strong, bold busy pattern advances!  This intimate boudoir becomes yet more magical, fantastical and fun with the addition of this totally HOT fabric wallpaper and curtain!

Smaller, more subdued pattern also recedes.  Here the cool blue elegance of the drapes is warmed up by the detail, which brings them to the same plane as the surrounding white walls.  The walls themselves recede in lightness of color, advance  in warmth of tone, and recede  in absence of pattern!  Wow.  This advancing and receding stuff can be complex.  Almost like a math problem. But, ooh, how fun to contemplate!

An interesting discovery can be made when considering our use of language, vis-a-vis not only color, but temperature, AND the idea of advancing and receding.  Let’s listen to what we say, what we think, and how we describe relationships, or even our own emotions  and personalities.  When someone, or even our self, is being or feeling cool, or cold, we often describe that behavior as distant.  Or, visa versa, if someone seems remote, or distant, we may jump to the conclusion that they are “cold” or “cool”,  emotionally. We may even feel cold or cool ourselves, when we feel emotionally distant from another person, experience,  or something we see, or do.

Conversely, when we feel intimate and close to others, to our experience, to ourselves, to Life,  we may feel warm, or even hot (!).  How often do we say, “I feel so cool and cozy!”?  Never, I would venture to guess.  Not if we aren’t characters in a J K Rowling fantasy!  When we feel warmth towards or from another person, they feel “close” to us, and we feel close to them. .  It would be hard to feel close to someone, to our authentic selves, or to our experience, and feel cool or cold. When we say, “Person X is so warm, I feel so close to him/her.”, we are equating emotional temperature with emotional proximity, and the idea of emotional color advancing and receding within ourselves and others.

There is much to contemplate here, and this could be the subject of a whole new post.  Have you ever felt the temperature effect, either emotionally, or physically, through color?  Have you used color deliberately, to expand or contract the perceived volume of a space? Have you noticed your own telling use of language to describe either?

If you feel so inspired, please share your insights, discoveries, and experiences with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all, hopefully, advancing through this thing called Life, together.

Here’s wishing you both color and emotional mastery, magic and adventure.  It’s hot!

 

Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part Two

Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part Two

Our February 13th “Color Muze” segment on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, focused on the fascinating concept and phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses. I learned about Synesthesia through my color seminars at the IACC-NA (The International Association of Colour Consultants and Designers North America) from Mr. Frank Mahnke, President of the  IACC-NA and the Director of the IACC Education/Accreditation Programs conducted worldwide. Mr. Mahnke lectures on the  psycho-physiological effects of color, light and the human reaction to the built environment, as well as the role of color as information and communication in the field of marketing.  In other words… Color Rocks the Big One…our Perception.

In my first Seminar with the IACC-NA, I learned about how colors (the visual) can provoke associations with our other senses, (smell, touch/the tactile, hearing and taste), as well as affect our perception of weight, volume, size and texture.  In the words of Mr. Mahnke , “It seems that the centers for processing sensory information are linked with each other, leading to crosstalk between the senses.” If this is true, and it would seem from the evidence of our senses that it is, then the concept of Synesthesia is an important consideration in any and every color decision we make, with potentially profound consequences emotionally, physically, aesthetically, and even spiritually.   How does our perception of Color make us Feel?

We tend to talk about color in terms of the visual; “Oh, that red bedroom is so bright!”, or “That’s a very pale shade of lilac.” But, if we tune into our own phraseology, we may just as often hear ourselves speaking about color in terms of our other four senses, the auditory, (hearing), olfactory, (smell),  gustatory, (taste), and the tactile (touch).  “Oh, that red is just so loud!” “What a sour green!”, “Such a sweet pink room!“, “I love that soft blue.”

Let’s awaken all our senses by taking a closer look, and tuning into what we feel, and how we respond to color.

What do colors sound like?

Warm colors such as yellows and oranges tend to feel loud to us, and can potentially make a space feel “noisy”.  According toHeinrich Frieling, Director of the Institute of Color Psychology, we associate gold-yellow with major keys, and orange with loudness and major keys. Cooler colors such as blue on the other hand, tend to feel quieter and more distant, with darker-hued spaces seeming to  further muffle sounds.

What do colors feel like?

What texture does a particular color “feel” like it has?  It’s not surprising that yellow tends to “feel” smooth. When we consider yellow’s associations, this makes sense.  Have we ever felt a ray of rough or scratchy sunlight?  Looking at yellow’s opposite or complement, purple, we can get a sense of velvet.  Would this have anything to do with our association of purple with royalty, and the images of purple velvet which we may associate with royal robes?

What do colors smell like?

The  chroma, saturation, lightness, and brightness of a particular color  can affect its sensory associations. Under Frieling, the Institute of Color Psychology has asserted that the color brown is associated with a musky, or roast taste.  We may even use the word “browning” in lieu of the word “roasting”, or to describe part of the roasting process.  However, green-blue may elicit fresh to salty associations, while the hue “blue” is essentially odorless. Add to this the nature associations we have to brown in all its aspects (think “earthy”), green-blue (sea) and just “blue” (sky), and the sensory meanings can become clear. Different blue and brown combinations will give different effects, making us think with our noses, as well as our eyes.

What do colors Taste like?

Taste and smell are closely related, and tend to hold the same or similar color associations. Red is sweet and strong, as long as it contains no yellow, and doesn’t cross over into the realm of orange, which may not be so sweet, despite our associations with the fruit.  Perhaps the holiday of Valentine’s Day has played upon this “red as sweet” association, with its emphasis on red-wrapped boxes of chocolate, and other sweets.  I would add the term “rich” into the mix, my association with Valentine’s Day chocolate, if its worth its salt- er, sugar.  Green, and yellow-green by contrast (red and green being complementary colors, and opposite each other on the color wheel) associate with sour, with yellow-green veering to the tangy, and green, to the juicy.  Consider green apples, kiwis, limes, fried green tomatoes (well, maybe not fried…tomatoes ARE fruits though!)  Green to yellow-green hues can make our mouths water and our lips pucker just by thinking about them!

Thinking about it.  In a way, that is the point.. isn’t it?  Because, as we know, as scientists, colorists, designers and artists know, however subliminally, that color IS a matter of perception.  Color exists in our brains. As Frank Mahnke says, “There is no doubt that a unity exists from one sense to another.  Perception is not just a mosaic of separate sense stimulations.  In certain aspects of psychology…the entire organism is looked upon as a whole.”

All of our senses play into the impressions we receive, the internal images we carry, and the ideas we form. resulting in how we feel.  How we feel affects how we behave, and vice versa. When we understand, or perceive of color that way, we realize how amazingly,  incredibly important and powerful  it is.  Color really does Rocks the Big One…our Perception. And as some would say, “perception is reality”.  What do You think?

If you feel so inspired, share YOUR sense and sensibility with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all experiencing this thing called Life, together.

Newsflash: for another yummy look at the phenomenon of Synesthesia, please check out Elizabeth Brown’s Colorific blog post on the same subject.


Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part One

Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part One

Our February 13th “Color Muze” segment on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, focused on the fascinating concept and phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses. I learned about Synesthesia through my color seminars at the IACC-NA (The International Association of Colour Consultants and Designers North America) from Mr. Frank Mahnke, President of the  IACC-NA and the Director of the IACC Education/Accreditation Programs conducted worldwide. Mr. Mahnke lectures on the  psycho-physiological effects of color, light and the human reaction to the built environment, as well as the role of color as information and communication in the field of marketing.

In my first Seminar with the IACC-NA, I learned about how colors (the visual) can provoke associations with our other senses, (smell, touch/the tactile, hearing and taste), as well as affect our perception of weight, volume, size and texture.  In the words of Mr. Mahnke , “It seems that the centers for processing sensory information are linked with each other, leading to crosstalk between the senses.” If this is true, and it would seem from the evidence of our senses that it is, then the concept of Synesthesia is an important consideration in any and every color decision we make, with potentially profound consequences emotionally, physically, aesthetically, and even spiritually!

Let’s look at some examples.

Considering Temperature: Painter, designer, teacher, writer and theorist Johannes Itten wrote about experiments that supported the thesis that we can feel a 5-7 degree difference in temperature in rooms painted blue-green, and red-orange.  When we consider the associations with blue-green (water, coolness), and red-orange (fire, heat) this would seem to make sense!  What experiences have YOU had temperature-wise, being surrounded by architectural color?  Does blue/green always feel cooler, and red/orange warmer to you?  Does it depend on the value, saturation, intensity, tone and context of the color?  And what about the color of that color- its hue?

What about Volume? We can see through experience, that lighter, cooler  colors seem to recede, thus making a room feel larger,  (giving it more “room”) while warmer, more saturated, and darker colors seem to advance, and take up more space in a room, thus making it appear smaller.  Have YOU had this experience? As a color designer, have you used these principles?

Can color affect our perception of weight and size? Darker, warmer and more saturated colors tend to seem heavier, and the areas they cover seem to be larger, while paler, cooler and more pastel colors seem lighter, and the areas they cover, smaller.  Thus a darker, warmer, and more saturated color will seem to bring a ceiling “down”, and the opposite for  a paler, cooler and more pastel color.  Can YOU see this effect in these two ceiling areas?  The effect may be complicated by the fact that the area surrounding both is in the hue range of cream to white!


The above are just a few of the infinite examples of “sensory crosstalk”, or Synesthesia, which I suspect pervades our daily lives far more than we are conscious of.

In a subsequent post, I will explore Synesthesia in terms of our five senses: the visual effect of color as regards to our sense of hearing, touch, taste and smell.  In other words, What scent does the color lime green conjure up?  What flavor would rosebud pink be? Does cobalt blue “feel” rough or smooth?  These are illuminating exercises to try for ourselves, and I am going to discuss just how to do that.

As an example, during her interview,  I queried special guest Rebecca E. Parsons (co-host and creator of Artistically Speaking Talk Show) about her chosen Word for 2011: SOAR.

“What color would you assign to this word, and the meaning it has for you at this time?” I asked her.

“Aqua” she replied, without missing a beat.  This only makes sense.  Rebecca lives in Florida, on island, near the water, and walks on the beach nearly every early morning.  The Aqua color of sea-blue water  which reflects the sky, with its associations of both airiness / expansion, and sublimity / depth would make it the perfect expression of Rebecca’s intention to  dive into her dreams, and Soar with them, making her cre8tive life vision a reality.

You can hear my Muze with Rebecca, as well as her complete extraordinary and  inspirational  interview with co-host Lyna Farkas on Artistically Speaking Talk Show on your computer anytime you wish.  I hope you will tune in to it, as well to Artissima, Blog of ArtiFactory Studio, for Synesthesia: Sense and Sensibility Part Two, and join our Color Full exploration.

What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”

Have YOU had an experience with Synesthesia lately?

If you feel so inspired, share YOUR sense and sensibility with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all experiencing this thing called Life, together.



Color Muze News, Views and Hues: Transformative Color

Color Muze News, Views and Hues: Transformative Color

I continue to be inspired by serving as the Color Muze for Cre8tive Compass Magazine, and Artistically Speaking talk show.  Helmed by Rebecca E. Parsons, creative “arte-preneur” extraordinaire, and master decorative artist, Lyna Farkas, Artistically Speaking is a popular blog talk radio show focusing on the visual arts.  It features interviews with artists and creative entrepreneurs that educate, intrigue, inspire, and inform us about how to experience, grow and create our Art, Business and Life, mixing and matching along the way!

Each third Sunday of the month at approximately 7:15pm EST, I join the delightful Rebecca and Lyna, to offer tips, share real-life stories, and provide guidance in the powerful and awesome realm of Color.  I will also be providing follow-up Color Muze articles for Cre8tive Compass Magazine, like this one!  SO, sit back, listen up, read, and enjoy the show!

In January 2011 we muzed about the emotional, communicative and transformational power of color, discussing real-life examples.  I’d like to share one of them here with you.

A beloved client, with whom I have worked for over a decade, found her charming but rather dark kitchen very depressing.  Over the course of time, she had added some stained glass, and worked with me to paint out areas of the dark woodwork which predominated in the room.

During the course of our work together, she had a period of great personal challenge that demanded tremendous strength and fortitude.  Although we had enhanced her kitchen and other areas of her home over the years, she felt strongly that the dark tenor of this important area was still affecting her state of mind, and needed to be transformed.

Astonishingly, the remains of the paint we had used in her kitchen years before was found, and she was able to get more of it from her local vendor.  We used it to paint out more of the dark wood trim and doors. The warm golden ochre color had been chosen to brighten the room (which gets little natural sunlight), as well as to set off the visual treasures displayed there.  True to form, the hue created its contextual magic once again.


“The final outcome of the project was transformational. “ said my client.What had been a dark and brooding extended kitchen area became a light and inviting space that perfectly wove into the accent colors already in place. The end product created a welcoming environment and one that now highlights the unique wooden carvings within the rooms.”

This statement is truly a testament to the transformative power of color.  It can support your life, and help you through dark and demanding times.  The “right” color can offer lightness, joy, grace and positivity to any space, in any context.  In other words, color can help you live.

During our Muze on January 16, 2011, I offered a way to approach our color decisions by suggesting three aspects to take into consideration when we are making them.  These aspects are:

  • Purpose
  • Effect
  • Context

These three aspects or considerations as regards to choosing colors can be seen as a three part lens through which to view color in any context.  I suggest you try writing these out in the form of a chart, a list, a set of questions or even a story, and see if this activity proves helpful to you in making color decisions.

In regards to my client’s color story related above…what was the Purpose of the color she was choosing for her kitchen? Well, the Purpose was to elevate her mood, communicate and support a sense of optimism, energy, happiness, cheerfulness, positivity and possibility.  A hue in the yellow family was chosen, not a lemony yellow, but an earthy one, which worked with the colors, textures, architecture and general sensibility of the room and its Purpose, as well as the home as a whole.

The Effect of the chosen hue is warm, light and bright (in comparison to the dark wood it covers), yet earthy and comforting.  Associated with the sun, candlelight, flame, and firelight, as well as gold and gladness, an earthy hue of yellow is perfect in this room for the Purpose described above.  We associate yellow  with optimism, energy, happiness, cheerfulness, positivity and possibility. Think “sunny” disposition!

What was the Context for this color?  As regards to Place, the kitchen is considered by many to be the hearth, heart, and nucleus of the home.  When I visit this particular Client, who has become a friend over the years, we don’t sit in the living room to chat; we sit in the kitchen. Thus our color needed to be appetizing, inviting, invigorating, but also relaxing. The choice of a warm, earthy golden hue also helps compensate for the lack of natural light in the room. In terms of the existing Design and Architecture of the room, with its cream walls, dark wood ceiling beams, ochre backsplash tiles, brick red tiled floor, and lighter brick stove area, our color needed to play nice with all of these elements, integrating, and not competing with them.  Finally, the room holds a number of Objects and Accents treasured by my Client: decorative plates, ceramics, and stained glass, which hang on walls, windows and doors.  Our hue needed to set off and work with these as well.

Purpose, Effect, Context is a way to think about, consider, and approach color.  The “P.E.C.” approach can be applied to your decision-making process about color in any context: web or graphic design, interior design and architecture, textiles, craft, decorative painting, and even fine or conceptual art.  Give it a try…its fun! Thinking in terms of Purpose, Effect and Context may help you sort out your color challenges with greater ease,  and allow you to experience the pure joy and pleasure of color more fully.

What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”

Here’s to a colorful journey!


Color Muze Quarterly: Our View on Hue II

Color Muze Quarterly: Our View on Hue II

This post is based on an article written for  Cre8tive Compass Magazine, published 01/2011.

Color Muze” is a five-minute segment on Artistically Speaking, a popular talk show on blog talk radio which airs at 6:30pm EST, most Sundays.   Color Muze comes on the show each third Sunday (mostly) at 7:15-ish EST.  Please join us for Color Muze Hues, News and Views, on Artistically Speaking Blog Talk Radio.  The good news is, you can hear the shows on your computer…anytime!

And now…let the COLOR begin!

Here is a round-up of some of our favorite Color Muze tips and tidbits from September, October and November of 2010 on Artistically Speaking.

Spearheaded by Rebecca E. Parsons, creative entrepreneur extraordinaire, and master decorative artist, Lyna FarkasArtistically Speaking has undergone some transformations in the New Year, and we are excited about what 2011 has in store for its listeners, and the readers of Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

In the future, we look forward to enhancing our Color Muze offerings with a variety of Color-Full articles to enrich your know-how, experience and practice of color. We look forward to continued “Muzing” with you about the fascinating, and ever-unfolding world of Color!

In September, we continued our discussion of The Color Wheel with a focus on complementary colors, and their relationship to each other.  The complements are sets of colors opposite each other on the color wheel, and comprised of one primary color (red, blue, yellow), and one secondary color (secondary colors result from the mixing of two primaries: purple, green and orange). Note: we are talking about pigment-based color mixing in this article.

The primary hues of red, yellow and blue set each other off when juxtaposed, as in the layered look created by these three rooms. The red room opens to the blue, which opens to the yellow (gold), creating an intense, saturated effect.

Likewise, when sets of complements, (opposite each other on the color wheel), are placed next to each other, or overlaid without transparency, they will enhance each other. Try using sets of complements in a room, on a canvass, or in a garden planting, and watch each color take on new life!

Yellow ~ Purple

Red ~ Green

Blue ~ Orange

Even when sets of complements are toned down, or made less bright,  they will set each other off when placed next to each other.

In fact, one way to subdue, “neutralize”, or gray down a color is to add some of its complement to it, thus lowering its level of intensity and saturation.

On the ceiling below, a semi-transparent rusty-orange-is layered over complement cerulean blue, subduing the intensity of the blue in areas. The coppery-orange of the stencil design is more opaque (paint, as opposed the more sheer glaze medium), thus mixes less with the blue below it, and stands out in greater contrast to its blue background.

Color can have a tremendous effect on our psychology, and emotional lives. In October we talked about how painting a kitchen’s dark, light-absorbing wood a golden-ochre color changed the life of its inhabitant.  A testament to the power of color, the homeowner declared, “The final outcome of the project was transformational. What had been a dark and brooding kitchen area became a light and inviting space that perfectly wove into the accent colors already in place. The end product created a welcoming environment.”


Illustrating the symbiotic relationship of light and color, we discussed how color on a ceiling can look very different then the same hue on a wall, depending on how the light hits and is absorbed by each surface. This concept is discussed beautifully in the book Color and Light: Luminous Atmospheres for Painted Rooms., by artists and colorists Donald Kauffman and Taffy Dahl.

Although in many places, November is a bit too cold to do exterior projects, during Thanksgiving month we shared about how to deal with choosing colors for exterior surfaces that are constantly shifting hue in the changing light outdoors.

One way is to observe the surface you are trying to match, or work with, such as a patio’s expanse of multi-colored Mexican tile, determine which color stands out as the most dominant, and base your treatment on that hue. We shared, and laughed about, a helpful simple trick when doing this: if you wear glasses, take them off!  You may find that you can see the fields or areas of colors you are trying to work with more clearly, without the distraction of “clear” vision! (And, make sure you aren’t wearing your sunglasses when observing, planning, and choosing colors for your project!)

We chatted a bit about the challenges of changing paint formulas, as Benjamin Moore and other vendors create a whole new set of more environmentally friendly color specs that don’t necessarily exactly match the old!

Anyone specifying color will be affected by this, and though we all appreciate our vendor’s attempts to “green” their products, we caution you to be prepared for some confusion in the interim, and apprise your Clients accordingly!  I have been told that the old Benjamin Moore color specs will continue to be sold while supplies last…then it’s out with the old, and in with the new!

Remember, any change, even the most exciting and positive, can create a bit of stress, as our senses, hearts, minds and souls take their own time to make the necessary adjustments.

Finally, we completed our discussion with a toe dip into the intriguing concept of Synethesia, or “Unity of the Senses”.   As states Frank L. Mahnke, President of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, “Colors may evoke associations with odor and taste, appear heavy or light, give tactile impressions, be associated with sound, have volume, and temperature associations.”


We look forward to delving deeper into this fascinating material in further Color Muze segments!

What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”

What Color-Full journeys have YOU taken lately?

If you feel so inspired, share them with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all journeying though this thing called Life, together.




Ready, Set, GO, ARTISSIMA!

Artifactory  Studio, Decorative Painting, Faux Finishing and Murals

Artissima

The Blog of ArtiFactory Studio

First official WordPress blog post…entering this brave new world of blogging.

Welcome to the fledgling blog of ArtiFactory Studio: “Artissima“: a platform to offer information, ideas and inspiration through the medium of Decorative Painting, I look forward to sharing with YOU: fellow artists, creative entrepreneurs, small business people, and the world in general.

“Artissima” is in the process of development. Please stay tuned as the ArtiFactory Studio team becomes educated about this process! We are looking forward to a wonderful collaboration with graphic designer Dianna Jacobsen of Jacobsen Design.

I am honored to have the opportunity to play the “Color Muze” for Artistically Speaking Radio, hosted by Rebecca Parsons and Lyna Farkus on Blog Talk Radio. Starting May 23rd, I will be sharing color tips geared to the decorative painter, faux finisher and muralist each third Sunday of the month, at 7:15 pm, EST (4:15pm PST!!!) Join us! To listen: www.blogtalkradio.com/artisticallyspeaking

ArtiFactory Studio was thrilled to be interviewed by Carolyn Edlund, the owner and author of“Artsy Shark” a blog for emerging artists. Our hope is that the interview will support developing “artrepreneurs”.   Please share with us:   part one, and  part two

From the digital presses: New Bay Area Women’s Journal Article on the best place for Decorative Painting. Hint: EVERYWHERE!

The Bay Area Women’s Journal (“BAWJ”) is an easy to read online publication by, for and about not only women, but also men that inspire, encourage, and educate us to live our own best lives. The BAWJ has launched a Subscription Campaign for 2010. For every person who signs up to receive the BAWJ via e-mail, the BAWJ will donate a can of food to the SF Food Bank. So if you haven’t already,please sign up to receive the BAWJ via e-mail.  You can do that here  www.bayareawj.com/subscribe and of course if you feel inclined, please invite your friends etc. to sign up! Check it out! The official launch of the new digital San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Journal magazine! PREPARE TO BE INSPIRED!

Further BAWJ articles exploring the art and business of Decorative Painting:

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-brushing-up-on-the-tools-of-the-trade/

http://www.bayareawj.com/the-fun-and-function-of-fabulous-faux-finishes-wood/

http://www.bayareawj.com/faux-finishing-get-the-look-of-marble-and-stone/

http://www.bayareawj.com/faux-painting-the-fun-and-function-of-fabulous-verdigris/

http://www.bayareawj.com/faux-finishing-the-fun-and-function-of-fabulous-faux/

http://www.bayareawj.com/inspire-your-best-life-with-the-magic-of-decorative-painting-2/

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-the-skys-the-limit-the-ceiling-that-is/

http://www.bayareawj.com/holiday-glow-the-glimmer-glamour-and-glow-of-decorative-painting/

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-childrens-rooms-transformed-into-fun-and-learning/

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-childrens-creativity-corner-blackboard-gymboree/

http://www.bayareawj.com/business-branding-it-takes-a-village-to-paint-a-logo/

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-innovative-colloboration-delivers-unique-one-of-a-kind-results/

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-the-fine-art-of-client-collaboration/

http://www.bayareawj.com/celebrate-life-events-with-decorative-painting/

http://www.bayareawj.com/what-is-the-best-place-space-surface-or-location-for-decorative-painting/

Contributing to Our Communities: Decorative Painters Work Their Magic

:http://www.bayareawj.com/paint-brush-in-hand-decorative-painters-transform-our-world-one-wall-at-a-time/

http://www.bayareawj.com/decorative-painting-creating-our-paradise/

http://www.bayareawj.com/the-magic-of-decorative-painting

You Should Know About: Cre8tive Compass website, magazine, and radio show!
Cre8tive Compass is a decorative artists’ online magazine and community, and a
marvelous resource for finishers, muralists, and artists/artisans of all kinds, with a special focus on the business of art..

I was honored to be interviewed by Rebecca Parsons and Lyna Farkas of Artistically Speaking Radio on March 7, 2010. I hope that the art and business ideas we discussed will be of support to YOU! Other ASR shows may also be of interest.

Please share the recent newsletter of the talented web/graphic designer, Dianna Jacobsen, in which she gives us a peak into her design process through an interview with me about the development of ArtiFactory Studio’s graphic business identity.

For the latest ArtiFactory Studio news, updates and shares, please visit My Facebook Profile. Join my GRATiTUDES project on TWITTER.  I love to share with you- not only my own work, tips and process, but those of my friends, associates, and colleagues as well!

Let us share the wealth, of our hearts, minds, skills, and experience…and the gifts of our creative imaginations.

Artifactory Studio on Facebook Artifactory Studio on Twitter Artifactory Studio on LinkedIn

I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. Please stay tuned, and check back!