Muz-ing on our Color Choices

Muz-ing on our Color Choices

Each month, usually the third Sunday of the month, at 4:15 PST, I have the honor, and the responsibility, of visiting the inspiring and informative Artistically Speaking Talk Show, brainchild of the extraordinary Rebecca E. Parsons, as the Color Muze…and then translating our colorFULL “muzes” into a monthly articles for Rebecca’s online magazine, “Cre8tive Compass“.

The bottom line is…how do we make our color choices?  Why do we choose the colors that we do…and what can help us make the most gratifying color choices for any particular purpose?

From what we take in,

to what we  live in,

to what we put on.

How does color affect us, and how can we cre8te color effects?  Are we talking paint effects, or the effect of light?  How does color make us FEEL emotionally, (what are our color associations?) or   physically (through our senses), or  spiritually, and on an energetic level?

What is actually happening in our brains when we “see” color?  And…what is up with that Color Wheel, anyway?

Analogous colors, complementary colors, warm and cool colors, tertiary colors…what do all of these terms mean, and how can YOU use color theory in Your own precious Life?

So…check us out!  Rebecca broadcasts live every Sunday night, beginning at 3:30 PST…and the Color Muze visits most third Sundays of the month, at approximately 4:15pm, PST.  You will hear marvelous and inspiring interviews with artists, entrepreneurs, crafters, bloggers and bakers, and enough bite-sized pieces of color info to make a meal!

As always…feel free to call in to the Show, make a comment here,  on the Cre8tive Compass site, or either of our Facebook pages.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all cre8ting our own rainbow of this thing called Life…together!

Brand of Colors

Brand of Colors

A recent color consultation and analysis got me thinking…about why we choose the colors that we do.  Of course we can analyze, assess from various vantage points, provide argumentation to support our choices…but really, why do we just feel like some colors  and combinations of colors are just “right” for a particular purpose, venue or view?

I think it all comes down to how a color “makes us” feel.  What emotions, and sensory reactions we have when we gaze upon that part of the light color spectrum that is NOT absorbed by the surface we are looking at.

Take green, for example, specifically the fresh, bright hue of green the Client of my marketing colleague, (who had brought me in to analyze, assess and consult on her client’s color choice, and suggest a tandem hue) was drawn to.

Some of the associations with green include Life, Growth, Nature, Springtime, Immortality, Hope, and Resurrection. Not bad for a “secondary” color!

Green “sounds” soft to shrill, “feels” smooth to damp, “tastes” and “smells”  juicy, sour, or tangy, and

can be “cooler” or “warmer”, “heavier’ or “lighter” depending on the ratio of its components,  yellow to blue.  Energetically, green relates to the “Heart Chakra“,  representing love, sympathy and  harmony, and influencing the heart, and the thymus gland.

What might one put with green, a bright, fresh green, that wouldn’t contrast with it so greatly as to change its character?  Although green and its complement red (or even pink) are a dynamic duo, unless associations of Yuletide, India, or the tension of opposites are desired…another choice must be made.

Hmm…green and orange, green and purple or violet…still too dynamic…as both of these secondaries have red in them.  Yellow would be too similar to the Client’s chosen green in warmth and temperament, containing too much of light and bright and luminous and warm.  Yellow, I felt, would  compete with the green, and not provide the contrast necessary for visual interest.

The Client’s brandmark is a penguin…ah…images of sea and sky emerge.   I ‘saw’ a Teal Blue…that would contrast with the green as a hue darker in value, and provide a coolness that would more subtly offset the bright and warm green,

Blue and green both associate with Tranquility and Peace.  They both suggest aspects of nature.  Blue relates to the Larynx Chakra.  It stands for Religious inspiration as well as creativity, language, and communication, (the Larnyx is often referred to as the “voice box”!), and it influences the Thyroid gland.

Blue “sounds” distant, or soft, it “feels” smooth, it “tastes” and “smells” odorless or fresh, to salty.  It’s perceived “weight” tends to the heavier, and more solid, it’s “temperature, to the cool.  Blue ‘s associations include nobility, contemplation,  truth, spirituality, wisdom, dignity, trustworthiness, value, calm, security, poise, reserve, sea and sky.

We can imagine then, when we put blue and green together, that the effect will be refreshing, and  “natural”,  both warm and cool,  embodying the warm, harmonious heart of love, and the inspired, creative communication of  language, symbol, and of course, color!

If You would like to know who wrote the book on color consultation and design, please investigate the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, and the writings and teachings of Frank H. Mahnke.  There is a whole world of color exploration awaiting You out there…and within!

To hear more about color choices and analysis, the how and the why, tune into my Color Muze on  Artistically Speaking Talk Show with Rebecca E. Parsons.

Give it a try…turn YOUR senses on and rock Your world, with Color!

If You feel so inclined…let us know how You do it!

Compliments of the House

Compliments of the House

Complimentary Colors = those opposite each other on the Color Wheel.

So… the compliments are opposites, yet they, “compliment” one and other…I.E.: set each other off…draw each other out, and balance each other!

Now…let’s have some complimentary fun, and celebrate these complimentary pairs.

Don’t get distracted by the green…

House Happy….

Fire and water….

Enjoy some compliments today…they are always there to inspire us, pique our interest, energize and awaken us.

Ciao!

Compliments of Artissima, and ArtiFactory Studio!

Cacophony to Calm…Compensating with Color

 Cacophony to Calm…Compensating with Color

Can color “theory” heal?   If healing means balancing, compensating, and otherwise enhancing the quality of a space, object, light source, or even our bodies, then I believe it can.

Our April 17, 2011 Color Muze  on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, “muzed” about how color can be used to adjust our perception of sound, or the lack of it, and thus balance or “heal” an environment through our sense of seeing, and its potential effect on our sense of hearing.  This is an aspect of the phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses”, as IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers-North America)  lecturer, Frank H. Mahnke, terms it.  The idea being  that our perception of color can associate with our perception of another sense, such as hearing.

Warm colors (from red to yellow-green on the color wheel), associate with loudness.


Image Source

Cool colors (from green to red-violet on the color wheel) associate with quietness.

This is reflected in our language, the way we talk about our environment, or even our feelings, in terms of color. I am not sure I have ever heard anyone refer to a quiet (or cool) red, though anything is possible!  On the contrary, I remember my mother describing feelings of anger as “Seeing red.”

By comparison, people may speak of a  quieting their emotions when they enter a room in which a “cool” blue predominates.

It is interesting to view the two together…(albeit different hues and values of red and blue).

Thus if we wish to compensate for noise problems in a space, we can add more “cooling” colors such as  blues, blue greens, perhaps even a cool blue-violet. Warm to hot colors such a saturated reds, and “hot” oranges or yellows will tend to exacerbate our sense of being in a noisy environment, which can be significant in any setting where concentration is important.

To relieve a “too-quiet” or tomb-like atmosphere in a room, and add energy, warmer (and lighter) colors may be applied, such as yellow-green, golden-yellow, reds, oranges or “hot” purples (red-violets).

It is fascinating, and fun to see the sound associations the Henrich Frieling, Director of the Institute of Color Psychology assigns to a range of colors:

Red– loud, trumpet

Pink – soft, delicate

Orange – loud, major key

Brown – dark, deep minor key

Gold-Yellow – fanfare, major key

Yellow – shrill, major key

Yellow-Green – high-pitched, minor key

Green – muffled when dull, shrill when saturated

Green-Blue – soft

Blue – distant, flute to violin

Ultramarine – dark, deep, more minor key

Violet – sad, deep, minor key

Light-Purple – weak, restrained

Crimson – powerful, stately

It really begs the question…what might a musician, singer, or music therapist have to say about this?  What about Sharry Edwards, pioneer in the study of Human BioAcoustic Biology…might she have a “color link” to her work and theories on healing the body through sound?

Perhaps a subject for another post…

Have you used color to compensate for too much noise, or not enough sound in your own or other spaces? Have you felt the effect of color healing in regards to your, or your Clients’ auditory environment?  What is YOUR experience with Synesthesia, in regards to the relationship of sight to sound, the visual to the audible?

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

Remember, we are all seeking the balance in this thing called Life, together.

Here’s wishing you healing wherever you need it most, in your Life right here, right now.  Cheers!


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.




“As the Color Turns: Considering the Color Wheel”

The full version of this article, as well as much, much more of interest to the decorative painter, and artists, entrepreneurs, and business folk of all stripes can be found in Cre8tive Compass Magazine, helmed by the inimitable Rebecca E. Parsons, artist, blogger, teacher, and creative entrepreneur extraordinaire.

As the Color Turns: Considering the Color Wheel

As decorative painters, artists, and artisans, color is one of the building blocks of what we do. We are making color decisions each and every time we paint, glaze, gild, plaster, and mix and match materials. Color plays a key role in texture, pattern, imagery, and sensibility, the tools of our trade. Consideration of the color wheel, whether it be before, during, or after we have designed, sampled and applied a treatment can yield revealing, surprising, and even fascinating findings about ourselves, our clients and customers, and the environments in which we work.

Primary Colors: Here’s to the Red,  Yellow, and Blue

The primary colors of red, yellow and blue, the components of all other hues, (excluding black and white), in the world of paint, are dynamic when placed next to each other.  Although the renditions of each may not be “pure” in the strict sense, this triad captures our attention, and draws us into a space that feels clearly defined.  As in the entryway pictured above, the blue may be textured, the red a metallic copper paint, and the yellow a multicolored glaze, but the effect is still that of three independent  hues working in dynamic harmony. The result is that of layers of color which set each other off, which draw the eye  from room to room.

Complementary Colors: The Attraction of Opposites


Complementary colors subdue one another when mixed, and, conversely, intensify one another when juxtaposed.” says Christine Pittel, in “Color and Light Luminous Atmospheres for Painted Rooms” by Donald Kauffman and Taffy Dahl. (Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. c. 1999)  The complementary duos of blue and orange, green and red, or purple and yellow, (opposite each other on the color wheel) will create vibrancy and drama, drawing attention to any space they clothe. Here several glazes in each of the two hues are manipulated over a lighter  base coat in the same color family. The combination of glazes lends depth and complexity to the surface. Juxtaposing complements creates an instant color “pop”, which can be fun, powerful, and theatrical focal point.

Analogous Colors: Hue on Hue: Energetic Intensity


Blending analogous colors (those adjacent to each other on the color wheel) across a surface can produce an energetic, yet harmonious effect. The colors work well together because they are closely related, and their combination creates  interest. An added benefit to the decorative painter is the ability to integrate glazes more seamlessly together:  being  unified by color; they are easier to blend. Keeping the base coat and glaze colors analogous will cover up a multitude of glazing issues such as seams and joins created by the overlap of wet onto drying glaze. The closer a base coat color is in hue, intensity and value to the glazes being used over it, the easier it will be for us to control the effects we wish to create.

Neutrals: Tone on Tone: Subtle Harmony


“Tone on tone” neutrals create a sense of peace, calm, and soothing harmony.  However, is any color really “neutral”?  Creams, beiges, taupes, grays and ivories actually have significant undertones of color which define them, and thus the effect they create in combination with other “neutrals”. Combining soft colors interrelated in hue and value (tone on tone) needn’t be monochromatic (based on just one hue). Their combination can also be complex, and very satisfying, offering a sense of richness and comfort. When manipulating multiple glazes over a base coat, one way to ensure integration of all colors involved is to make a glaze out of the base coat color, and use it as part of the scheme. This will create an immediate tie-in of the base coat to the glaze colors, and enable easier blending of the glazes over the surface.

Color is a powerful tool, and when we understand how the color wheel works, we can employ it to our advantage in designing and executing  finishes, applications and treatments. In addition, our color knowledge can inform how we plan, mix and manipulate our materials enabling us greater mastery and control over our processes. As we enter more deeply into the resonant world of color, we can use its magic to enhance, beautify, communicate about and transform our world, one space at a time.

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