About Art and Craft

The World of Colors: Usage

We can attribute specific spheres of activity and characteristics to the pairs of complementary colors, described in the preceding article the world of colors: effects.

The brain axis between Blue and Yellow

Being in a yellow room, one will probably feel quite clear in the head and positive. Yellow stands for openness, easiness, generosity, information and communication. Yellow brings ideas and movement into anything. Yellow is the lightness color of the color circle. As mentioned before: the effect of a color leans toward it’s opposite after a period of time. The complementary color to yellow is dark blue to blue violet. These colors are dark, heavy, rational, logical, calm and collected, introverted and pensive.

The longer one spends time in a yellow room, the more evident the complementary effect becomes. At some point the sensational effect from yellow becomes hardly noticeable. The solution to this dilemma lies in mixing and connecting the two complementary colors. Although opposite each other on the color wheel they both stimulate thinking. Blue encourages logical thinking while yellow activates the creative process of thinking. This axis between yellow and dark blue could be called a brain axis between light and heavy, dark and light, lighthearted and serious, chaotic and structured. When used in combination with each other the best side of each color surfaces

Exchange levels of action between Red and Green

Horizontally positioned to the blue and yellow axis are the colors red and green, the axis of balance. A black and white photo of the color wheel will depict red and green as the same gray tone, approximately fifty percent black – exactly the middle average gray tone. People that have color blindness cannot tell the colors red and green apart. Statistically this is the case for five percent of the population.

The symbolic meanings of red and green are in the field of acting and emotions. Red is the color of activity and dynamism, it is targeted and energetic. Red is the color of exchange and energetic drive. On an emotional level red stands for strong feelings such as love, hate and anger. Green at the opposing pole stands passively for conciliation and receptiveness. Green allows and stays relaxed in the background and takes effect more in the unconsciousness. This does not mean that it doesn’t contain a power, it symbolizes actually the wisdom of „power lies in stillness“, just like the plant world, slowly steadily growing in strength. The combination of both colors reduces the negative of either, (too powerful or lethargic), and helps to create a productive lively exchange, physically and emotionally.

The three dimensional space between Orange and Cyan

On the diagonal axis of the color wheel there is orange and cyan (turquoise blue). Orange is a mixture of yellow and red and therefore combines the lightness of yellow and the storm and urges of red. Orange is the most excitable, energetic and warmest of colors. Too much of it can create an aggressive loud and agitated effect, in small doses orange can be inspiring and stimulating. Opposite to orange is cyan, the coldest color we know. Lying between dark blue and green it’s expression is one of quietness, soberness, order, immobility and abstraction. 

Both colors deal with structure, space, dynamism and movement and are partly responsible for the Doppler-effect (shift in light frequencies from one color to another). With this effect we can become aware of the expansiveness of the universe. In simple terms: expanding objects in space get an orange-red shadow and contracting objects get a cyan colored shadow. Orange is the fastest color that meets the eye. Orange springs forward, cyan disappears into the distance, like distant hills in the landscape, blue and paler. Cyan defines distant space, no wonder we find this color in the sky! The combination of these colors gives rise to a balanced dynamic in the here and now .

The sensation between violet and yellow-green

The fourth color pair is purple and light green. Violet lies between a dark blue and an active lively red, it refers to spiritual, philosophical and transcendental themes. There is a good reason why priests, witches, magicians all clothe themselves in this color. Complementary to violet on the color wheel is light green. In light green there is the combination of the happy, creative light side of yellow and the passive balanced still side of green. No other color  as this green, represents so appropriately joyful, sprouting carefree life. The theme of this axis light green and violet is one of looking for the meaning of life, and the emotional state connected to this. Melancholy and sorrow in violet balances out with the health and cheerfulness of light green. The power lies in the combination where the lightness of being and profound knowledge work together.

One could fill a whole library with information about colors; color theory, the optics of color, color symbolism, color contrasts and color styles. I hope this general review may have aroused your interest.