Color communicates. Any color expert, designer or artist will agree with that statement. But ask those creative types what exactly a color is communicating and the answers you get may have surprisingly little in common. Here's why: Color is a language that continually evolves with the cultures that contribute the shades and tones of meaning each of us sees. And, each individual brings their personal biases and perceptions to the mix, further complicating things. Consequently, the meaning of a color is a moving target.
I've been thinking a lot about color and culture, and have been exploring that theme in my fine art for many years. The landscape around us effects how we perceive color. This week I painted this silk scarf directly from the inspiration of some recent travels.
One of the unexpected changes that can happen to the aging eye includes the color yellow. For some people the lens of the eye becomes increasingly dense and more yellow with age. With that change, contrast sensitivity declines and dark colors can be difficult to distinguish from each other.
The yellowing effect may not be affecting you personally, but if you are a retailer or manufacturer selling products, how your products are being perceived by the older customer with this condition affects your sales.
Have you every noticed that a color can feel heavy (even if it's a light color)? Or tight, or smooth, or have a flavor? If the colors you see register as tastes, sounds or physical sensations, then you might have synesthesia. When I walk through a client's home, the colors, shapes and textures speak to me kinesthetically as well as visually. And sometimes I get the sensation of a taste or sound, depending upon how the colors in the room interact. I never gave much thought to this ability until I read Ramachandran and Hubbard's work. Then a way of experiencing the world that I had considered a personal idiosyncrasy was suddenly something with a name that I now know is experienced by others.
Visualize "fire engine red" and the color red rushes to mind with or without a vision of the wheels. Seeing color is such a natural condition that we often don't question why we see colors and we presume that everybody sees the same colors. Though most of us do see the same colors, some people can't.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the beauties and gifts the heritage of Hispanic culture as well as to acknowledge the mosaic of cultures that make up all of the U.S. The irony for me being an acculturated Latina born in Los Angeles is that I know that though Anglos from many cultures have representative crafts saturated with color, like Polish paper-cuts or Scandinavian tole painting, American Anglos will often focus on the colorful aspects of Mexican American visual culture while ignoring most of the subtle colors that are part of the same mix. To this day, there are no Latina visual artists licensing their decor lines at the supported level of acceptance any of the above Anglo artists have achieved.
Have you ever painted your house and when it was done, wondered why the paint job didn't look as good as you thought it would? Changing paint colors doesn't have to be a complete re-do. With a few strategic changes of color you can get the look and pizzaz you want by changing only the colors or areas that make the most difference, rather than repaint the entire exterior of your home.
Have you ever found yourself looking at two or more house paint colors or other home decor colored items and been completely confused as to which paint color is the best choice? Cristina Acosta says that you need to be aware that every color in your home links to another color and is part of an overall melody line of color. Keep that concept in mind when you get stuck between two color choices.