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Project Color Theory: Potted Cacti

Here is another one of my color studies... I've been working from this set (and the previous butterfly set) quite a bit in class lately.

I think that it’s really important to consider color theory in your creative process. As highly visual creatures, color acts as an incredible informer of our experience. By harnessing the emotional, cultural, and psychological associations of different colors and color combinations we can better inform our work.  In doing so it is not merely possible, but extremely likely that we will convey more deeply and completely the messages we intend for our audience.

That being said, allow me to ponder what the above color palette signifies to me.  To begin simply, various shades of green and yellow complemented by a terracotta orange evoke the earth immediately.  The terracotta color will forever remind me of the warmth and openness of the southwestern deserts as such bright greens conjure the fresh ferns of California’s coastal forests and the succulent gardens so popular in the beach towns along Highway 1. To me these colors represent my environment- past, present, and future.

In a more academic reading we have a set of tertiary colors that are complimentary. Because green and orange are near opposite on the color wheel we can say this combination has a certain amount of tension. Tension doesn’t have the negative connotation in color theory that it does in, say, psychotherapy. Here, the term tension simply means the not completely harmonious. Orange and yellow are warm colors associated with happiness and green is a cool color associated with growth and prosperity.  If I were trying to convey a sense of isolated angst, these colors wouldn’t work very well because their combination brings a sense of comfort, home, and cultivation.  The combination of warm and cool colors also keeps the combination from feeling strictly hot or cold. In a more functional concept, that could mean the colors would be appropriate for vessels that hold either cold or hot beverages. Does that make sense? 

Do any of you pay special attention to these concepts when surfacing your work?

(original image via sproutworks on Flickr)


FetishGhost said...

We really don't talk about enough about how we use color Theory. I had to (re)take 2 semesters studying Josef Albers approach and loved every minute of it!

Adero said...

I wish I knew more about color, and how to use it effectively. I have made various studies, but it is still hard for me.
I mentioned this to a watercolorist one time, and she just shrugged, and said "I just do it."
Surface design as in motifs, patterns, etc. is kinda easy for me, and form is my fortè, but color still eludes me. I wonder why it is easier for some than others.
By the way, your new look is fantastic! Did you do the new graphics? Looking berry, berry good!

Linda Fahey said...

JLu - I love this subject! Color theory is such a DEEP well to draw from - the discussion endless - I think everyone thinks of color choices, concepts - because their brain is busy processing data all the time about the "theory" of color - I think there are those that think more cognitively about it; Sharon for example. I do think it's a great exercise to be more clear on how much or little you think about it - thank you! Great post, as usual.

Linda Fahey said...

oh, and the blog is looking so clean and spiffy - I really like the new look ;)

FetishGhost said...

Love new look too!

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