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Article written by Lina Hoffman

Color is an essential ingredient in our envirment. It communicates emotion, creates mood, and affects your energy. Color has an emotional impact that can delight you or distress you. It is almost impossible to separate the seeing of color from the "feeling of color" because so much of what you see is based on what you feel. Colors evoke both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. Your reaction to a particular color will be influenced by your personal experiences. Certain colors will remind you of certain people and events. You may associate colors with certain scents.

Vivid colors stimulate people to activity. Color has been known to increase productivity in industry, to speed recovery time in hospitals, to cause you to overeat. The passage of time can be over or underestimated depending on the color of a room. Time is perceived as moving more slowly in a red room and more quickly in a blue or green one.

Visually red represents nearness and warmth; blue distance and coolness. The eye actually sees more warm colors than it does cool. Light bright colors expand size while dark cool colors contract. Colors that get our attention the fastest are the ones at the warm end of the spectrum.

Color Preferences and Personality

Read further to discover what your color preferences tell about your personality.

Red
Like You have a zest for life. You are an achiever, competitive, daring and aggressive. Red people are exciting, and passionate. They want all life has to offer and they usually want it now! They are extroverted and often the life of the party. Since you crave so much excitement however, routine can drive you crazy. You are restless, opinionated and not very patient. While you seek out opinions of others and listen politely, you tend to do whatever you please. You are an exciting person to be with.
Dislike You dislike aggression and intensity. People who are irritable, ill, exhausted or overwhelmed with stress reject red and turn to cooler calmer colors for rest and rejuvenation You tend to be self protective.

Pink
Like Pink people are interested in the world but not as driven as red people. They are charming talented and probably romantic. Friendly and sweet with a tendency to be innocent and a little naive Pinks don't wear their emotions on their sleeves.
Dislike Few people dislike pink. If you do maybe you are looking for excitement in your life and pink is just too tame.

Yellow
Likes You are highly optimistic, original, imaginative, idealistic, creative and spiritual. You love challenge and are interested in everything. You are a reliable friend and confidant and usually have a sunny disposition. You can be egotistical but also very generous with your time and talents. Being shy, you may appear aloof to others. You can be impatient with other's ideas but you possess a great deal of empathy. Yellow people tend to be perfectionists.
Dislikes You are practical and down to earth and critical of those who are not. You are skeptical of new ideas and would rather stick to the tried and true. Guaranteed results are important to you.

Orange
Likes Orange people take on the characteristics of both yellow and red people. Lovers of this color work hard, are adventurous and enthusiastic. You are a good-natured, extroverted people person. You can be charming and agreeable. Oranges are determined and successful in business, however they tend to be fickle and don't take on commitments readily. They aren't very good housekeepers but that is unimportant to them.
Dislikes The flamboyant does not appeal to you. You are the stay at home type, a loner who prefers a few good friends to many acquaintances. You dislike show offs. When you make a friend it is usually for life.

Brown
Likes Stable and reliable and responsible, you have a keen sense of duty. Browns love comfort and simplicity, hearth and home. With a subtle sense of humor you are frugal, loyal and have strong opinions. You will work hard to correct an unfair situation. You like to be in control of your self and your surroundings. Family is important to you and you have a strong need for security and belonging.
Dislikes Novelty excites you and routine drives you to drink. You are witty and generous. You like outgoing exciting people and dislike commitments.

Beige
Like Beige people have the same characteristics as brown but not to the same extreme. You are warm and caring and appreciate quality and well made things. You opinions are middle of the road. You are well adjusted and practical.
Dislike You hate routine. You are less impulsive than a person who dislikes brown but have many of the same characteristics.

Green
Like Stable and balanced, you are a good citizen, the president of the PTA, a Girl Scout Leader. Kind, generous, meticulous, you are involved in everything. Green people are concerned with doing the right thing and like to be admired. You are loyal and caring, intelligent and easily grasp new concepts. Not a risk taker, you prefer to stick with the tried and true. You have a tendency to gossip and love food. You are at home in any social situation.
Dislike You are more likely to pull away from people than to join them. Doing what everyone else is doing holds no appeal for you, you prefer to be an individual.

Blue
Like Blue is the most universally preferred color. Blue people are cool and confident, yet vulnerable. You are trusting and form strong attachments. You are sensitive to the needs of others and aspire to harmony, serenity, patience and peace. While you are sociable you would rather stick to your own close circle of friends. Blue people are generally conservative, reliable and even-tempered. You have perfectionist tendencies that may make you demanding.
Dislike Needing to break away from sameness that bores you, you long for excitement. You may be tired of being depended on but your conscience makes you stay. Deep blues may symbolize sadness and melancholy to you. You are restless and eager for change.

Blue green
Like Neat to the point of fussiness you are always well groomed and your home immaculate. You are sensitive, sophisticated and self-assured and usually stable. Blue greens are courteous and charming and helpful to others. You like to dress up to get the attention and admiration of others.
Dislike As messy as you'd like to be, a little voice keeps telling you to clean up your room. You would like to relax more and not be so detail oriented. You prefer earthy types to fussy people.

Purple
Likes The purple person is perplexing and highly creative with a quick perception of spiritual ideas. Artists and unconventional thinkers often prefer purple. Generous and charming you are very sensitive and easily hurt. You have a tendency to be vane and moody. Purple people are easy to live with but hard to know. You can be secretive and often have conflicting traits.
Dislike You need sincerity honesty and lack of pretence in your life. You don't like to get involved unless you know what you are getting into. You usually exercise good judgement.

Lavender
Like You like to be considered different. You are quick-witted but usually not intellectual. You seek refinement in life. In your world, there is no ugliness and sordid things are ignored. Outward appearances are important to you and you have a sense of delicacy. You are sentimental, romantic, and nostalgic. You aspire to creativity and are encouraging of your artistic friends.
Dislike You have a no nonsense approach to life. You live in the present and don't keep much memorabilia around. You prefer that people be straightforward with you rather than coy. You don't like superficiality and let people know it.

Grey
Like You are neutral about life and tend to protect yourself from stress. You prefer a secure, safe, balanced life. You crave contentment but not excitement Practical and calm, compromise comes easily to you. You work hard and are conservative, composed, and reliable.
Dislike You would rather be right or wrong but never indifferent. Routine bores you and you look for a richer fuller life. This often leads you to one involvement or hobby or interest after another looking for fulfillment.

Taupe
Like Dependable, warm and caring you try not to let too much excitement into your life. You are fair, practical and diplomatic. You like classic looks in clothing and furnishings.
Dislike You are not subtle and feel the need to make definite statement in life.

Black
Like
Rarely chosen as a favorite, the person who chooses black may have many conflicting attitudes. You are conventional, conservative and serious. People who like black are worldly, sophisticated and dignified. You like to have an air of mystery about you. You are witty and clever. Personal security and prestige are important to you

Dislike You dislike mystery. You like real people and are not dazzled by celebrities or dignitaries.

White

Like Your home and clothes are usually neat and clean. A thrifty person, you are a cautious buyer and shrewd trader. You are self-sufficient, critical and fussy. You like everything to be perfect or as near to perfect as you can get it.

Dislike You have never been obsessed with order. Things that are off center are more appealing to you than things that are perfectly arranged in a line. A little dust on the shelves doesn't really bother you and you are relaxed and easy to be with.

Color and Physiology

Color effects us physically. Different colors cause reactions in our bodies and minds. Interestingly both blind and sighted subjects were equally effected by color changes.

Red is stimulating and blue calming. Bright red and yellow increase blood pressure and muscle tension. People feel warmer in a red room and cooler in a blue room of the same temperature. Blue rooms decrease blood pressure and lessen aggressive feelings. Studies have shown an increase in fertility in blue rooms.

Different values of pink have different effects on peoples emotions: light dull pinks cause calmness and decreased pulse while the deeper pinks have the opposite effect.

Orange is an appetite stimulant. Peaches brick and coral colors have a slightly less stimulating effect than bright orange. Brown also stimulates appetite especially when combined with peach or strawberry pink. Violet depresses appetite.

A Color Quiz

The purpose of this quiz is to help you examine your thoughts about color and to open yourself to new color choices.

Under Color Association, quickly write down the first thing that comes to mind. Be honest now, don't go back and change your answers! Under Reactions write like, dislike or don't know.

Color

Association

Reaction

Royal Blue

 

 

Navy

 

 

Sky Blue

 

 

Lavender

 

 

Purple

 

 

Yellow

 

 

True Orange

 

 

Peach

 

 

True Red

 

 

Soft pink

 

 

Bright Pink

 

 

Wine

 

 

Brown

 

 

Rust

 

 

Bright Green

 

 

Forest Green

 

 

Olive Green

 

 

Teal

 

 

Aqua

 

 

White

 

 

Black

 

 

Grey

 

 

Beige

 

 

Taupe

 

 


What country were you raised in?

What area of the world are your parents from?

List your favorite colors?

List the colors you dislike?

Look over your answers in the reaction column.

Total up the number of likes_______ Dislikes_______ Don't know_______ Mostly likes?

If so then you have a generally positive attitude to colors. You are enthusiastic, well-adjusted, flexible and open to new experiences. If the pattern says use blue and you don't feel like painting that area blue you have no problem changing the color.

Mostly dislikes? You tend to be conservative, opinionated, and have a hard time changing colors from the pattern. Perhaps someone criticized you in your choice of colors in art class or you were always comparing yourself to a more talented sibling.

Mostly don't know? Maybe you haven't played around with color yet or haven't given color preferences much thought. Perhaps you are indecisive in other areas of your life. Now is the time to take the plunge and experiment to find out what colors you do like. What colors do you find easiest to work with? You may wonder what it would be like to deviate from the colors someone else has chosen but you are afraid to make a mistake.

Equally divided between like, dislike and don't know? You need a little encouragement to experiment with color combinations.

Let's take a look at the Associations column. Your answers to color association can usually be explained by events in your past. If you react negatively to a certain color try to remember what happened in your past to cause that reaction. You can overcome your color prejudice by associating something a positive with that color now.

I really don't like bright yellow. This wasn't always the case. In fact as a teenager I loved it. I loved it so much in fact that I painted the walls of my room a color close to Cadmium Yellow Medium. Was it bright! Everyone who visited my room commented on the color. A year of looking at those walls and hearing those comments was enough to turn me off that color for years. To this day I can only stand yellow in small doses.

It is fun to think about the positive color associations as well. Deep burgundy is a favorite of mine. It was the color of the carpet my favorite aunt's living room. The color always makes me feel happy and warm.

What are your color memories?

Many color associations are rooted in religion or mystical symbolism. Some are derived from primitive responses to color. The following chart is what many people associate with a certain color. You can use it when you want to evoke a certain mood in your paintings.

Color

Positive

Negative

Royal Blue ,Navy

Loyalty, conservative, nautical, uniforms, service, night, rest, quiet, dependable, consoling

 

Sky Blue

Heaven, cool, wet, ice, hope, peace, serenity, new day

 

Lavender

Delicate, nostalgic

aging

Purple

Royalty, mystical, artistic

Mourning, melancholy, endurance, penitence, suffering

Yellow

Warm, friendly, sunny, cheerful, symbol of life and good, life- giving

Jaundice, cowardly

True Orange

Glowing, heat, harvest sunset

Loud, overbearing

Peach

Warm, inviting, ripe, juicy

 

True Red

Hot, fiery, passionate, energy, active, aggression, love

Rage, blood, danger, stop

Soft pink

Feminine, sweet, tender

Cloying, overly sweet

Bright Pink

Fun, attention getting

Tacky, cheap

Wine

Rich, elegant, refined

 

Brown

Earthy, dependable, secure, masculine, chocolate

Dirty, boring, decay

Rust

Autumn, sunset

Rusting, decayed

Bright Green

Clear, moist, grassy, eternal, new life, victory

Envy, inexperience, money, greed

Forest Green

Cool, refreshing, natural, restful, life giving

 

Olive Green

Natural, woodsy

Drab, illness, army

Teal

Clean, clear

 

Aqua

Cool, refreshing, ocean

weak

White

Light, cool, clean, pure, innocent, simple

Sterile, surrender

Black

Sophisticated, sexy, dignified, serious, mysterious, concealment

Ominous, depressing, death, danger, foreboding, evil

Grey

Conservative, practical, neutral, wisdom, dependable

Ghostly, somber, mousy

Beige

Warm, neutral, classical

Drab, lifeless

Taupe

Classical, practical, neutral

Drab, lifeless

Color and Ethnicity

The region of the world that our ancestors come from and the color traditions passed down through the generations influences our color preferences.

Rural Europeans prefer pure bright color.
Latinos like warm colors.
Scandinavians prefer blues.
English prefer cool colors.
African and people from the Tropics have an affinity for pure, bright, warm colors.
Russians associate red with social order and beauty.
Hindus associate red with life and joy.
In China and Bolivia red is worn at weddings to denote joy and love.

Color and Climate

We often choose colors to decorate our homes that are close in temperature to the ambient temperature of our environment.

In the US warm colors are preferred in the West, Southwest and South. Cool colors are favored in the Northwest, Midwest and East. However, color preferences do change with temperature extremes. If it is hot (over 100 degrees Celsius, most people prefer cool blues. If the temperature is in the 60s or cooler, red is the first choice.

Color is a powerful force in our lives, especially for artists. Color affects our minds and bodies; it can change our moods and feelings. Surround yourself with colors that you like. Being unhappy in your surroundings leads to frustration and even weight gain! Don't try to stifle your creativity and basic feelings about a color, you won't be able to fool yourself for long.

Till next time,
Lina

Article is written by Lina Hoffman


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