There’s no doubt that colour is a powerful tool to evoke emotions. But is it colour a two-way form of expression every time?

I mean, if you pick a colour, for example, black, does it mean necessarily that you picked it because you were depressed or because you wanted to make a ceremonial statement using it? Or you just picked it because you like it or it reminds you of your dog?

Consider for example the illustrations shown below. The first one was made being happy during the winter, the second one was made during the summer, overwhelmed by the heat, sitting next to a fan, and desperate for water.

When asked, most people associated the first illustration with being blue and the second one with feeling happy, but actually they were created expressing the opposite feelings!

Clearly, the illustrations don’t represent every time the state of mind. They are the therapy I needed, my personal art therapy. They were not intended to express anything, they were intended just for me.

With that in mind, it is clear that when you paint something, the colour you use is not necessarily associated with an emotion. (Read this for further understanding).

Just feel free to use any colour and if you want to interpret why you chose it, ask yourself what were you thinking when you picked each colour in particular.

Always take into account your personal experiences, your surroundings and your cultural background. There is a direct link between your choices and the way you were raised, there is no doubt about it.

Now, if you want to express and transmit an emotion to others remember that colours evoke specific feelings.

Also, there are certain combinations that more than being pleasant to look at, highlight your perceptions.

Here are powerful combinations you can use:

  • Complementary colours: offer vibrant look. Opposite in the colour wheel.
  • Analogous colours: serene and comfort look. Next to each other in the colour wheel.
  • Triadic colours: energetic and strong. Evenly spaced in the colour wheel.
    split complementary

Split complimentary: less tension than complementary colours. In addition to the base, add 2 adjacent colours to the complement.

So, don’t hold on to your feelings, explode and show what you feel. Either it is for yourself (choose colours with just feelings, don’t think!) or for others (consider what certain colours evoke) don’t hold on to anything.

Remember, colours are very powerful. If you want to make a statement with them use them according to the feelings they evoke, but if you don’t think about anything when you use them, let your feelings guide you.

You will be surprised by the outcome when you analyse the results later. You will discover that you expressed something you had deep inside you, and the colours used without thinking were the perfect way to evoke those emotions.

Do you think when using colours? How do you evoke your feelings?
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