In artwork that contains color, does that color define it? Imagine Starry Night without its vibrant yellow moon or deep blue sky. Imagine A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte without its sunlit green grass or orange parasols. The artists’ process of meticulous deliberation to find those perfect balances is what brings about the memorable hues that trademark each masterpiece.
Just as one needs an eye for great composition and perspective, an understanding of color theory is one of the bare-bones necessitates for creating art. Recognizing the way in which primary and secondary colors react with one other and which colors compliment each other allows an artist to convey not only an image, but the proper mood and tone of each piece. As an added perk, knowledge of color theory is valuable beyond of the work too. Daily decisions as basic as choosing furniture to match a wall color require the same basic understanding.
Some art relies heavily on color to achieve its disposition. Take Sam Freek’s contemporary abstracts for example. The pieces are a mixture of loud and understated at the same time, all with one gripping factor in common: the focused color. When in need of a piece that not only resides in a room, but is the room, bold color choices shout for attention.
Other work completely negates the need for color. When looking at Ansel Adam’s famed photographic landscapes, the compositions are so expertly crafted and the values so perfectly balanced, that to imagine them in color would be quite visually taxing. They would feel overloaded with a facet that would completely alter their poise.
It is fascinating too to consider that the color we so deeply attach to our favorite artwork might not even appear the same to everyone who views it. For those who are colorblind, even slightly, they will have an entirely different experience with the very same art. A quick Google search will show side-by-side comparisons of how colorblind individuals see the well-known pieces we all know and love. With nearly one tenth of men being colorblind or color deficient, often even the artists themselves, one has to wonder if we, the viewer, are even seeing what the artist meant for us to see.
Color in art allows us to express our awn aesthetic preferences. Finding that perfect piece that ties the whole room together makes a statement about the colors that are meaningful and personal in our lives. Color psychology explores the way in which our favorite colors describe a great deal regarding our personalities. They illustrate our character. Putting their own favorite color preferences to use, the artist leaves a bit of their own character in every stroke.