Colour Creates the Mood

This post written by Resident Artist - Dorothy Berry-Lound

Dorothy is 1stAngel Arts Magazine’s Resident Artist – April 2015
View Her Details

Have a look around the room you are sitting in.  What is the predominant colour in this room?  Take account of not just the colour in the walls but also the soft furnishings and the artwork.  What is the dominant colour or colours?  Why did you choose those colours?  Are they your favourite colours or do you have them because they make you feel good, happy or relaxed?  Do you like the colour? If not what colour would you like?

Nuts and Bolts copyright
Nuts and Bolts

We make colour choices all the time, often subconsciously.   Using colour wisely and creating harmony is about having colours put together in a way that is pleasing to look at, engages the viewer and creates within them a sense of order and balance.  There are two extremes to this of course.  At one end of the scale a colour combination or presentation can be so bland that people can’t be bothered to look at it because it is so boring.  Think grey walls with nothing on them and the vast nothingness of many hospital wards.  At the other end the combination could be so ‘out there’ and chaotic that people can’t stand to look at it.  The human brain will reject under-stimulation as well as anything it can’t understand or organise.

My immediate thought when I was writing this was remembering an old friend of mine who always wore clashing colours – stood out in a crowd but for all the wrong reasons.   I also once watched a ‘home makeover’ programme where neighbours were given the task of redecorating one room in another neighbour’s house.  I watched with growing horror as one couple set about redecorating a dining room.  They had lots of good ideas and some of the individual things they did were lovely but when it was all put together it was too busy with colour clashes and black walls and I couldn’t imagine sitting in that room very long, let alone having a meal.  It was telling that at the ‘grand reveal’ at the end the original owner opened her eyes and burst into tears of horror.  Apparently the room was redecorated two days later!

The art we produce contributes in no small measure to the mood and feel of a room and therefore affects the people and animals that use it.  So does the soft furnishings, the throw blankets, throw pillows/cushions, duvet covers, etc – they all play a part in creating the mood for the room.

From the Flower Border
From the Flower Border

Let’s take a bedroom for example.  If we are creating art for the bedroom how can we apply the colours to create harmony and enhance the mood of that room?  The first thing is the choice of colours and if we want the people to sleep at night we should avoid using to excess red, orange and yellow because they are stimulating.  Red raises your energy levels, orange stimulates your creativity and yellow stimulates your mental activity, not good recipes for going to sleep.  Good bedroom colours include indigo which creates a sedative affect and slows us down and green which is calming. Pale violet is a great colour as it is calming and relaxing, pink dissolves anger and encourages unconditional love so is also good for a bedroom.  Imagine a bedroom colour scheme based on blues, greens and violets with splashes of pink and perhaps peach to provide some warmth and you will be close to a recipe to contribute towards a good night’s sleep.

The stimulating colours of red, orange and yellow can be used to good effect at home, school and in the office.

Red is best used in a room with a lot of activity and is good in an office or communal stairway, for example, as it stops people gathering to chat.  Red behaves in different ways according to the colours it is placed with; it is very dominant against a black background compared to an orange background for example.  This is because black enhances the energy of the red (and any other colour you put it with).   Red shapes can look larger on certain colour backgrounds so overuse of red in a room can make it feel claustrophobic.  However, used well red can make a space feel cosy and warm.

Orange stimulates creativity and is bright and cheerful so is great for family kitchens and play rooms.  Red and orange are good in a café as they stop people sitting and lingering over their coffee (have a look around next time you are in one of the coffee bar chains – what colour is on the wall?).

Yellow helps you stay alert and stimulates mental activity so it is good for activity rooms such as classrooms and social areas. If you have a dark room that gets little sunlight, having yellow in the décor will help compensate for the lack of light and make the room more cheerful. Yellow is used in colour therapy to treat depression but as with most colours, too much yellow can be overwhelming (it can cause hyperactivity) so it can be balanced with touches of blue.

Variations on a Poppy Field

Variations of the three warm colours can be used in north facing rooms, usually the colder rooms in the house, as the combination will create a calming atmosphere.  You would not decorate these rooms primarily with the colder colours like blue.

Whilst all of this might not matter when we are creating art in general, these are all important points to note when involved in interior design where a holistic healing approach is very much in vogue and in the creation of healing art, the subject of the next article.

New Artwork by Dorothy Berry-Lound

New Artwork by Dorothy Berry-Lound

Poster and leaflet design for 'My Paciano - Il Mio Paciano' Exhibition 30 October 2016 - 6 January 2017 
Beautiful White Swan Echincaea raise theirs heads above the others on their tall stems. Their central cone is turning orange and is what gives them their name as the word Echinacea comes from the Greek word 'echinos', meaning hedgehog, which is a re... 
A tan horse with a white blaze stands apart from her companion as she lowers her head to graze, perhaps as she is pregnant and would like some time to herself. The heat of the day has gone and the coolness of evening is beginning to come through the ... 
A black and white focusing on the connection, the love between a man and his black dog. 
The young cat is transfixed by a lizard on the wall which is just outside the shot. The focus is on the cat, sitting with perked up ears, staring intently at her prey but probably with little chance of getting it! This photograph has been given a sep... 
The young cat stares seriously at the camera as she lays down in front of a pot of succulents in the garden. With the black and white effect, her eyes look like they have been edged with black eye liner. She is cute even in black and white. 
The cat and dog, now firm best friends, are so comfortable with each other that the cat allows the dog to use her for a pillow. As the dog is fast asleep, the cat lays watching the world passing by, ready to wake him up for action if needed. 
The two black rescue dogs can't believe their luck having a comfortable sofa to themselves - well okay, shared with their feline sister who is washing in the background. But definitely furry guys only need apply to sit here. 
The little grey cat turns her head towards the light so that the camera catches her best profile. The soft lighting highlights her beautiful amber eyes and orange nose. 
A colourful floral display of double headed Kalanchoe flowers. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is also known as 'Flaming Katy' and this image brings out the oranges and reds of the plants to enhance the pink the more fiery colours which go well with the name... 
The little grey cat lays comfortably on a chair gazing in front of her, queen of all she surveys. It makes a change for her to be able to sit on the chair as it is normally occupied by her doggy brothers as you can see from the dog hairs. Stevie Mous... 
A distant view of San Fatucchio half way up the image rising up to Castiglione del Lago with the distinctive fortress (rocca) standing proud over the lake. Lago Trasimeno is south of the river Po and north of the nearby river Tiber and is the fourth ... 
A view down the valley to Castiglione del Lago, with its fortress looking out over Lago Trasimeno and on the other side of the lake Passignano sul Trasimeno. As well as a road route around the outside of the lake there is a ferry service between the ... 
Isola Polvese is the largest of three islands on Lago Trasimeno in Central Italy. It is a nature reserve and is reached by ferry. At one stage it was occupied by the Romans. A monastery was built there in 1482 but was later abandoned. In 1643 the tro... 
A back street in Tavernelle, Umbria, Italy and your eye is drawn to two old buildings that seem unoccupied but have matching archways at the front of each building, three on each. They look like they were once used as warehouse storage.