Category Archives: psychology of color

Red Artwork is Worth Fortunes

 

The color red is loud. It makes statements and sends signals. But the impact it has on the world of contemporary art goes beyond trendsetting. People are trading their fortunes for predominately red artwork.

At a recent auction, Sotheby’s in London recognized a shocking trend: five of the six highest-selling masterpieces were mostly red.

Forbes contributor Danielle Rahm points out that this sale took place right before Valentine’s Day. However, it is hard to believe the romantic holiday could drum up the prices of red artwork to nearly 30 million dollars.

Alex Brancik head of Contemporary Art for Sotheby’s in London sheds light on this expensive trend. “Red is a color that incites passion. It’s the color of the sunset, it’s the color of blood,” he says. “When we’re pricing things we’re aware of the power of red.”

Putting feelings of romance and passion aside, what encouraged the buyer of Sotheby’s recent high seller (Wand by Gerhard Richter) to spend 28.7 million dollars on the piece? New sales numbers show that increased value of contemporary artwork infused with the color red may depend less on Valentine’s Day or emotional influences and more on the buyer’s cultural heritage.

Affluent Cultures Embrace the Color Red

To be more specific, affluent cultures may be the reason why certain pieces of contemporary art are selling high.

Countries all over the world embrace the color red. A number of these nations are located in Asia. In China, for instance, red is synonymous with luck and joy. In addition, on special occasions, Chinese nationals extend their cultural roots by offering a monetary gift known as a “red envelope.”

Considering the positive message red sends, it is understandable why red artwork may be appealing to people who live in China. In fact, Christie’s auction house reported that “…one in three of its customers were new in 2013, many of whom came from emerging markets such as China,” and “Sotheby’s estimates that China now accounts for $14 billion of the $58 billion global art market.” Sales reports go onto claim that there was a 36 percent increase of art sales in Asia and the Middle East. Another interesting fact shows the rate at which European’s purchase art dropped by 12 percent while the Americas, Hong Kong and Dubai all increased their fine art spending.

Nevertheless, China is viewed as playing a prominent role in the current health of the contemporary art market. An Associated Press article claims that China is “one reason the art market has rebounded from the global financial crisis of 2008.” People with new affluence in China are collecting contemporary artwork and may be encouraging art trends more than any color could alone.

While red has proven emotional draws and psychological intrigue, some wonder if growing affluence in China is the reason why red artwork is worth a fortune.

Read more Segmation blog posts about red artwork:

The Color Red and its Many Meanings

A Closer Look at the Color Red

Red and Green are an Unlikely Pair

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Colors Red and Purple: A History of Emotion

Metro station in Paris at night. The Metro is the rapid transit metro system in Paris. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The Metro network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km (133 mi) in length. There are 300 stations (384 stops), of which 62 facilitate transfer to another line. Paris has one of the densest metro networks in the world, with 245 stations within 86.9 km2 (34 sq mi) of the City of Paris. Lines are numbered 1 to 14.Have you recently had a conversation about how color invokes emotion? It’s no surprise if you have. Colors are a big deal to us!

Magazines are just one place we see how colors invoke emotion. With each turn of the page, strategic color schemes draw our eyes to title lines; fashion trends send bold signals that trigger thoughts of new clothes; photographs of paradise remind us to long for tranquility, even between the hours of 9 and 5.

How did color and emotion come to go hand in hand? Let’s take a closer look at the history of colors red and purple, to see if we can discover when color symbolism began.

Red

Do any emotional descriptions come to mind when you think of the color red? Love, anger and violent are all words descriptive of emotions and they are all words associated with the color red.

Historically, red was used by the Greeks as a symbol of heroism. Christians have used red as a symbolic color within the crucifixion. Over time, these symbolic uses of the color have formed current perception of red and how it has very specific emotional representations.

Interestingly, the color red focuses behind the retina. This makes the lenses of the eye convex, which makes us see red areas as if they are moving forward. These scientific aspects might also be a contributing factor to our concepts of red.

Purple

Purple is a color that is rarely found in nature. Historically, many people probably never saw a purple flower or a purple colored fish. Even those who could create purple dye found the process extensive and thus, purple colored garments were reserved for only the privileged. These historical factors have contributed to the color purple being associated with a supernatural feel.

Biologically, purples are the hardest colors for the eye to distinguish. It is now known that this color is the most visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy, which is another reason why shades of purple tend to be associated with the divine, the unearthly, and the cosmic and invoke otherworldly emotions.

Next time you find yourself examining a photo or a painting, take a moment to consider how color has been used. Do certain colors draw your eye? Can you detect some of the color symbolism discussed here? Do the color collections invoke emotion?

Image made available by Marian Kraus at www.mariankrausphotography.com

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Colors Change What is Beautiful

What is beautiful? The term is a bit subjective, don’t you think? After all, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

It most certainly is, but one undeniable quality about color is its ability to make all things beautiful!

This is why color-field painting, with its abstract merging of vivid colors, is responsible for some beautiful works of art.  In this post we will look at how color-field painting evokes emotions and has the ability to change an environment.

By now we know how color impacts art and also stirs emotion in people. Recent posts discuss color therapy, known as chromotherapy and the psychology of color, offering insight into how color can impact an individual.  As artists, we know the emotional impact art can have on us. Vivid colors can stir emotions and hold an observers heart once they pass.

Sometimes, color makes beautiful what was not beautiful before. This is the case of color-field painting; color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale change a blank canvas into a brilliant work of art.

This style of art is very abstract and those who are best known for its development are considered Abstract Expressionists.  Color-field painting emerged in New York in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. It was a type of art inspired by European modernism and made popular by artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

What sets color-field painting apart from other types of abstract art is the artist’s regard for paint.  With the main focus being color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale, there is less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and consistent actions that create form and process.  In fact, the entire work of art is created by the artist who determines what elements he or she will add to convey a sense of place, atmosphere, or environment. In other words, what makes color-field painting beautiful, is its subjectivity.

Like most art, the beauty of color-field painting is in the eye of the beholder.  These colorful pieces are nice accents for decoration and fun to paint too! But don’t let the look of simplicity fool you.  This style is not easy to perfect and contrary to how it appears, cannot be replicated by a 6 year old!

Have you splashed your art palette with color today?  Try it and see how color changes what you see as beautiful.

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The Psychology of Color

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Color affects more than just the way things look – it also changes the way we perceive objects by affecting our mood and emotions. Altering the color of an item in a painting might seem like a trivial detail, but it can dramatically impact the way viewers will assess and interpret an object’s meaning.

Psychologists have studied the effects that different colors have on the human mind, and have noted significant differences in how people react to events, how they speak, and even how they score on tests when exposed to different hues.

In chromotherapy, the science of healing through color, each shade is believed to have a specific impact on mood:

• Red is invigorating and may evoke either warmth or anger
• Orange is energizing and inspires creativity
• Yellow has been shown to stimulate the mind
• Green is soothing and calming
• Blue is calming and spiritual
• Indigo is soothing and promotes introspection
• Violet is uplifting and spiritual
• Pink is warm and soothing
• White is uplifting but stark
• Black is grounding and introspective
• Silver and grey are calming

For your next project, consider the impact that your chosen colors will have on viewers. You may be surprised at the difference a red coat or a blue coat, a yellow flower or a blue flower, can have on the impact of your work.

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The Healing Power of Color (www.segmation.com)

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As an artist, you are probably aware of the effects that different colors can have on your state of mind and emotional well-being. In fact, in a past article we discussed the psychology of color and provided an overview of how each color can impact your mood.

In this article, we’ll take a look at color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, and how you can apply the basic principles of chromotherapy in your art.

Color therapy involves using, or meditating upon, specific colors to help you find balance and harmony, both inner and outer. There are many forms of color therapy, such as:

  • surrounding yourself with a color that represents characteristics that you feel are lacking in your life, to achieve balance
  • immersing yourself in a color that represents characteristics, or states of being, that you aspire to
  • using colors to “cleanse” your physical body and achieve physiological harmony (such as practiced in Chinese therapy)

While color therapy was once regarded as a New Age fad, today the effects of colors on a person’s mind, body and spirit are well-documented. Even commercial paint manufacturers recognize the connection; some offer a specific range of paint colors that are designed to promote healing and wellness.

To utilize the healing power of color in your art, you can create paintings or drawings based on specific colors to bring about a certain adjustment in your (or someone else’s) mental, emotional, or physical state of being. You can use a combination of colors to evoke a certain state of mind. Experiment with different patterns and compositions and take note of how the paintings affect you.

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