Creative Woman Newsletter
Color Your World
Color stimulates our senses and evokes emotional responses. Did you know that your eye transmits about 20 percent of visual information (like colors) to the pituitary gland? As a result, certain colors release hormones and cause physical changes to your breathing rate, pulse rate and blood pressure.
Since colors around us can affect our moods, it's an important aspect to consider as we decorate our homes, shop for clothes and accessories, and craft.
You may be drawn to certain colors because of events or objects associated with them. If you like blue, it might be because your childhood bedroom was blue, your father had blue eyes, or your mother often wore blue. Blue is a popular color because people associate it with clear skies and clean water.
If wearing a certain color always results in compliments, it will tend to make you feel good and will probably be one of your favorites. Traditions and culture can also influence our response to color. The color red may be a warning sign in the United States, but in China, it represents good luck.
Reds, oranges and yellows are stimulating colors that can encourage socialization in a kitchen. However, they wouldn't be very relaxing in a bedroom where cool colors like blue, lavender and gray might be better choices. Crocheting a red baby toy might be great, but a red quilt for a child's bed may keep the child awake at nap time.
The way colors are combined also contributes to an overall feeling or mood. This brings us to the color wheel. Understanding general color positions on the wheel, and how to combine them, will help you create the mood you desire. Let's refresh our memories on the color wheel and how it works.
The color wheel is divided into 12 basic sections. The three primary colors -- red, yellow and blue -- are evenly spaced around the wheel. All the other colors are made by combining the three primary colors in varying amounts. Between red and yellow are three colors made by combining those two. Red-orange falls closest to red, orange is in the middle since it combines equal amounts of red and yellow, and yellow-orange is next to yellow since it is made of more yellow than red. Red-orange and yellow-orange are referred to as tertiary colors, and orange is a secondary color, as are green (equal combination of yellow and blue) and purple (equal combination of blue and red).
Any three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel (like the red-orange, orange and yellow-orange in the previous example) are referred to as analogous colors. Two colors that are across from each other on the color wheel are called complementary colors. Blue-green is a complement to red-orange. Complementary colors make each other appear more vibrant and demand our attention. As a result, complementary colors should be used sparingly to avoid drawing the eye in too many directions.
Double complementary colors combine two colors from the color wheel with both of their complements from the opposite side of the wheel. An example of this is red-orange, orange, blue-green (opposite red-orange) and blue (opposite orange).
Split complementary colors include a color and the color on each side of its complement. Blue and green are split complements to red-orange because they are on each side of its complement, blue-green.
Of course, the number of pleasing combinations is practically endless since our eye can see a range of several million colors! Besides thinking about the color wheel, where can we go for color inspiration? I like to look at gardens, birds and butterflies for natural color combinations. Stores are a great source of inspiration. Look around the store and see what colors are emphasized. What is the mood in the store? Those colors would most likely evoke the same mood in your home or craft project.
Craft stores are a wonderful source of color inspiration. Try looking in an area that you aren't normally drawn to. Since I usually work with paper, fabrics and yarn often give me ideas for unique combinations I don't see in printed papers. Paint stores are also full of color inspiration. I love to look at the paint chips and brochures for ideas on combining colors.
Websites such as Pinterest and Etsy are great sources of color inspiration. Colorcombos.com allows you to choose one of their color tags and search their library for combos including that color. Search around and I'm sure you'll find more sites that offer color combinations.
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