What is in a Color? The Ingredients to Color Theory and Therapy!

What is in a color?  This could relate to one of Shakespeare’s famous lines, “What is in a name?”  What matters when it comes to color are the ingredients used to create the color, and how it contributes to both a theory and a form of therapy.

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Color derived from the spectrum of light and has three components – lightness, saturation, and hue.  With these components, we get the theory of color.  The lightness is based on light vs. dark or white vs. black.  The saturation is based on the brightness vs. dullness or warmth vs. coolness of the color. Hues are what makes the color we see and name.

Color theory is the mixing of different colors and the visual impacts that occur when certain color combinations are created.  There are three types of colors – primary, secondary and the third type is tertiary colors, which are basically the in-between colors when we mix a primary and a secondary color together.  The combinations are endless!

(Every time I think of color mixing, I think of the muddy brown mess on my white piece of paper when we were finally allowed to mix all the colors together after learning about color theory in my kindergarten art class.  It was always humorous when we all thought we could magically invent our own color, even though the teacher clearly explained what would happen with all the colors were mixed together.)

It is amazing how color affects every aspect of our lives.  Color therapy, or chromotherapy as it is called, involves using color to affect different areas of the human brain.  Colors have a physical and emotional effect on a person, and also evoke memories, both positive and negative.  For example, a child’s bedroom, playroom or classroom, painted a bright yellow or orange stimulated the brain, creating a great deal of energy and curiosity.  A vacation home, bedroom, or living area, painted a soothing shade of blue, cream, or light green, creates a much more calm and thought provoking atmosphere in a different sense.

In the previous blog, I talked about how the 70s trio is returning updated and more muted.  While today our country’s economy is not at its peak performance time, to put it lightly, it’s amazing how colors have an effect on even this.  In today’s economy, we have more of a neutral outlook on colors, and it helps create a soothing environment when we go into hospitals, airports, and office environments.  Benjamin Moore’s Color Pulse 2011 is in reference to balance,  which is something we need in today’s society with everything that is currently going on around us.  Take a moment and look and see how the colors around you are affecting your mood.  Paint is one of the most economical ways to create a dramatic and immediate change in your environment and if you can’t paint the space you are in, bring in some comforting colored accessories.

Now you know how to change the negative effects of colors into positive ones and bring some balance to your life!


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