Processing: ARTICLE ON COLOUR EXPERIENCE -OBLAK.pdf…
Title: COLOUR EXPERIENCE/PERCEPTION, (A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE & SUMMARY OF RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS)
PURPOSE: RESEARCH DOCUMENT FOR ARTISTS/DEVELOPERS WORKING WITH VISUAL ART
Colours play very important roles in our everyday lives which could range from identifying and differentiating objects, to how we describe people and also having direct impact in our lives due to one or more previous experience(s). Have you ever wondered if we see colours the same way? Are you really convinced we see the same colours just as it is? Or can my blue be your purple? How does colour affect a person’s mood? Do we all associate red color with danger or black as evil? Since time immemorial, colours have been a very important part of our lives and have influenced generally the way we see or perceive people and objects. Colours can also represent our moods and how we feel towards a particular situation. For example, I feel more comfortable putting on dark coloured clothes or those with darker and dull shades which explains why I am introverted in nature unlike extremely flashy colours such as yellow, white, lemon which are bound to draw attention in public. Visual artists attach a whole lot of importance to colours which enables them create a piece where the colour(s) used will blend with the actual images to create a sense of meaning to the art work.
Colours play a major role in helping us make meaning of our immediate environment. This curiosity made me stumble upon several research publications that answered my questions.
Going through one of his publications titled, ‘Do different people see the same colours?’, Jabulani Sikhakhane opined that the brain plays a major role in determining how different people see colours and after carefully reading through, I agreed with the authors point of view where he argued that our brain also see just like our eyes would. He continued further by stating thus;” We say we see different colours because of how our brains learn to link the signals they get from the eyes with the names of different colours”. He also cited an example of when a baby points at a ball and her father asks, “would you like to play with that green ball?”, she learns to associate the colour she’s seeing with the word “green”, and she will soon call things of a similar colour “green” as well.
Going further with my research, I observed that our tendency to identify colours is directionally proportional to the amount of light or illumination that enters our eyes which helps us interpret these colours to make more sense of the image and I decided to find out.
I went strolling with a friend and we sat down at the center of a field close by. While we chatted, I noticed the sky was much more colourful than usual. I admired how different shades of blue were circled around each other and in a bid to express my satisfaction with what I considered a perfect piece of art, I asked James to tell me what colours he could find in the sky and he mentioned royal blue with white but I saw a lighter shade of blue and orange. I needed to know if truly we see colours just the same way or they appear the same way upon sight but differently in our inner eye?
I continued my research on how colours affects our perception and how they describe an artist’s work and also if these colours can truly connect with our reality. I can state that the importance of colours in representing or explaining a piece of artwork cannot be over emphasized as it gives meaning to every form of visual art. The use of colours to represent a scene helps art collectors select the best piece that directly represents how they feel about a particular subject or someone as the case may be.
Colours can be represented in different forms to produce a finished artwork which must agree with the situation being explained therein. Take for instance, an artist who wants to make a painting that has an agricultural theme or of farmers working out in the farm, it is very much important to consider the use of colours that represents agriculture or earth which easily would be all shades of green. The reason is because the lens in our eyes has adopted green as the primary colour representing nature and earth thereby creating a sense of reality in that artwork.
COLOUR AS SYMBOL
Going further, I stumbled upon an artwork created in 1885 by Vincent Van Gogh titled, ‘The Potato Eaters’ which he created by using oil on canvas. The image below describes a peasant family who are dependent on agriculture and land for survival. I admire the earthy green and brown colours he used in this piece which truly defined and added meaning to it. The essence of this was to connect reality with our imaginations by just sighting the art work.
VINCENT VAN GOGH
The Potato Eaters, 1885 (oil on canvas)
COLOUR AS MOOD
I stumbled upon another piece of art by Pablo Picasso where he used blue to express his emotions in one of his most popular piece titled, ‘The Old Guitarist’. This artwork was inspired by the loss of his closest friend which led to his depression and decided to make a painting representing his mood. The painting was of an old man with twisted legs and a sad face holding on to a brown guitar with sad tones overwhelming the ambiance indicating the torments he was going through at that time. Blue signifies sadness and coolness which perfectly describes the reason behind its use. Understanding the use of colours to describe a situation has continued to give meaning to art and its collectors.
Colours are very important aspect of our lives and helps in the organization of events and people. The concept of colour is far more complicated than we think and the moment we begin to truly understand how colours are applicable in our everyday lives, and then we can begin to make more and better informed decisions which will be represented in our art.
Valich L. (2018). The science of seeing art and colour; University of Rochester, Monroa County, New York.
Straford T. (2012). Do we all see the same colours? ‘Science of what is happening in your brain’.
Google Inc… (2016). In Encyclopedia Britannica.
Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/colour/The-perception- of-colour