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Lets talk about the colour Blue

Lets talk about the colour Blue

Blue, one of the three primary colours would have to be one of my least favourite although a lot of people see it as a special colour and it is much admired. It has connotation sof cold and sad very much in the mind, so I only use it sparingly in my art.

My favourite colours in blue to use when painting are French ultramarine and cobalt, but it’s rare I ever use them for more than skies or water in scenic artworks.

Being a cool colour as in opposite to warm red, blue is also a calming colour. It can be strong and steadfast or light and friendly. Just as seeing red alludes to the strong emotions invoked by the colour red, ‘feeling blue’ or getting ‘the blues’ represents the extremes of the calm feelings associated with blue, i.e. sadness or depression, lack of strong (violent) emotion. As the collective colour of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming; however not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic, an engaging colour that expresses exhilaration so good to use in abstract works where passion is called for you don’t want to use red.

Some shades or the overuse of blue may come across as cold or uncaring. Blue is the least "gender specific" colour surprisingly as its often used for baby boys, as adults blue has equal appeal to both men and women.

 

So where art is concerned blue gives a feeling of distance and artists use it to show perspective.  A deep royal blue or azure conveys richness and perhaps even a touch of superiority. Dark blues like navy blue which is almost black are a bit warmer than lighter blues. Although blue is a year-round colour, pastel blues, especially along with pinks and pale yellows suggest springtime while deep blue is a colder weather colour and more likely to be associated with wintertime.

When it comes to using blue with other colours, try mixing the colour blue with green for a natural, watery palette, or add grey for understated elegance. Sky blue and robin's egg blue are considered environmentally friendly colour combinations, especially when combined with neutral light browns like tans or beige.

For nautical type artworks try using dark blue with a crisp white. You can’t go past red, white, and blue as a patriotic colour trio which is used for many countries, including the United States of America and if you use dark blue with metallic silver accents it gives it an elegantly rich appearance.

What shades of blue are there?

royal blue, sapphire blue, baby blue, sky blue, robin's egg blue, navy blue, midnight blue, slate blue, cobalt blue, cornflower blue, indigo blue, wedgewood blue, powder blue, azure blue, ultramarine blue, aquamarine blue, air-force blue, cerulean blue, turquoise, powder blue, electric blue, denim blue, lapis lazuli blue, prussian blue and periwinkle blue. You should be able to find most of these in paint colours but be aware that often they will be under different names and ranges can vary dramatically on the same name in shade quality.

Posted: Sunday 28 February 2010

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