Brown is a tertiary colour; it is a mix of the three subtractive primary colours, red, blue and yellow. Brown exists as a colour perception only in the presence of a brighter colour contrast like yellow, orange or red. Its a natural, down-to-earth neutral colour that can be anything from beige or tan through to deep dark rich chocolate and almost black. It is found in earth, wood, and stone, and is seen extensively in nature in both living and non-living materials. Although found in our environment year-round, brown is often considered to be an autumn and winter colour.
Brown represents an inherent earthiness and while it might be considered a little on the boring side as far as colours go, it also represents simplicity, friendliness, dependability, and health although the warm honeyed tan look we consider to look healthy is now considered bad due to the danger of too much time in the sun gaining it!
When using brown in your colour schemes, shades of beige and tan can make excellent contrasts to other colours as they appear richer, brighter against this neutral shade and that goes for decorating and even websites not just art. Use brown to convey a feeling of warmth, honesty, and wholesomeness. Shades of brown when put together with green convey an earthy feel, while very dark brown can replace black, if black appears too harsh in the composition and adds a slightly warmer tone to some palettes. You can brighten brown with yellow or try a warm rusty orange. For a smart but conservative look use brown with a mix of dark purple, green, gray, or orangey-red.
Shades of Brown include - sienna, sand, auburn, chestnut, nut-brown, cinnamon, russet, tawny, chocolate, tan, brunette, fawn, liver, mahogany, oak, bronze, terra-cotta, umber, coffee, copper.
Im not all that keen on brown myself although lately its been popping up more and more in my artwork, slowly replacing black and the bright shades I usually favour. If you’re a die hard brown fanatic you may like this thing I heard somewhere, apparently if you dream of the colour brown, it means you will be lucky with money!
So let’s finish with a quote by Winston Churchill on the colour brown - "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns."
Posted: Saturday 10 April 2010