Color Notions – False or True Or Relative?

You went to a party. So many young ladies are there. All are beautiful. You will get confused, on whom you have to put your attention because everybody is beautiful. Then suddenly another young lady entered there. You are shocked when you see her because she is very unattractive. Where everyone is beautiful, such unattractiveness among them, you could not digest. For sometime your eyes will follow her, whatever movement she makes.

It’s relativeness.
Unattractiveness  among Beauty.
Same thing happens when a beautiful girl steps into a place where every girl is average looking. This kind of feeling is evoked everywhere in our lives and nature. Everything we see is relative.

Figure 1 : Red

See this Color Red. How much attention it is getting from you? Analyse truthfully the feelings evoked in you. 

Figure 2 : Red and Green

Compare figure 1 and figure 2. See the figures one at a time. Analyse which red is more striking.

A French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school said …“Everyone knows that yellow, orange, and red suggest ideas of joy and plenty. I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will.”

Figure 3 : Liberty Leading the People is a painting by Eugène Delacroix

See how much little quantity of red he used in the entire picture space. How much attention it is getting from us! Is this not proving the theory of relativeness of a young ugly lady among beautiful girls? Or a beautiful lady among average looking ladies.

Figure 4 : Peter Bruegel the Elder’s Landscape with fall of Icarus

See another painting from 16th century artist Peter Bruegel the Elder’s -Landscape with fall of Icarus – How a small bit of Red appears dominant, surrounded by lot of Green and Earth tones.
You see how the red is appearing with more striking contrast than in Delacroix painting.
Why red here is appearing with such intensity? Because green is Uglinesscomplementary to red. Whereas Delacroix painted the entire picture space in his painting with varied brown tones and blue greys. That’s why there Red is not appearing as strikingly as in Peter Bruegel’s Painting.

These things are proving the power of color lies relative to its surroundings rather than on its own.

One painter says these words
”I like red color because it expresses excitement, energy, passion, strength, aggressiveness and danger …. ”.

What about the truthfulness of this expression?

Are we really feeling these attributes from the color of red? Or are we tuned to those notions since long? Have those notions become our beliefs? If not, why in some countries red symbolises Joy, Good luck, Happiness; In India women use it as Sindoor on their forehead as it symbolises their happiness and fortune and the same red is used as a symbol of Danger in traffic, hospitals and wars ,Red alerts, Red corner notices, Red tapeism in government offices and also used as a symbol for Shame and for many many more negative things … . so much contradiction.

I think these notions may not be true.
When we see red we feel little bit uneasy for its’ strong intensity and harshness. It effects us very deeply and will get our attention totally. Because of this reason red will be used as the symbol to get our attention. For example when we see a person in an accident first we will see his blood, due to that effect we will try to turn away our face. This is true.

Derek Jarman said – “Painters use red like spice.” This is true. That’s why in their paintings Eugène Delacroix, Peter Bruegel the Elder used red as a spice.

Not only Red, all colors are like this. Yellow symbolises light, Green symbolises nature, Blue symbolises night, water and skies like Red as blood. These are basic influences on us. Artists have to use these influences in their work depending upon their subject. At the same time they have to understand the relativeness of color.

In conclusion, Color is relative, Its’ attribute depends on surrounding colors. Once again we have to remember Delacroix words … “ I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will.” 

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