Why does colour matter?

Art for KidsI love colour! This may be obvious when you look at the GO SKETCH logo. Colour is everywhere we look. It is present in every aspect of our lives from the clothes we choose to wear in the morning to the sunset we may see just before going to bed.  

So what is colour and why is the world so colourful?

Are you ready for some science? Colour is how our brains ‘see’ a certain type of electromagnetic radiation from the sun. The light from the sun appears white, but is actually a mix of lots of different colours of light. When white light from the sun hits a surface, for instance some grass, some light is ABSORBED by the surface and some is REFLECTED.  All the colours that make up the white light are absorbed by the grass except green, which reflects away.  This is why the grass looks green!

Why do colours matter so much to us?

Rather than being a passive element of our surroundings, multiple studies, such as Ballast (2002) and others, have shown that we actually have emotional reactions to colours. For example, many of us have a favourite colour due to the positive feeling we get when seeing it and some people can even have an irrational fear or an aversion to a colour (known as chromophobia). Some people believe that our favourite colours can also say a lot about our personality type and how we think.  For example if your favourite colour is red you are said to be energetic, warm and social with a natural instinct for survival. Do you believe this?

Click here to find out what your favourite colour says about you!

There can be some similarities in the way people view certain colours. For example, red is often associated with excitement, orange can be seen to signify distress, yellow is seen to be cheerful and blue is connected with security and comfort.

Emma Burleigh (Local Bristol Artist)

Emma Burleigh (Local Bristol Artist)

How we use colour?

It is therefore no surprise that gardeners consider the impact of colour in their beautifully designed gardens, film use colour to add ambience or emotion to a scene, graphic designers choose specific colours to sell a product and new homeowners debate for days over the colour they should paint each room.

Because colour can have an emotional impact, artists also consider colour very carefully.  The colour wheel is a tool some artists use to decide which colours will work well together.  Colours next to each other are called harmonious colours which often appear together in nature and are normally pleasing to look at.  Colours opposite each other are called complementary colours.  An example would be purple and yellow.  These are completely different colours but to the human eye they work very well together as both colours appear vibrant next to each other.

Explore colour with GO SKETCH!

Jenny Urquhart (Local Bristol Artist)

Jenny Urquhart (Local Bristol Artist)

I am really interested in why we choose certain colours over others and the emotional impact that colour can have. Personally I love the colour purple as it makes me feel creative and inspired. I wonder why this is?

As a BBC Get Creative Champion for the South West, GO SKETCH are exploring colour in a free drop in arty session for all the family as part of the UK wide Get Creative Day on Saturday 2nd April in Cabot Circus. We are on a mission to encourage more children and adults to get involved with the visual arts and to find out why the people of Bristol love their favourite colour.

Colour matters because it affects how we feel. How does your favourite colour make you feel? Why do you think you are drawn to that colour?

See you in Cabot Circus on the 2nd April for some colour-tastic arty fun!

What is Bristol's favourite colour-
BBC Get Creative Day

Come and join GO SKETCH in Cabot Circus on the 2nd April to create colourful pieces of art based on your favourite colour! The 2nd April is BBC Get Creative Day with events happening all over the UK!

What colour do you think is the most popular?
What do colours mean?
How can we make colours sing in our artwork?

This event is a free community event. There is no need to book.


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