Episode#3: “Selecting Artwork Using Color”
As mentioned in Episode 1, some people buy artwork because they simply love the piece and don’t care whether it coordinates with the rest of the room. This is ok. Things don’t have to coordinate if it makes you happy. Some dissonance due to lack of color coordination can actually work effectively by drawing more attention to a favorite art piece. For other people, the whole purpose of the artwork is to coordinate everything together in the room.
Color affects us emotionally and has symbolic significances that differ by culture. There has been a lot written on the subject from psychologists and marketing experts.
Most of us have a favourite colour or prefer some colours over others. This is because we tend to surround ourselves in the colours that have a positive impact on our mood.
According to Wikipedia:
Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. However, how people are affected by different color stimuli varies from person to person.
Blue is the top choice for 35% of Americans, followed by green (16%), purple (10%) and red (9%).
A preference for blue and green may be due to a preference for certain habitats that were beneficial in the ancestral environment.
There is evidence that color preference may depend on ambient temperature. People who are cold prefer warm colors like red and yellow while people who are hot prefer cool colors like blue and green. Some research has concluded that women and men respectively prefer “warm” and “cool” colors.
A few studies have shown that cultural background has a strong influence on color preference. These studies have shown that people from the same region regardless of race will have the same color preferences.
Wassily Kandinsky was one of the first pioneers of colour theory. A renowned Russian painter and art theorist, he is often considered the founder of abstract art. Kandinsky believed the following colours communicate the following qualities:
Yellow – warm, exciting, happy
Blue – deep, peaceful, supernatural
Green – peace, stillness, nature
White – harmony, silence, cleanliness
Black – grief, dark, unknown
Red – glowing, confidence, alive
Orange – radiant, healthy, serious
When decorating with color, I suggest that you become consciously aware of how color affects you and the others that will be living or working in the space you are decorating.
Like anything else, consult with others, but your opinion counts the most since you are paying for the color choices in your space.
When the colors in the room are neutral, such as beige, white or grey, you can’t go too wrong with the color in the artwork. Neutral colors in the décor present the opportunity to make a big statement. Splashes of bold color in an abstract, for example, can be stunning in a neutral room. The contrast between an understated color scheme and a bold art piece can be very exciting and rewarding.
The challenge in selecting artwork based on color is that most people decorate with color before choosing their artwork. The color scheme has already been established for the walls, furniture, rugs and accessories. We have to find artwork that fits. Finding artwork that is the right size, has the right colors, has a compatible style and is something you really like, narrows down the options, and can seem like a near impossible task.
But all is not lost. Usually, having just one or two of the colors in the room that also appear in the artwork is enough to make it work. Trying to match colors perfectly usually doesn’t work because there is not enough contrast visually for the artwork to have any “personality” or have presence in the room.
One can make the colors coordinate between the room and the artwork better by making a color adjustment in the accessories of the room. If the artwork isn’t quite working colorwise, adding or changing some throw pillows using a color from the artwork can make a big difference. Changing or adding a vase or glass piece with a color from the artwork can help enormously.
Another solution to finding the artwork that works is to have a custom piece commissioned. Many artists take on commissions. Find an artist whose work you like at an art festival or art show. You can discuss with them what you need. If you have done your homework, you can tell the artist what size, color and style is required.
70% of my art sales for my own personal artwork come from people who cannot find the right artwork for their home. I encourage them to pick a piece that they like from my website and request any needed changes in size and color. They will give me paint color numbers or color swatches to use to customize the color palette.
In summary, artwork doesn’t always have to color coordinate. If you have a favorite piece it can work if you like how it looks. Many people use the artwork to bring together the design of the room. Having just one or two colors from the room color scheme appearing in the artwork will make it work. If it isn’t working quite right, changing or adding accessories like pillows or vases can make a huge difference. You can commission artwork from local artists or artists you’ve met at an art festival or art show. If you’ve done your homework and know what you need, you can communicate that to the artist to get the artwork that will work for you.
Have fun and start your journey in buying your artwork fearlessly and with certainty.
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