Do you hear the creaking lid? Opening the Pandora’s box of colors, I decided that RED was a good place to start in my quest to examine one color at a time.
According to Wikipedia “Red is the color at the longer-wavelengths end of the spectrum of visible light”.
I scoured the net, looking for information on the color red. Here are 50 interesting “arty” facts about the color RED that I learned in my Internet travels…
Red is the 1st colour you lose sight of at twilight. (1)
(This is something to consider if you are creating a realistic piece of artwork. Using red in a twilight piece may seem a bit off unless there is reflected lighting from a sunset.)
Bees can’t see red but can see all other bright colors. Birds, butterflies and bats usually pollinate red flowers. (1)
(Maybe they just need some rose-colored glasses, ha! Again, this fact may come into play in a realistic piece of artwork.)
Red plants in a garden attract the eye & make it feel cozier. “ Write mystery into your garden plants by combining deep reds, such as burgundy, maroon, and russet with equally dark purple & chocolate brown. Such sultry combinations create the illusion of depth & hidden distances.” – Better Homes & Garden (1)
(Not only is this good gardening advise, but it’s also good advise if you are creating artwork of a garden.)
In ancient Egypt, red was associated with life, health, and victory. Egyptians would color themselves with red ochre during celebrations. Egyptian women used red ochre as a cosmetic to redden cheeks and lips and also used henna to color their hair and paint their nails. (7)
In Venice, Titian was the master of fine reds. He used many layers of pigment mixed with a semi-transparent glaze, which let the light pass through, to create a more luminous color. (7)
(This is a great technique. Just paint layers upon layers.)
The 19th century also saw the use of red in art to create specific emotions, not just to imitate nature. Artists such as Van Gogh used systematic color theory in their paintings. Describing his painting, The Night Cafe, to his brother Theo in 1888, Van Gogh wrote: “I sought to express with red and green the terrible human passions. The hall is blood red and pale yellow, with a green billiard table in the center, and four lamps of lemon yellow, with rays of orange and green. Everywhere it is a battle and antithesis of the most different reds and greens.” (7)
The mineral cinnabar is the source of the color vermillion. In Roman times, most cinnabar came from mines at in Spain, where the miners were usually prisoners and slaves. Cinnabar contains mercury which is highly toxic, and working in the mines was often a death sentence for the miners. (7)
People wearing red appear to be closer than those dressed in other colors, even if they are actually the same distance away. (7)
A red room is dramatic. It can make a small room feel warm and cozy. However, an all red room that is painted the wrong shade can look as if it’s a crime scene. Red works best as an accent color or in combination with other hues. (9)
Protanomaly is a type of color-blindness which has a reduced sensitivity to red light.
It has long-been rumoured than Van Gogh was colour-blind. It has been suggested, due to Van Gogh’s use of colours and occasional drawing of halos around lights, that he suffered wither colour-blindness or a form of intermittent closed angle glaucoma… It is thought that Van Gogh could have suffered from protanopia. (14)
There is a scientific correlation between color and sound. If you could actually “hear” the extremely high frequencies that red, yellow and blue (primary color) light waves are vibrating at… you would hear a Major chord. Red is the root or the bottom note of the Major Chord. (15)
Ok, who’s idea was it to do a list of 50? Phew, that was exhausting. I need some tea…