Why is Color Important in Art?

When Earth Meets Water by collage artist Megan Coyle
Megan Coyle. When Earth Meets Water.

Color can tell you a lot about a work of art. Bright colors can make you feel happy while darker colors can make you feel glum. There are also specific colors that remind us of different emotions. For example, what does the color blue remind you of? What about red?

Warm colors like yellow, orange, red, and pink, can make a picture look brighter. Yellow is a more joyful color while red is a color that reminds us of the emotion anger. However, the way a work of art feels depends on how you use those colors. Although red makes us think of anger, take a look at this collage. How does it make you feel? Did you notice the color of the background? Since the background is a cool color, the warm color red and the cool background were balanced. One color didn’t overpower the other, so the red didn’t make us feel as anxious as it would have if there was more of it.

Collages by Megan Coyle
Warm Colors                   Cool Colors
Megan Coyle. Parts of Various Collages.

Cool colors include blues, greens, and purples. When you think of cool colors, sometimes it helps to imagine a wintry world. Wouldn’t blue, green, and purple fit well in a place like that?

Different colors can create a different mood for artwork. Mood means the feeling we get when we look at a work of art. We can create the mood by selecting warm or cool colors that remind us of emotions that we want in our artwork.

Megan Coyle uses blue a lot in her collages. It’s one of her favorite colors and although we often think of the sadness when we think of the color blue, blue can also be soothing and relaxing. It can remind us of a calm and cool lake. Take a look at a few ways that Coyle has used blue:

(Click on one of the images below to view a larger image)

How did each collage above make you feel?

What colors do you like? How would you like to use color? What mood or feeling do you want in your collage?

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