Today I want to write about one of the most popular colors: blue. Why blue? What does blue mean? And why are we so often fascinated by this color? First of all, we should be aware of that blue isn't just blue. There are many different shades and variations of a blue color with specific meanings and origins. Here's a list to name a few variations of our beloved blue:
Sky Blue, Aquamarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Aqua. Turquoise, Royal Blue, Marine Blue, Blue Violet, Ice Blue, Caribic Blue, Lavender Blue, Ocean Blue, Cadet Blue, Light Blue, Air Force Blue, Jeans Blue, Metallic Blue, Yves Klein Blue, Indian Blue, Celestial Blue, NYPD Blue, Imperial Blue, Palatinate Blue, Presidential Blue, Queen Blue, Indigo Dye, Baby Blue ...
As you can see there isn't just a generic "blue". There are so many different variations with specific meanings and for a specific use, which also helps to understand the popularity of blue. The color blue appears very often as a cold color. It is used mainly as a symbol for the cold, the sky, and water.
But we also associate the blue color in different ways, depending on our cultural background:
In Christian culture, blue stands for purity and eternity. The Virgin Mary is often symbolized with the color blue. Originally blue was also a symbol color for female characters in the middle ages. Red as a very dominant and vibrant color was associated with male characters. Pink (the softened version of a red) used to be a popular color for boys, which today is very popular for girls! Today our association of male and female color is very often the opposite. Pink and red for women and blue tones for boys and men. Just take an example of a baby shower, where a blue or pink is very often associated with the gender. But I think there is no typical color for genders anyway and our understanding will shift soon about gender roles and symbols.
In many ancient cultures, blue stands for simply the sky or a form of God. Blue is a symbol of mercy in Hebrew tradition and a symbol of wisdom in Buddhism. In European culture, it is very often associated with fidelity or aristocracy. In Europe, aristocratic people were called to have blue blood. Which doesn't mean literally that aristocratic people had blue blood, but their pale skin showed off the blue veins which were a mark for a noble life. In our modern culture, we also do associate blue with the Blues. This is why blue is also often linked to melancholia. This is indeed not so far away from an appearance of a dark and cold blue, which can make someone feel melancholic by looking at this color.
A very popular art work with blue colors is Pablo Picassos Blue Period. Between 1901 and 1904 the artist created a number of monochromatic paintings in different shades of blue.
Why not discovering the color blue in a new way? What about to experiment with different shades of blue? Here's what you need for this weekend fun project:
- Gather as many blue colors together as you can. Whatever medium you like to work with will fit in best! Watercolor, oil color, acrylic, chalk,... You are in the responsibility to choose!
- Try to mix some blue tones together, make them darker with black, lighten them up with some white. Experiment and create some variations of your blue colors. Which variation do you like? The blue mixed in with some green or red? A very light blue mixed with a lot of white? Enjoy the variation you create and ask yourself which color is your favorite and why?
- If you want to, you can make notes about how you mixed certain blue colors. Use a sketchbook or notebook, paint your different colors in this book and write your notes down right next to each color. This will help to get your favorite blue tones for every future project right away.
- Maybe you're in the mood to create a monochromatic painting? We might not be a Picasso, but that is ok! Just enjoy the process of discovering the color blue. Find your favorite tones, experiment and create a painting that lives from a variation of one color. It will be challenging to create in a monochromatic process, but soon you will feel very comfortable in working this way.
Have fun with discovering the blue, and I hope you don't feel blue! Arrange a little blue hour for yourself and discover this fascinating color! Have fun!