Beyond Brushstrokes


A crystal prism, when held to the light of the sun, reveals the magnificent color spectrum. A kaleidoscope is a delightful instrument that allows one to peek through a hole of a tube with geometric facets and changing patterns. Turn it and the mesmerizing designs vary.

Nature’s palette has the wondrous colors of the rainbow. Landscapes have shades of primary colors — red, blue, yellow with green as the combination of blue and yellow. Blue and red make violet. Red and yellow become orange. Blue and green turn into turquoise and aquamarine. Indigo is deep blue violet. Black and white make gray.

White is the presence of all colors. Black is the absence of color.

Individuals respond to certain colors. One’s preference reveals the psychological make-up.

Scientific research shows that there are classifications: Power colors, Stimulant colors, and Restraint colors.

To illustrate, here are Power colors:

Yellow has various shades: marigold, orange, deep reddish yellows that have “advancing” qualities of red. The deep yellows and orange yellows have the golden qualities of yellow. Together, their high stimulus and radiance are perfect expressions of energy and erotic activities. They are latent powerhouses of energy. These virile colors are good reflections of the vigorous and adventurous aspects of life.

These colors are related to the desire to be over involved in the whirl of human activities. Even in children’s paintings, an overemphasis on yellow indicate erotic fantasies. Those who dislike these colors may be fearful of their own sensuality.

Reds are powerful. Vermilions flame red, blood red are charged with “latent aggression” or resourcefulness. They seem to have the energy content like a charged battery. They can reflect emotional passion and drama. They can also celebrate achievement. In another way, red can threaten domination and conquest.

Red is the color of potency, according to the Luscher chart. Charles Henry used the word “Dynamogenous.” He influenced the French Pointillism painter Seurat.

Green is powerful as well. Midsummer grass, vegetation greens with high saturation and full intensity — the rich amplitude and the exuberance, the breadth and generosity of Nature. They are signs of confidence in self-expression. A biologic set of colors symbolizes fertility and continuity, fruitfulness, productivity and creativity — and what is considered generative. Sensuous not necessarily sensual, they are the sign of cornucopia, the bon vivant, the gourmet and connoisseur.

Blues are powerful: Ultramarine Lapis Lazuli, Royal blue.

Reddish blues, ultramarine and royal blue have often signified a dedication to an idealistic cause. Such colors have also been used in the context of the militant spiritual or those who have been given authority by divine right. These blue shades signify devotion and dedication to an energetic ideal. An analysis would show that blues recede from the surface. The reds appear to advance. The result seems to be a natural “retiring” quality (blue) that paradoxically (because of the red in the mixture) advances or projects toward the viewer.

As symbols, these are considered militant through the presence of red. One feels that here are colors especially suitable to stand for those aspiring ideals one needs to fight for.

Stimulant Colors are strident hues at full intensity.

Yellows: Spectrum yellow, primrose yellow and canary yellow. This group reflects impulsiveness and spontaneity. They give the impression of flair and effervescence, the skill of the virtuoso. These yellows are the signs of initiative and characterize the entrepreneur especially when used with dash and aplomb.

Carl Gustav Jung wrote that these colors have the archetypal yellowness of the sun — the symbols of wisdom and enlightenment.

Reds: shades of Magenta and high-intensity bluish reds are quite revealing. Magenta is a peak stimulus red. A sign of ostentation. It is a symbol of seduction, coquetry, panache, or ritualistic display. It can also mean the subtle powers of discrimination and /or aesthetic abilities. For children, it expresses a magical state of enchantment and wish fulfillment. Luscher sees peak stimulus red in a different light. (For clinical reasons.) Red orange is a peak stimulus red, an erotic symbol that relates to the maelstrom of human interaction.

Greens: Lime green, uranium green, and yellow green. These are colors with “bite.” They express wit. Being colors of visceral color of extratensive excitement, they can carry a sense of striving. To illustrate, these are the colors equivalent to “butterflies in the tummy,” the sensations one had when one is in crisis. A “sucking” color, green is sharp, critical, and acerbic. They are often described as unrelaxing, busy colors — the sign of the workaholic.

They express bitterness and jealousy.

Blues that stimulate are Cyan, sky blue, light blues of intensity. These blues reflect the desire for freedom and liberation one might experience under the Mediterranean sky. They are the buoyant and light-hearted expression of an open-minded person, a free spirit. They are breezy, genial. A reflection of the blithe and the debonair. In children’s work, they can be a sign of aspiration and sublimation as well as wanting to be free.

The colors we like or wear reveal our inner selves, our moods, feelings or desires. Colors are relevant in our work environment and home. How we use and combine them would be the key to inspiring, calming or stimulating people around us. They enrich and influence our lives in ways we never realized before. They lift our spirits and recharge our energy level whenever we are sad, tired, listless, depressed.

Some people are shades of primary colors — bold, strong, provocative or assertive. Others are pastel hues that are serene, soothing, quiet, reflective. Is your personality a combination of several shades? 


Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.