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Color Psychology - Orange

Updated: Apr 11, 2023


Still not sure how drawing a picture can tell you how you feel inside? Well, read on.

There are three main factors I want to focus on in this piece. The color orange, the symbol which is a baby orca and the small flower located where the orcas mind would be. First we’ll talk about the color.

“Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow for a warm, confident, fun hue. The color increases oxygen to the brain which stimulates mental health.” (www.treefrogmarketing.com ) But the “darker shades of orange seem to have the most negative associations, such as untrustworthiness and deceitfulness.” (www.designmodo.com) When this piece started to develop I wasn’t sure why I was focused on the color orange and getting a subject matter that is clearly more associated with blue. (Although orange and blue are complimentary colors) I mean, clearly the sky and ocean are both thought of as blue and when I was just working with the black outline I thought the symbol was a dolphin which is also thought of as blue/greyish. But then I thought of the sunset on the ocean which would sometimes make it look orange. Then I googled dolphin + orange to see if there was any connection between the two that I was unaware of. What came up was that baby orcas. The white spots on baby orcas is so thin that it appears light orange after birth until they grow and it thickens to look solid white. So that is how I defined my symbol as a baby orca specifically. But back to the color for now. I am always trying to manifest happiness for myself. So it makes perfect sense why I consciously chose orange as my only focus for this piece. But now looking at the finished product I am intrigued about the darker shades of orange symbolizing untrustworthiness and deceitfulness since those shades were shown on the horizon line of my artwork. Without getting too personal, the idea of my not trusting what is on my horizon, so to speak, is completely accurate. So check mate there. And since it seems I’m flowing into the symbolism of the art now we’ll look at the baby orcas representation. Orcas mean many things to many different cultures but was resonated with me personally as I focused on where I am in life and this artwork that flowed out of me was what I read about from the Native American Tribes along the Northwest Coast of America. To them, seeing an orca was a omen that something big was on the horizon. I have been feeling that a lot lately. But feeling that and not knowing when or what it is that is coming could be the reason why I subconsciously chose the untrustworthy dark shades of orange for that part of my art. Also the Tlingit tribe have a folktale about a killer whale that rings a lot of bells for me too. It’s roughly about a warrior that gets betrayed by those close to him and ends up alone for a long period of time until a orca whale rescues him. The personal details of this association to my life is also a little too personal for me to share online, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Also orcas are very social creatures. The baby orca, like with any baby in nature, would rarely be seen without it’s mother. So that fact that mine is alone with it’s head slightly downturned is not exactly matching the happy orange color theory either. With all this in mind & associated with my art, what is coming up for me right now is that something big is in my near future. I’m am trying to put out this happy confident orange vibe so I can attract something good for me but my past pain and fear is under the surface. According to my artwork, I feel like a baby orca left alone to navigate the open ocean with nothing to guide her except what she can figure out on her own. The ocean can be scary but it can also be magnificently beautiful, but the uncertainty of which one it will be this time is almost too much for her little heart to bear alone. So what does she do? How does she cope? Well, that brings me to the last part of the piece I wanted to discuss, the flower in her mind. I didn’t draw that flower there on purpose, it’s just where it ended up. I could’ve erased it. It had no reason to be in an ocean after all, but I felt it needed to stay for some reason. Everyone that knows me knows about my love of flowers, color and nature. Spring is my favorite season for that reason. Half of my art is of those very things. The other half is of animals. But flowers are known throughout the ages for their mental health benefits. Receiving flowers helps us release oxytocin.. which is a feel good chemical produced by our body. They have a long-term positive effect on moods. And for me personally they are one of the few things that instantly stop my ‘monkey mind’ and all it’s worried chatter and anxiety… even if it is for just that moment that I’m looking at the flower. That is how I cope with all the pain & uncertainty. I find the flowers. And if I can’t find any, like in wintertime, I draw them. Because maybe if I paint flowers, nature and animals for the rest of my life I can balance out some of the tremendous ugliness in the world. And maybe that’s why God created them in the first place.

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