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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Result of "Windows" Color Theory Survey

Windows by April M Rimpo
You may recall my post from April 1st where I first showed my painting "Windows" and described how colors can impact how we perceive the emotions conveyed by an image. The original post is here. I've repeated the image of "Windows" here and the numbering scheme used to collect responses.

To identify each image I used this numbering scheme: Left column is identified as L#, where the image # is 1 to 5 counting from top to bottom.  Similarly, an image on the right would be R#, where # is 1 to 5 from top to bottom. For example the man's eyes on the upper left would be L1.  His companion painting is in the middle on the right and would be labeled R3.

Here are the questions I asked in the survey along with the answers I received from about 20 people. Not statistically significant but enough to look for trends. The number in parentheses preceding and answer is the number of people who gave that answer.

Which image feels
  1. most serious or intelligent?
    (2)L2, (4)L3, (2)L5, (4)R2, (3)R3, (1)R4, (5)R5
  2. most joyous and full of wisdom?
    (5)R3, (1)R4
  3. most self-sufficient, alive and confident?
    (1)L2, (3)L3, (1)L4, (1)R1, (1)R2, (1)R3, (5)R4, (5)R5
  4. most peaceful with inner strength?
    (1)L1, (3)L2, (4)L4, (2)R1, (2)R2, R3, (2)R4
  5. saddest?
    (4)L2, (5)L3, (1)L4, (
    3)R1, (1)R4, (1)R5 
Below are the color theories I researched and the emotions they said are associated with each color. Let's see how the answers to the survey relate.

Serious and Intelligence - Per Color Wheel/Color Theory bright blue & indigo are closely associated. However yellow is also associated with intellect and Kadinsky says orange correlates with being serious. This question received a large variety of answers with  L3, R2 & R5 receiving 4 or 5 votes. L3 matches the blue theory, R2 corresponds with the yellow and orange concepts. I suspect R5 was influenced more by the expression than the color. Two of the other answers given also had a lot of yellow. The other two answer given were more pink/red which can be associated with strength and determination which may be associated with being serious.

Joyous and full of Wisdom - Received 13 votes for L1. Per color theory yellow is associated with joy and happiness while gold adds the wisdom component, so the L1 answer definitely matches color theory. R4 also received one vote and this image also have a yellow/golden appearance. R3 received 5 votes; it is significantly red which matches Kadinsky's association of red with joy. Violet and bright blue can also be associated with wisdom, but none of the images have a lot of violet and the expression in L3 is not happy so that is likely why it was not selected.

Self-sufficient, Alive and Confident are attributes of red according to Kadinsky. Independence is similar in concept and is associated with violet according to color theory. This question received a wide variety of answers with R4 and R5 each receiving 5 votes.  Although several images are very pink, R5 does have the strongest red. The eyes in R4 are very violet in color and may have resulted in the large number of votes for this image. L3 was the next most voted answer with 3 votes and per color theory bright blue is associated with confidence.

Peaceful with Inner Strength - According to Kadinsky these are most associated with bright blue and green. Color theory associates blue with tranquility and calmness and specifically olive green with peace.  L4 received the most votes (4) has a lot of olive green accenting the eyes and nose. It is interesting to note that although L3 is all blue, it received no votes, but again the expression is more intense and does not communicate peacefulness. L2 received 3 votes even though it has neither blue or green. I'm guessing the expression has more to do with why this image received these votes.

Sadness was addressed by Kadinsky, who said violet invokes sadness. It was interesting that L3 received five votes, the highest number of votes. Color theory cannot justify that response as none of the emotions associate with blue relate to sadness. L2 received 4 votes and R1 received 3 votes. They both have some violet near the eyes and in the shadows by the nose.  R5 received 1 vote and has pale lavendar in the shadows around the eyes. Lastly R4, which has violet eyes and a violet shadow by the nose also received one vote.  L4 received one vote even though it has no violet. L4 does have brown, which corresponds to dull and inhibited which perhaps was seen as sadess. It is interesting to me that L1, R2 and R3 contain no violet and received no votes. So although violet was not a prevalent color in any of the images, it was present to small amounts and did seem to track with many of the answers provided.

It's interesting to me that in many cases the votes could be traced to the emotion suggested by either Kadinsky or color theory. However, the only emotion that was strongly correlated was "Joyous and full of Wisdom", where nearly 70% selected L1 and 26% selected R4, where a golden glow was prevalent in both images.

Many thanks to those who participated by answering my survey.*

Kadinsky Color Emotion
Color Wheel/ Color Theory
Bright Blue
Peaceful,deep and supernatural
Tranquility, understanding, and calmness It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.
Restless, glowing, alive and confident, joy, energy and triumph
energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.
deep and supernatural
 knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.
warm, exciting, disturbing or madness
joy, happiness, intellect, and energy
 radiant, serious, healthy 
Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.
Red-orange corresponds to desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, and thirst for action.
Gold evokes the feeling of prestige. The meaning of gold is illumination, wisdom, and wealth. Gold often symbolizes high quality.

morbid, extinguished […] sad
 wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic,
Light purple:romantic and nostalgic feelings

peaceful with inner strength, stillness, passive, The absolute absence of movement, is good for tired people, but after the rest the feeling of calmness can become boring
Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.
Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.
Olive green is the traditional color of peace.
dull, hard, inhibited, mix of red and black

* For those of you wondering why the "Most Tired" question, included in my previous blog, is not discussed here, that is because I brought the survey questions with me to two receptions where the painting was on exhibit and due to my oversight I left off the Tired question. As a result there simply weren't enough respondents who answered that question to include it in the results. 

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Copyright April M Rimpo 2015 All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

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