Color could be characterized as food for our emotions. Color can increase a sense of well-being, lift the spirits,
create a serene setting in which to explore oneself or clarify solutions to everyday problems.
In order to understand how different colors impact your emotions, it is first necessary to understand the actual
source of color - light and energy...
Color actually exists in the mind
Our ability to perceive color comes about because our eyes have light and color-sensitive receptors. These receptors
are called rods (receptive to amounts of light) and cones (sensitive to colors). Being able to see color is a sensation,
like smelling freshly baked cookies or tasting a sour lemon. The smell or taste of these things differ for each
person, and likewise, no color is seen exactly the same by two people, because each person's rods and cones vary.
Therefore, the colors you see truly exist in your own mind.
Light travels in the form of a wave.
Light is basically photons (pieces of energy or particles) that travel in the form of a wave. White light, or
the light from the sun, is recognized by its wavelength.
Waves have high and low points, and the distance between one of those highs and lows and the next is called
The length of the wave determines the amount of energy that it has. For example, a long wave has a low amount
of energy or low frequency, and a short wave has a high amount of energy or high frequency.
The colors that we see in a rainbow are actually the wavelengths of the visible color spectrum...
The wavelengths that you can see:
Only a fraction of waves that pass through the earth's atmosphere are able to be seen by the human eye. These
fall within the 'visible light spectrum'. When combined, all of the wavelengths in visible light create a colorless
There are waves that are not perceptible by the human eye. These waves exist above and below the visible spectrum.
Waves called radio, microwave, and infrared are below the red end of the spectrum, and ultraviolet (UV), x-rays,
and gamma rays are above the violet. These comprise the "invisible" spectrum. Together, the visible and
invisible spectrums make up what is called the electromagnetic spectrum:
How a light wave becomes a color
There are three things that can happen to a light wave. It can be
- or transmitted.
How a light wave reacts (as above) under various conditions as it travels through space and the atmosphere form
the basis of the color we perceive a particular object to be, such as a leaf, an apple or your favorite scarf.
For example, for an object to appear black, it means that all the wavelengths of light hitting that object are
being absorbed; no light is reflected. Solid objects, for the most part, will reflect light, and transparent objects
will transmit light through them.
You can see how light transmission works by holding a piece of white paper behind a glass of red juice. If light
is shining on the glass, you will see that the 'white' paper will appear to be red. The red color of the juice
is being transmitted onto the paper.
The color of anything depends on the type of light sent to our eyes; light is necessary if we are to have any
perception of color at all. An object is "colored," as stated above, because of the light it reflects
- all other colors are absorbed into that specific object. So then, an apple appears red because it reflects red
White light from the sun contains all the possible color variations of seven basic colors.
These colors of the visible spectrum are often remembered as ROY G. BIV: red, orange, yellow,
green, blue, indigo, and violet.
The energy of our sun's light waves
Our sun emits its radiation in this visible range, which our eyes interpret as the colors of the rainbow. Now
that you understand where color comes from, we can explore the power of color and how you can use it to create
different types of energy around you...