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How does color influence me?

There are all kinds of theories about color and the effect it has on us. Some have to do with healing, some with psychology and some with art. I confess I’ve been pretty dismissive about the psychology of color (what does it say about you if your favorite color is yellow?) and about the healing properties of color (do patients really heal faster if the walls are painted green?) but when it comes to art, I’m a lot more interested.  However, some recent paintings in red and black make me wonder how color does influence us.  More specifically, how does color influence me?

The Devil Made Me Do It

The Devil Made Me Do It      7×11      $525


Don't Mess with Me

Don’t Mess with Me      14 x 10.5      $700

I’m usually a pretty mellow person. While no pushover, my first choice in a confrontation is rarely anger. It’s not that I don’t get angry, I do.  I have buttons that can get pushed, just like everyone else.  But it usually takes a lot to provoke me.

So these two paintings and the titles I have given them are a bit of a surprise.  They look and feel angry to me. Similar to a Rorschach ink blot test, what do these paintings say about me?  Are the colors influencing me? … in the painting, or just in the naming?

If I’m honest, the only thing making me angry these days is the slow pace of my progress painting with acrylic. Two steps forward and one step back sometimes seems overly optimistic. It can feel like one step forward and one step back.  I have to keep reminding myself of how slow my initial progress was when I started with watercolor.

So here’s the question:  how do these two paintings make you feel?  Do the titles seem appropriate to you?  How does the color influence you?


Posted by ruthhurd on February 18, 2016
8 Comments Post a comment
  1. 02/18/2016

    I found these to be oddly uplifting. I can see the aggression in them with the red and black but it is such a bold red that it’s quite beautiful. I really like these, well done!

    • 02/19/2016

      Wow. Thank you. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t uplifting. Glad you like them.

  2. 02/19/2016
    Amoree Beckman


    • 02/19/2016

      True. I might have overdone it a little with the red but, hey, nothing ventured nothing gained.

  3. 03/7/2016

    Hi Ruth, Hope you and Steve are well. I hope to see you and Steve sometime soon in NYC if the stars cross and we can manage it! Love the new images, I always see the image before anything else. Your images here are very suggestive to me. The first one instantly made me think of a black gloved dinner party women walking into a window while applying lipstick! The second image evokes a feeling of Saul Leiter’s amazing street photography. [see this link ( )] Interestingly the first feels like it’s falling and the second feels like it’s jumping or dancing. Both very human elements, the red and black creates great energy, keep up the good work, you are an inspiration! (Cassie says hi!)

    • 03/9/2016

      Amazing response. It’s a powerful argument for calling any abstract painting “Untitled” since it is the viewer’s response to the painting that matters (not the artist’s intention). Or maybe I should get you to name my paintings. Steve and I would love to see you when you next get to NYC. Say hi to Cassie.

  4. 03/22/2016

    Thanks Ruth, Would love that too, we will keep in touch on FaceBook for sure!
    Be well, talk soon…


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