In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors. Newton also found that each color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colors. But further experiments demonstrated that light could be combined to form other colors. That’s when all the real fun started!

For example, red light mixed with yellow light creates an orange color.

In color mixing for painting, the fundamental rule is that there are three colors that cannot be made by mixing other colors together. These three – red, blue, and yellow – are therefore known as the primary colors.

Vincent van Gogh said in 1888, “Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of colour to express myself more forcefully … To express the love of two lovers by the marriage of two complementary colours …   To express the thought of a brow by the radiance of a light tone against a dark background.    To express hope by some star. Someone’s passion by the radiance of the setting sun.”

I was tempted to show you a picture of Van Gogh’s  but you all know exactly what his marvellous work looks like – so here’s a picture of my glass work using opposing colours from the triangle above. Contrasting colours work well together …

Hot Autumn Night – artglass by jens studio handcrafted glass

Marion Boddy-Evans, in’s Guide to Painting, has an excellent overview of color theory basics including how different colors can be mixed.

The Color Triangle was developed by the 19th century French painter French painter Delacroix.  “Colour always occupies me, but drawing preoccupies me.” he said.   Delacroix took for his inspiration the art of Rubens and painters of the Venetian Renaissance, with an attendant emphasis on colour and movement rather than clarity of outline and carefully modelled form.


Frenand Leger, in “On Monumentality and Color”, in 1943, said: “The craving for colour is a natural necessity just as for water and fire. Colour is a raw material indispensable to life. At every era of his existence and his history, the human being has associated colour with his joys, his actions and his pleasures.”

Turtle Bay by jensstudio

I just love – luuuurrrrvvvveeee! – colours!

I think I am so lucky to spend my life playing with colors!

Colour is now used to help Psychologists in their Therapy Ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, which is a poish way of saying using colors to heal. Chromotherapy today is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colourology and is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment, especially for depression and anxiety.

In chromology:

    • Red is used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation. So does this red glass help your circulation? Does it “fire you up”?

Red Heiroglyphics by jens studio handcrafted glass

    • Yellow is thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.  Ahh – to gaze upon a work called Sunrise Anticipation with your nerves stimulated and excited – did you know that in many parts of the world public telephones are painted yellow to encourage people to make short calls and move on?

Sunrise Anticipation by jens studio handcrafted glass

    • Orange is used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels.  I think my energy levels are over the roof now I’ve been looking at these gorgeous oranges for so long ….. lol.

Autumn Dreaming by jens studio handcrafted glass

    • Blue is believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.  “Faith healers” report “seeing” blue colour inside people when they are working with them to cure illness. Yes blue soothes, especially if you are standing by the blue sea with a bright blue sky above.   Three different blue glasses were used to create this work.

Encounter in blues by jens studio handcrafted glass

  • Indigo shades are thought to alleviate skin problems.  I don’t know if Indigo helped the teenager who got this chess board as his birthday present (or Carlton Football Club) who are his heroes – I hope so! Go Blues!

Indigo & white chess board by jens studio

I wonder if you use the proper names for colours – some recent research on Facebook talks about how women and men talk about colours in different ways. I wonder what you do?  Are you typical?

Or is this just another example of men being mono-minded and women being more subtle. Ooops, that was controversial of me. Anyway, I think they have “Emerald” all wrong in this image – anyone else agree?

Talk again soon, everyone!

love,  jenie x

1 Comment
  1. V 12 years ago

    Great blog Jen! Some beautiful examples of your work too :-). Funny, I was chatting with a male friend about the names colours just recently. He asked me why women seem to name colours after foods, flowers etc and recounted how his wife referred to an obviously ‘purple’ feature wall as ‘eggplant’! He took comfort in the knowledge that the name of the colour of our sofa is ‘plaster’ – far more manly! 😉 I agree re ’emerald’ by the way.

    Have included a couple of links that may be of interest…

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