Blue: a happy and a sad color

Reading through Barthes’s work on Soaps, Powders and Detergents and observing how he has used various metaphors to better describe the sensations, I was reminded of the way in which people associate feeling “blue” with feeling sad as opposed to how I associate the color Blue with my own feelings. In a conversation, for instance, if you hear someone say, “Ah man, she makes me feel so blue at times” it will be understood as a feeling of sadness.

People depict this feeling even in cartoon shows. For example, when a character is rejected or is looked down upon there is always a scene in which the character stands with a grumpy expression and a huge blue background behind him/her. What particularly interests me more about this expression is how a color is associated with a feeling. Personally, instead of associating sad with blue, I would associate words like happy, calm and jovial with blue. I got this happy sensation from when I first went deep sea diving. As I swam in the ocean I could see vast extents of only blue all around me and the life that it contained. I felt as if I was in the calmest place on Earth (even quieter than the 7th floor of the woodruff library).

I remember sharing this feeling with my psychology/painting teacher back in high school and he told me how people feel differently towards the color blue depending on the shade of blue. I then realized how the sad feeling is usually associated with a darker shade of blue like a navy or a dark blue. Most of his paintings that represented a gloomy individual or a sad scenery had whips and splashes of those dark shades. On the contrary, the ones depicting jovial moments had bright shades of cyan, sky and Caribbean blue. Just by looking at the two different types of paintings I could come to the conclusion that my sensations or feelings towards blue differ with the way it is used. For me now, Blue is a color of multiple feelings.

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2 thoughts on “Blue: a happy and a sad color

  1. Very good blog. I like how you connected different emotions/feelings with colors. For me, I think of blue in terms of water, it doesn’t so much elicit an emotion in me. I also like how you referenced the 7th floor stacks as a caparison to a calm place. Although the 7th floor isn’t I quiet floor, I think the 8th and 4th floors are the most calm and serene. Lastly, was your psychology also your art teacher? That’s seems like a weird combination of professions to me.

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    • I like your choice of the color blue, it is very true how in cartoons colors are often used to display emotion. It also reminds me of colour a poem by an African Child that was nominated for Poem of the Year in 2005.

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