Wondering about colour attraction…

Autumn is my favourite season.  The main reason for this choice: the colours.  But what attracts each of us to some colours and away from others?  Psychologists seem to think it’s a bit of nature, a bit of nurture.  Perhaps colours that indicate health and vitality will attract us more than those associated with rotting or unclean things.  In his article posted on the Psychology Today website R. Douglas Fields Ph.D. uses the example of colourings in food.  Would we use tomato ketchup if it were it’s natural faded brown colour rather than bright red?  Even thinking logically, knowing the bright red colour is down to added colours and the brown alternative is perfectly healthy, most people would still feel more comfortable opting for the red sauce.  But brown isn’t always bad – think chocolate milkshake…!    And of course we can associate some colours with happy places/times and others not.  Blue is a colour that is popular in all cultures (perhaps because of it’s association with calm weather) but there are some reactions to colours that are more culture specific.  R. Douglas Fields concludes,

Colors influence object preferences in many situations in modern life, for example house paint, clothes, and furniture.  Our individual preference for a particular color associated with these objects (a living room wall or an automobile) will be produced and reinforced by the positive feedback associated with the object and the color it has.  Everyone has a somewhat different life experience, and so as people increasingly experience pleasure in something they bought in a particular color, they will tend to chose similar objects in the future with the same color.  This leads to a self perpetuating situation.

I had a ‘self-perpetuating’ colour experience earlier this week: A visit to Sheffield Park in Sussex, a National Trust garden renowned for spectacular Autumn colour.




My husband took these photos.  Colour everywhere – looking up through branches and leaves to the blue, blue sky; looking across the lakes to the wonderful variety of colour and shape provided by the shrubs and trees; looking down at the carpets of fallen leaves against the green grass.  Whatever psychologists might try and understand by our reactions to colour I think it is impossible not to be drawn to the Creator of colour when we are confronted by such beauty. And it’s natural to praise Him when we see what has been created and great to take time to be thankful as we acknowledge that it is all sustained by Him too (Hebrews 1:1-3).

I suspect the quilts we are attracted to in books and exhibitions are often made in the colours we prefer.

One of my first quilts - couldn't be a more Autumnal colourway!

One of my first quilts – couldn’t be a more Autumnal colourway!


'Where's Collie?' - aquilt I finished earlier this month without straying too far out of my colour comfort zone!

‘Where’s Collie?’ – a quilt I finished earlier this month without straying too far out of my colour comfort zone!

But it is good to occasionally move out of our colour comfort zones, a request from a friend or family member for a quilt in their prefered colours can be an opportunity to discover more about colour combinations.  To help out there is always the artists colour wheel to turn to.  I found a great source of free downloadable colour wheels, information and advice (and a bit of colour psychology too) at http://www.dreamhomedecorating.com.

Well!  Time for me to get back to gazing out the window at the colours in my little garden!


Find the full colour preference article here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-brain/201104/why-we-prefer-certain-colors


About allisonreidnem

New Every Morning – About Me Hi! I’m Allison, an obsessive patchwork-quilter who has no desire to be cured! I’ve been developing my skills and knowledge by paying attention at my local quilting group and by putting my questions into the computer search engine. I’m so grateful to the generous people who have taken the time to share their knowledge with me in person, via YouTube videos or their blogs. I’m intending my blog to be a link into the worldwide patchwork and quilting community and a means to contribute helpful hints and inspiration as I continue to discover more about this addictive craft. So, why ‘New Every Morning Patchwork and Quilting’? Well! I am a morning person! I often wake in the wee small hours and think through design and quilt construction issues. My woolly–headed evening brain finds such issues far too difficult to resolve! If I’m disciplined enough to be asleep by 10pm, I can be up cutting, piecing, pressing and quilting before sunrise! By the time daily family routine kicks-in I’ve had a satisfying, soul-feeding creative fix. (I should mention that ‘family at home’ is: my patient, faithful husband of 27years; and our equally patient 16 year old son, who acts as our in-house IT support complete with sighs and rolling eyes! Older daughter and son have both recently flown the nest). Not only do I find early mornings my creative time I also find it a time for receiving spiritual nourishment. I often find myself humming a gentle chorus and reflecting on God’s constancy as another new day dawns. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord, Great is thy faithfulness.’ Edith McNeil’s chorus is based on verses from the Bible – Lamentations 3: 21-23.
This entry was posted in Awe and Wonder, Colour, Inspiration, Projects, Projects 2014 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wondering about colour attraction…

  1. Colleen says:

    HI Allison, Thanks for commenting on my blog. It’s always nice to know we’re not talking to ourselves all the time ! The pictures your husband took are very good – love those colors. The bed quilt is nice too – can’t beat those fall colors.

  2. Nancy says:

    This was an interesting post. Now I’ll have to look into my memory to see if I can figure out why there are some colors I avoid. Hmmm. I love your nine-patch!

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