Colour Symbolism Colour Symbolism • In addition to the physical effects that colour has on us eg warm colours can raise our body temperature, there are also psychological effects and symbolism related to colour which influences our response to colour. • Most of our colour responses are absorbed during childhood. • Personal colour symbolism could be a result of ethnic background, tradition, geography or climate. Colour Symbolism • Colour symbolism can have both positive and negative connotations Red Red • China: Good luck, celebration, summoning • Cherokees: Success, triumph • India: Purity • South Africa: Color of mourning • Russia: Bolsheviks and Communism • Eastern: Worn by brides • Western: Excitement, danger, love, passion, stop, Christmas (with green) Orange Orange • Ireland: Religious (Protestants) • Western: Halloween (with black), creativity, autumn Yellow Yellow • China: Nourishing • Egypt: Color of mourning • Japan: Courage • India: Merchants • Western: Hope, hazards, coward Green Green • China: Ming Dynasty, Green hats indicate a man's wife is cheating on him, exorcism • India: Islam • Ireland: Symbol of the entire country • Western: Spring, new birth, go, Saint Patrick's Day, Christmas (with red) • -American Indian: Feminine • Egypt: Fertility, vegetation, rain, strength • -Japan: Youth, energy, future • -Persian Rugs: sacred and holy colour • Negative: Green with envy, jealousy, disgrace, madness, sinister • Positive: Vegetation, fertility, sympathy, hope, youth, wisdom • Education Hoods: medicine Blue Blue • Cherokees: Defeat, trouble • Iran: Color of heaven and spirituality • Western: Depression, sadness, conservative, corporate, "something blue" bridal tradition Violet • Thailand: Color of mourning (widows) • Western: Royalty White • Japan: White carnation symbolizes death • Eastern: Funerals • Western: Brides, angels, good guys, hospitals, doctors, peace (white dove) Black • China: Color for young boys • Western: Funerals, death, Halloween (with orange), bad guys, rebellion • Canadian: • Petroglyphs • First Nations art – masks etc • Art of New France • Marine Art • Topographical art • Art as Historical Reference ( of First Nations, Historical Events) • Canadian Impressionism: • Tom Thomson • The Group of Seven: Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, F.H. Varley, Franklin Carmichael, J.E.H. MacDonald, Frank Johnson, Fred Varley, A.J Casson Benjamin West ““ The Death of General Wolfe” Benjamin West • Historical accuracy? Wolfe included officers who were not present at the battle although associated with the campaign. • He painted an Indian but the British made no use of Indian irregular forces in Quebec. (although in the campaign, Iroquois aligned with the English and Huron with the French) • Why then include the Indian? Changing the Truth • West was sympathetic in his portrayal of Indians because of his positive experiences with local Indians who taught him how to use local minerals and materials to mix pigments for his palette. • By placing the Indian at this monumental event, he demonstrates the Indians fidelity to the British ( and implicitly British culture). • Symbolically, the Indian symbolized the New World – setting the painting in Canada • The Indian’s tatooed markings of two snakes, a bear claw, a scalp plucked and painted red, his feathers and hair ornaments, weapons and dress all identify him as North American Indian. Paul Kane : Modified colour • Kane sketched and painted First Nations and Metis people at a time of enormous transition. His field sketches and writings often capture this quite accurately, but later in the studio, he frequently modified his sketches to conform to a more romantic ideal of unspoiled nobility and purity. • Colours changed to more muted colours due to his sketches based on watercolour and the different light in his studio. Indian Encampment on Lake Huron Joseph Legare “ Fire at St Jean’s Quarters” • Art used as historical documentation of an historic event ie accurate colour Homer Watson’s Cressman’s Woods with Hunters • First Native artist but colours were still muted in browns and ochres. His landscape is based on an actual Canadian place, near present day Waterloo, Ontario Influence of the Impressionists • Monet studied the changing effects of light on a series of the same subject eg real subjects ie haystacks, cathedrals. • He also benefited from the new paint technology that allowed one to paint outside –allowing for real colour • Finally, the new colour theory put shadows not as black but complements. The Impressionists Influenced Canadians • • • • • Local Canadian subjects presented in a Canadian way. They portrayed the landscape and inadvertently the effects of logging and clear cutting on the environment. Studies (pochettes) painted outdoors under natural light and then worked up into larger paintings Using colour contrasts and a subjective approach to colour ie painting what the artist felt about the place and not always using local colour (accurate colour of the subject). Eg “In the Northland” by Tom Thomson Colour and Canadian Art • Tom Thomson Northern River by Tom Thomson Complementary Underpainting Autumn’s Garland “In the Northland” by Tom Thomson Tom Thomson ‘Summer’s Day Showing indication of clear cutting of forests. This type of clear cutting often led to forest fires from the highly flammable bark. Founders of the Group of Seven • • • Lawren Harris Wealthy, a mentor to others including Emily Carr Used colour in an abstract way. J.E.H. McDonald Poet & Spiritual Member • • • • Born in Durham, England, he emigrated to Canada in 1887 •MacDonald worked at Grip Ltd. from 1895 to 1911, when Lawren Harris persuaded him to start painting full time. In 1922, MacDonald accepted a full-time teaching position at the Ontario College of Art. His fellow artists described him as a quiet redhead of frail stature, with the dreamy air of a poet and philosopher – a “romantic Among MacDonald’s most accomplished works are rugged landscapes of the Algoma, Ontario, region. MacDonald was also a writer. A volume of his poetry, West by East, was published posthumously. A.Y. Jackson French Canadian • • • • • • French Canadian, Alexander Young Jackson left school at the age of twelve and began work at a Montreal printing firm. In 1906, he began studying art at the Art Institute in Chicago. A year later, he enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris, remaining in France until 1912 where he acquire d an Impressionist influence. Group of Seven founding members Harris and MacDonald were sufficiently impressed by Jackson's work that, in 1913, they invited him to move to Toronto. The following year, he shared space with Thomson in the Studio Building on Severn Street, remaining there until 1955 For the last six years of his life, Jackson lived at the home of Robert and Signe McMichael (now the McMichael gallery). Jackson is buried in the small cemetery on the McMichael gallery grounds. A.Y. Jackson “The Red Maple” Arthur Lismer Educator • • • • • • • Arthur Lismer emigrated from Sheffield, England to Toronto, Ontario, in 1911. Soon after, through his employment at Grip Ltd., he would meet Tom Thomson and some of the other artists that would one day comprise the Group. In the years leading up to 1920, Lismer often joined these artists on sketching trips to Algonquin Park and Georgian Bay, Ontario. Lismer was always full of energy and humour. He delighted in creating clever cartoon drawings of his artist friends – and those perceived to be enemies of their art. Nothing pleased him more than targeting the establishment and all things pretentious. With a strong commitment to teaching, Lismer established one of the most successful children's art programs in North America. In 1936, he set up school programs in South Africa. An active promoter of the Group of Seven and the author of many articles on Canadian art, Lismer continued to paint throughout his lifetime. Sombre Isle Lake Superior Franklin Carmicheal Graphic Artist • • • • • Primarily a watercolourist, Carmichael was the youngest member of the original Group In 1911, his interest in art took him to Toronto, where he studied art at the Central Technical School and the Ontario College of Art. In 1911, he was hired as an office boy by Grip Ltd. The head designer was J.E.H. MacDonald, one of the most prominent men in his field at the time. As a graphic designer,, Carmichael worked on the illustration and design of a number of promotional brochures as well as advertisements for newspapers and magazines. In step with the fashions of the times, his work increasingly reflected the flat, simplified design popular in the 1920s.In the 1920s Carmichael also created illustrations for stories, mostly in magazines. Although sketching in many locales around Ontario, including Georgian Bay and the North Shore of Lake Superior, the La Cloche Hills, the site of the family cottage, became a favourite painting location. Franklin Carmicheal “ Mirror Lake” Frederick Varley • • • • Encouraged by childhood friend Arthur Lismer, Varley immigrated to Canada in 1912, where he discovered employment in the field of commercial design. After serving as an official war artist during World War I, he became increasingly interested in painting the human figure. The landscape, however, continued to captivate him as an artistic subject. Restless by nature, Varley was constantly on the move. His travels took him to remote areas of the world, including the Arctic and Russia. In 1945 he returned to Toronto, where he would remain for the rest of his life. Fred Varley “Vera” “ Stormy Weather” Emily Carr “Indian Church” “Tree in Autumn” “Totem Walk” Emily Carr “Big Raven” Alex Janvier “ Fall Beauty” Norval Morriseau • • • In addition to themes relating to spirituality, Native artists also use their artwork to portray their political and economic histories and relationship with the Other, non-Natives. For Natives, much of their history was passed down in an oral manner from elders. Northern Ontario Ojibwa artist Norval Morrisseau started to collect and record these traditional narratives in the 1950s and published “My People, the Great Ojibwas” in 1965. Morrisseau, who has stated “all my painting and drawing is really a continuation of the shaman’s scrolls” began by painting representations of traditional spirituality and history on the insides of birch bark baskets and other souvenirs. He was one of the founders of the Woodlands school or “Anishnabe painting” where traditional sacred iconography was reinvented as acrylic painting and printmaking. Non Natives buyers saw Morriseau’s work as a direct survival of ancient Ojibwa shamanistic art. Encouraged to adopt Western media and formats, he created a modernist- primitivist painterly vocabulary, choosing a bright intensely hued palette over the traditional earth colour palettes of the traditional Native artwork. His art piece demonstrate how he is trying to capture these oral traditions in a new modern style. He inspired a generation of Native artists to adopt a personal approach to art while at the same time saving Native traditional culture.