The Colour Blue
“Let my toes teach the shore how to feel a tranquil life through the wetness of sands
Let my heart latch the door of blackness, as all my pain now blue sky understands”
~ Munia Khan ~
Blue is one of the three primary colours of pigments in painting and traditional colour theory, as well as in the RGB colour model. It lies between violet and green on the spectrum of visible light.
Of the colours in the visible spectrum of light, blue has a very short wavelength, while red has the longest wavelength. When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths are scattered more widely by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules, and more blue comes to our eyes. This effect is called Rayleigh scattering, after Lord Rayleigh, the British physicist who discovered it. It was confirmed by Albert Einstein in 1911.
An optical effect called Tyndall scattering explains blue eyes. Blue eyes do not actually contain any blue pigment. Eye colour is determined by two factors: the pigmentation of the eye’s irisand the Tyndall scattering of light in the stroma, an optical effect similar to what accounts for the blueness of the sky
Distant objects appear more blue because of another optical effect called aerial perspective.
Psychological Properties of Blue
Blue is Calm and Serene – It is peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly, and reduces stress, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order.
It is often found in nature such as the pale blue of a daytime sky or the rich dark blue of a deep pool of water, which is possibly why people often describe the colour blue as calm and serene.
Because blue has commonly been associated with harmony, it was chosen as the colour of the flags of the United Nations and the European Union.
Blue is Reliable and Responsible – It has a need for order and direction in its life, including its living and work spaces. Blue exhibits an inner security and confidence. Businesses that want to project an image of security often utilise blue in their advertising and marketing efforts.
Blue is Honest – Blue is the colour of truth, which is possibly why individuals still see blue as being honest, just think of the saying “True Blue” which means loyal, staunch, trustworthy.
Blue is Communication & Creativity – The Fifth Chakra in the human body is located in the throat region and aptly named Throat Chakra. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Vishuddha’ (meaning purification) is used for the Fifth Chakra. Thyroid and Parathyroid glands are connected to this chakra. It impacts communication, hearing, listening, self expression and decision making etc.
The Throat chakra is about the expression of yourself: Your truth, purpose in life, creativity. Note that this chakra has a natural connection with the second chakra or sacral chakra, center of emotions and creativity as well. The throat chakra’s emphasis is on expressing and projecting the creativity into the world according to its perfect form or authenticity.
Blue is Wise & Spiritual – Blue’s wisdom comes from its higher level of intelligence, a spiritual perspective. Blue is the colour of the spirit, devotion and religious study. It enhances contemplation and prayer. On the other hand, blue’s devotion can be to any cause or concept it believes in, including devotion to family or work.
Blue is Inflexible – Change is difficult for blue; when faced with a new or different idea, it considers it, analyses it, thinks it over slowly and then tries to make it fit its own acceptable version of reality.
Blue is Predictable – Blue is not impulsive or spontaneous and it doesn’t like to be rushed – blue needs to analyse and think things through, and to work to a plan.
Blue is Productive – Blue is often used to decorate offices because research has shown that people are more productive in blue rooms.
Blue is Authority – The darker the colour blue, the more authority it has. King Louis IX of France, better known as Saint Louis (1214–1270), became the first king of France to regularly dress in blue, and this style was eventually taken up by various government forces such as armies and police forces. This is where the saying “Blue Blood,” meaning royalty comes from.
Among the positive traits given by the colour blue are loyalty, trust and integrity, tactful, reliability and responsibility, conservatism and perseverance, caring and concern, idealistic and orderly, authority, devotion and contemplation, peaceful and calm.
The colour blue also has negative traits, some of which are: being rigid, deceitful and spiteful, depressed and sad, too passive, self-righteous, superstitious and emotionally unstable, too conservative and old-fashioned, predictable and weak, unforgiving, aloof and frigid. It can also indicate manipulation, unfaithfulness and being untrustworthy.
Blue in Art
Blue has been an important colour in art and decoration since ancient times. The semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, mined in Afghanistan for more than three thousand years, was used in ancient Egypt for jewellery and ornament and later.
Natural ultramarine, made by grinding and purifying lapis lazuli, was the finest available blue pigment in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was extremely expensive, and in Italian Renaissance art, it was often reserved for the robes of the Virgin Mary. The more it was ground, the lighter the blue colour became.
Cobalt has been used for centuries to colour glass and ceramics; it was used to make the deep blue stained glass windows of Gothic cathedrals and Chinese porcelain beginning in the T’ang Dynasty. Cobalt coloured the stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (1250). In 1799 a French chemist, Louis Jacques Thénard, made a synthetic cobalt blue pigment which became immensely popular with painters.
Europeans wore clothing coloured with the vegetable dye woad until it was replaced by the finer indigo from America, made from the woad, Indigofera tinctoria, a plant common in Asia and Africa but little known in Europe until the 15th century. Its importation into Europe revolutionised the colour of clothing. It also became the colour used in blue denim and jeans. Nearly all indigo dye produced today is synthetic.
“Reflex blue” used to be the name of a common blue pigment in ink manufacturing. In the 1960s, the name was adopted into the proprietary Pantone Matching System (PMS) to refer to this specific pigment. Pantone “Reflex Blue” has the particularity of being identified only by this name, and not by a number code.
Variations of the Colour Blue
Pale Blue: Pale blue inspires creativity and the freedom to break free.
Sky Blue: One of the calmest colours, sky blue inspires selfless love and fidelity. It is non-threatening and promotes a helpful nature that can overcome all obstacles. It is the universal healer.
Azure Blue: A colour of true contentment, azure inspires determination and ambition to achieve great things, a sense of purpose in striving for goals.
Dark Blue: Dark blue is the colour of conservatism and responsibility. Although it appears to be cool, calm and collected, it is the colour of the non-emotional worrier with repressed feelings, the pessimist and the hypocrite. Dark blue can be compassionate but has trouble showing it as its emotions run deep. Dark blue is a serious masculine colour representing knowledge, power, and integrity, and is used quite often in the corporate world.
“Blue is the colour of sky, ocean, sleep, and twilight. It is a colour that makes me feel so good. When I see it, I almost feel like I am in heaven. For me, blue is the colour of sincerity, inspiration, and spirituality. It makes me feel like I am good enough.” ~ Pradnya ~