Daily Archives: April 29, 2021

Timeout for Art: Yellow

Touch Point

“Yellow is one of the most ambiguous colors,” according to Dr. Betty Edwards in her book, Color. She goes on to explain that it is ‘the color of sunlight, gold and happiness, of intellect and enlightenment, but also the color of envy, disgrace, deceit, betrayal, and cowardice.”

In his book, The Primary Colors, Alexander Theroux says, “So few colors give the viewer such a feeling of ambivalence or leave in one such powerful, viscerally enforced connotations and contradictions. Desire and renunciation. Dreams and decadence. Shining light and shallowness. Gold here. Grief there.”

We see yellow in sunshine and bright flowers. Yellow is the color of gold. It is said that Judas wore a yellow cloak when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss. In Islam, golden yellow is the color of wisdom. In the Chinese Ch’ing dynasty, only the emperor was allowed to wear yellow. In Jungian psychology, yellow symbolizes the flash of insight called intuition. Yellow turns up in all of its symbolic splendor in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and in the Beatles’ animated film, Yellow Submarine.

Yellow is not my favorite color, but I use it frequently as a bright point of contrast to darker, moodier tones.