Painting Yellow

Painting yellow is generally associated with positive emotions. Artists who paint in the healing arts and other areas connected to therapeutic positive thinking may go through many tubes of yellow paint. Nature, landscape, and children’s book painters rely heavily on yellow for trees, grass, plants, and sunny skies.

 “Little Girl in a Tree” depicts confidence and carefree attitudes of childhood through her bold red and blue hued clothing, casual body language, and facial expression. But it’s the yellow in the tree that frames this scene with happiness. The yellow hues are repeated throughout the tree bark and her ponytail hairstyle. Yellow says “happy”!

There’s nothing freer than a bird, and when the bird is yellow, the connection between freedom and happiness feels clear. Of course we can see what we want to in this painting, and when I painted this it was merely a project assignment to illustrate a book. But, overall, vivid yellow shouts “feel good” vibes, especially in the context of uncomplicated, nonpolitical, no-strings-attached art.

Candle and Bible” is a much more profound and complicated example of painting yellow. For some, viewing this art will bring up happy feelings from childhood like “Little Girl in Tree“. Yellow appears in the flame and wall, golden candlestick and Bible pages, and is woven through highlights in the wooden table. Sunny warmth might call to mind fond memories of traditions, holidays, and special family moments.

The white candle may represent purity, simplicity, and tranquility. Some may feel peaceful, assured, and as spiritually free as “Goldfinches“. Yellow may seem like warm spiritual light.

But while some see “uplifting” in this piece, others may feel that this scene is oppressive, and the composition may stir up uncomfortable emotions, melancholy or even resentment. Hopefully the soothing yellows and golden browns make this art acceptable as “sharing and communication”, personal storytelling from one human to another. Sometimes the right color choice can soften our differences in how we think and feel.

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