COLOUR is an integral part of my art practice. Art for me is a form of therapy and colour plays an important role in the healing process. This is something I first discovered while I was studying, eight or so years ago. Prior to my very vibrant palette I was restricted to much darker hues. I felt that because I was feeling dark on the inside, that my art had to reflect this too.

During my second year of uni I was pushed out of my comfort zone and tried experimenting with a wider range of colours. As soon as I started playing around with these new, bright and saturated hues I never looked back! Working with colour had an instant impact on my mood and also my curiosity as to why that is?

So over the years I’ve been doing a lot of research into colour theory and psychology, some of which I would like to share with you now!

Abstract spray paint closeup with pastel and bright colours by Sara Hoque 2018

Effects on the body

The visible light spectrum has the appearance of a rainbow, going from violet to red. Violet has the shortest wavelength (closest to ultraviolet|) and red has the longest wavelength (closest to infrared); which gives it a fiery heat and warmth.

Each colour is said to have a different effect on us. Red has been known to increase the heart rate and blood pressure, whereas blue will slow it down which is why it is considered a relaxing colour. Warmer shades can be a mood booster or stimulant to help energise the mind and body. Cooler shades can help with headaches and stress.

Effects on the mind

For me it is the power of colour on the mind which I find the most interesting. As a painter I try to make considered colour choices for every mark and brushstroke I place on the canvas, in order to create the right mood for a piece.

Like its effects on the body, RED is energising It inspires confidence and determination, as the colour of blood its connected to life but also death. 

ORANGE is a great one for lifting spirits and is related to our emotional self. It can inspire self confidence and encourage creativity.

The warmth of YELLOW is cheerful and uplifting. The perfect antidote for depression and also helps to focus the mind. 

GREEN is right in the middle of the colour spectrum, giving it perfect balancing properties. Its the easiest colour on the eyes, and its just as restful on the heart too.

BLUE is the colour of restfulness and peace. This ultimate calming hue also has anti inflammatory properties!

VIOLET is another calming hue which also soothes the soul and our emotions. It encourages us to slow down and listen to our inner voice.

Thick colourful painted brushstrokes, abstract painting by Sara Hoque 2017


Colour can help us in many ways and its so important to inject little bits of it into your surroundings, whether it be a wall repaint, bright accessories or a bright piece of artwork. Discovering the power of colour has done wonders for my mood and enhanced my creative practice hugely, and I’m sure it can help many other people too!