Westfield State College
Mentor: Richard Haynes, MFA, UNH Office of Admissions
Color or Content: Which Comes First?
Colors surround and inhibit almost every aspect of our everyday lives. Consider the clothes you're wearing, and the color of the walls that encase the room you may be in. You might have picked them because they're your favorites, or they match the motif of the interior design, but do you understand how they affect you? Emotionally, we respond to colors (Epps & Kaya 2004). It's important to have a grasp on just how influential they can be, subtle or domineering. This research in the area of fine arts will expose our proven emotional reaction to color versus our global understanding of facial expressions. Facial expressions being a visual cue used by humans to gauge emotion which are understood worldwide (Ekman & Friesen, 1971). Through a series of eight paintings on 24x24" canvas, participants are polled on their initial emotional response via survey. The surveys are designed to ask the participants to gauge their own reactions to each painting which has a solid block of color with a facial expression stylistically painted in the center. The surveys will give participants four emotions: anger, happiness, fear and sadness, and scales from 0-5 for each one. Zero represents no emotional response and five indicates a maximum response. Participants will be asked to pick a number for each emotion after viewing each painting. Each survey will have Data that is qualitatively collected to prove or disprove how acute our reactions to the colors red, orange, green, and blue happen to be.