How to Evoke an Emotional Response in Art

Using color combined with other elements in art can easily send a message to the viewer, says artist Tonia Jenny, “just as a certain combination of colors can evoke a particular emotion or a specific memory.” Tonia is the editor of Incite 2: Color Passions, The Best of Mixed Media. This resourceful book is a vibrant collection of inspiring art by 109 artists who are driven by the impact of color.

Tonia goes on: “The message might be to observe something within our current culture, or to look for hope when it seems there is none, or to simply go outside of what you know. Sometimes the message in a work is easy to read, and other times, through the use of symbols and metaphor, the message takes a bit more time to find, but clearly color plays an important role either way.”

Mixed media art by Randy Van Dyck
Face Book (acrylic with graphite on panel, 18×24) by Randy Van Dyck, featured in Incite 2: Color Passions

Broken Wing (below) by Penny Maday is one of many powerful artworks found in Incite 2: Color Passions. Penny shares the story behind her painting: “This work explores loss, death, grief, rebirth, and what 'home' means to me. The nest is an eternal symbol. Each branch, twig, bit of string, and gift of moss was collected, carried, and used to build a home and birthplace. A bird’s fragility and strength give me hope.

Mixed media art by Penny Maday
Broken Wing (charcoal, pencil, watercolor, metallic and acrylic paints, 40×30) by Penny Maday

“The layers of rich teals, turquoise, and soft blues evoke special memories for me—days of blue skies, ocean depths, and my husband’s beautiful blue eyes.

“This work is semi-representational but has strong abstract elements where color, the play of paint, abstract patterns, and the graphic nature of line come into play. I’ve always thought that color should evoke an emotional response in art; it contains an element of surprise, power, and unexpected magic that can’t be captured or expressed in any other way.”

The image alone is beautiful, but coupled with Penny’s words, it’s taken to a new level of meaning. Sometimes it’s difficult to use language to describe how art makes us feel but, I believe, that’s one reason that art is so important.

Here’s to a colorful life and unending art,

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Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

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