Meditation on Color

Audio June 14, 2023
“If you are only moved by color relationships, you are missing the point. I am interested in expressing the big emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom.”
Mark Rothko

Make time for your mental health, and enjoy our new meditation on color inspired by Mark Rothko’s Yellow and Blue (Yellow, Blue on Orange).

Step-by-Step Meditation

  1. Pause and look at this large vertical canvas by Mark Rothko.
  2. Notice the color field he used in this work: yellow juxtaposed with blue, layered upon orange.
  3. What emotions do you think these colors might have represented for the artist? What emotions do they evoke for you as a viewer?
  4. How do these colors make you feel when they are placed next to one another?
  5. Close your eyes and imagine your mind’s eye as a blank canvas.
  6. Imagine the following colors and notice any emotions that arise along with them: dark blue, green, purple, bright orange, soft pink, yellow.
  7. Let this color visualization go.
  8. As you continue to move throughout your day, notice how the different colors you see around you make you feel.

This work is on view in Scaife Gallery 11.

Image: Mark Rothko, American, 1903–1970, Yellow and Blue (Yellow, Blue on Orange), c. 1955; oil on canvas, Overall 102 ¼ × 66 11/16 × 1 ⅜ in 259.72 × 169.39 × 3.49 cm, Fellows Fund, Women’s Committee Acquisition Fund, and Patrons Art Fund, 74.55 © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York