April 27, 2008

(152) Complements: Yellow and Violet
Complementary pairs such as these appear opposite each other on the color wheel, so if either appears too intense, it can be toned down, or neutralized by adding a small amount of the other. Added together, they make really clean neutrals. Placed next to each other in a painting, they intensify the other, and seem to vibrate.

The studies on the top and bottom left are mixtures of the two complements in varying amounts of each with white. To experiment a little further, I added a small amount of red-orange to all the mixtures in the top right study, completely altering the feeling of the day, and appearing as a late afternoon sunset. I can see how this combination would work well in a Grand Canyon painting. In the bottom right study, the small addition of blue-green offers lush greens that would work well with spring/summer trees. I chose these latter color additions because red-orange and blue-green are exactly halfway between yellow and violet on each side of the color wheel, and they too, are complimentary pairs to each other. I'm really enjoying these color discoveries--pretty cool stuff, indeed. Normally when I mix colors, it is a push/pull effort where I adjust a mixture by warming, cooling, lightening, darkening until I get what I want, but this type of mixing offers less steps which equals less muddy colors. (and did I mention it is fun?)
"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow"...Ralph Waldo Emerson

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