Complements are wonderful and essential in the art world. Specifically, I am talking about complementary colors, colors that lie opposite each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors put life in a painting. They invite you in and hold you in an hypnotic trance, if only for a moment.
Warmth complementing coolness; complements make skin tones look alive and healthy. They make snowy winter landscapes look warm and inviting. They brighten highlights and deepen shadows. When complements are mixed together they create luscious, rich neutrals.
Complementary colors are fundamental in creating beautiful, eye-catching art. I continue to study the works of others and consciously apply the lessons. I especially love to study the works of John Singer Sargent. He was a master at the use of complementary color. He made it look so simple.
The use of compliments does not come easily, however. It takes practice…lots and lots of practice.
Having a color wheel within sight is a great way to begin and an invaluable tool. Refer to it often and with practice, the use of compliments will come more naturally. You will develop an eye for them and will need to refer to the color wheel less and less.
Try it. Your pieces will be all the more intriguing, more alive…I’m just saying.