Monthly Archives: November 2014
The split-complementary color scheme is just what it says: the complement of one color is split on either side so that it is a 3-color scheme. What happens is that one color temperature becomes dominant and the other is subordinate. Another way of looking at is is to select three analogous colors and then look for the complement of the middle color. In this way, a harmonious relationship is provided as well as an accent color that enlivens the composition. This color scheme is found in nature most often with the hues blue, green, and orange.
To choose your colors, ask yourself what mood you want to convey. Cool colors convey a feeling of peace and calm while warm colors could be used to show activity, vibrancy, brightness. One or two colors could be neutralized while the accent color is used in its intensity.
In my first example, I used a split-complementary scheme of yellow, orange-red, and blue violet. The analogous colors where used predominantly, and the blue-violet was subdued and used only sparingly. It’s a hot summer day!
In my second example, I used a split-complementary scheme of red-violet, blue-violet, and yellow. The warms are dominant, and the yellow is partly subdued. A night scene is suggested. This is a good exercise for you to try – let me know how it turns out!
In this abstracted 16 x 16″ landscape, I was trying to use one of the six basic value schemes mentioned by Edgar Whitney. The scheme was a little dark with a lot of light in medium values. I seldom use this value scheme; that’s why I wanted to try it. I also wanted to continue breaking up the picture plane into sections, but still be able to lead the eye movement to the center of interest (the barn in the upper right area). As usual, I worked out the value and color scheme in my sketchbook and decided to use a split-complementary color scheme: blue, red orange, orange, and yellow orange. The acrylic colors I used were Cadmium Orange, Hansa Yellow, Indian Yellow, Thalo Blue, Prussian Blue, Raw sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cadium Red Light and Titanium White. (At least, that’s what I think I used — hard to remember now!)
Here’s a new painting — an experiment, if you will. This is acrylic on 16 x 16″ clayboard panel. First, I worked out the design in my sketchbook although the inserted images changed as I painted on the panel. Clayboard is not like canvas; I learned that I had to use several layers of acrylic to get the texture I desired. I remembered that Terrance Corbin used to divide up his surface into smaller sections, and I love doing that! Guess I’m an organizer at heart! At any rate, I tried to vary the sizes of the segments and still have a way that the viewer could get through the entire piece. That was done by the narrow pieces running through and the color repetitions. I used only blue, yellow, orange, and green with some white, mixing the neutrals from these colors. it was a lot of fun!
What do you think?
The colors featured here are blue-green, green, and yellow-green. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel present a very harmonious, related color scheme. One color needs to be dominant, another as subordinate, and the other should be in between. Lighter and darker values as well as their neutrals can be used. The colors you choose can express different moods – for example, colors on the red side of the wheel can express warmth, joy, excitement. Paintings in which the colors have all been neutralized can suggest a mood of a foggy, misty, or rainy landscape. In the study below, I chose to use yellow, yellow-orange, and orange as my three analogous colors. Yellow is dominant, orange is subordinate, and yellow-orange is the intermediate.
As it states on the left — use of analogous colors lead to a “harmonious but potentially boring” color scheme. As you can see in my example below, it would be much better if another accent color had been used — maybe a bright blue for interest! Remember, these are just studies — learning how to use different color schemes — don’t be tied down to them!