Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. So here’s my color wheel and you can see that the colors red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple are opposite each other, which means that they are complements to each other.
If you place two colors that are complementary side by side, they’ll intensify each other, as you can see here.
If you place two colors that are complementary side by side, they’ll intensify each other, as you can see here. any complementary colors together, you’ll get brown.
If any color is too bright, I can mute it by simply mixing it with its complement.
Say I’m mixing up a color for someone’s flesh and I’ve added to much red. I don’t have to start over . I can just add some green and it’ll bring the color right back to neutral.
I can even use complementary colors to correct mistakes even when paint is already on my canvas through glazing. If I think something is too orang e for example, I’ll glaze blue over it.
I make sure my complementary color is thinned down quite a bit, though. Otherwise, I could end up with too much of that color and then I’d have a whole other problem on my hands.
When I’m painting someone with red or blonde hair, unless it’s a dye job, I always use green and purple, which of course are the complements of red and yellow, to make the colors more neutral.
For example in this portrait of the couple in Balboa Park, I mixed green into the red to paint the woman's hair.
and in this portrait of Kate Moss, I mixed purple into the yellow I used for Kate's hair.
So I hoped this helped you understand how complementary colors work and how they can benefit you in your artwork.
That's all for now. I'll talk to you again next week.
Painter of portraits and wildlife