Basics 3 - Complimentary Color: Red Mug

As I work my way through basic art exercises from my college years, I finished my second sample from the color wheel.  This painting is done with a Complimentary Color Scheme. 
Let me explain....
Complimentary colors are colors that appear across from each other on the color wheel.  In the painting above; the background is Blue Green and if you look at the color wheel below you see that directly across from it is Red Orange, which is what the mug is painted with.  (Keep in mind that there was a bit of a color change with the photography.)

Complimentary color schemes are usually loud or vibrant because the colors intensify each other.  When you tone, tint or shade the color by adding gray, white or black, the vibrancy quiets down a bit but the colors still encourage each other to seek attention.  Complimentary colors are not just opposites on the color wheel but are generally combinations of both warm and cool colors. 
In my mug painting, the warm Red Orange of the mug is a warm color and the Blue Green background is a cool color.   (more of that in a future post)
Complimentary colors also can be used to create shades or tones.  For example, I mixed some Red Orange into the Blue Green to create the cast shadow from the mug.  Adding the complimentary color created a darker shade of Blue Green. 

The color wheel works for all color theory, such as decorating a room, choosing an outfit or setting a colorful table.  So even if you aren't a painter, creating your own color wheel can help you with understanding color.  AND it only takes 3 colors to accomplish a wheel, red, yellow & blue so it won't cost a fortune in paint. 
:)  Tracy


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