Watercolor schemes – Complementary is a color scheme using two colors that lie directly across from each other on the color wheel, such as Yellow and Purple. A straight line could be drawn connecting the two colors on the opposite sides of the wheel. They are considered complements or opposites.
Complementary pairs consist of one Primary and one Secondary color, or two Tertiary colors. One color in the pair is warm and the other is cool.
When the two complementary colors are placed side-by-side in a composition the colors intensify each other. Mixing two complementary colors together results in a neutralized color to a grayed color. A variety of neutrals and grays can be mixed by varying the proportion of one color to the other.
In a composition, make one of the complementary colors the main color. Add interest by mixing small amounts of its complement into the main color to create neutrals and grays. Add accents using the opposite color. Place the two colors side-by-side or near each other at the focal point of the composition to draw the viewer’s eye to the center of interest.
Color Wheel Complements
- Yellow < > Purple
- Yellow-Green < > Red-Purple
- Green < > Red
- Blue-Green < > Red-Orange
- Blue < > Orange
- Yellow-Orange < > Blue-Purple
For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.
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