Perfect Color Choices

I have recently been perusing a book on color theory. It’s called Perfect Color Choices for the Artist, written by Michael Wilcox. There are many different theories about color harmony, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It appears "perfect" is a relative term.

Skeins of Rose - underlayment in progress
Skeins of Rose, 18x24 - in progress

One system that I use frequently is using analogous colors and accenting the main pictorial with touches of complementary color. Remember that all colors can be reduced in intensity by adding their complement. The artist gets a richer color, IMHO, by using the complement, instead of black, to “grey” a color or reduce its chroma.

Here is a sunset painting in progress. I have used the orange for streetlights that is complementary to all the blue and red violets in the scene. The bright reds and red-violets of the sunset create a focal point and are analogous to the blue violet trees and hillside in darkness. Analogous colors are those close on the color wheel and compliments are on the opposite side of the wheel. Oil painters mix all our colors, which is so much fun! Try new mixes and enjoy the process. Let me know what works for you.


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