Choosing a Color Palette for a Project – Complementary

Artful Adventures Complementary ColorsWe often have color palettes we know we are going to use, and sometimes we need something new or different to try for a project, whether it’s a scrapbook layout, an art journal page, or anything we are doing with color. Have you ever wondered why certain unlikely colors look great together, or how a color combination became so popular for a holiday or season?  Let’s look at the old Christmas standby of red and green, and look at another method of selecting a color palette – complementary color schemes.

A complimentary color scheme is based on using colors which are directly opposite each other on the color wheel.  So, you can see that red and green are exactly that – complementary colors.
Color Wheel Complementary

In the case of Christmas, you can see that on a green tree or wreath, red makes a perfect color for decorating with green’s complementary color.

Sometimes a certain color or color scheme can elicit immediate connections because they are so familiar to us being used for the same thing over and over. It often makes us want to steer clear of a particular color scheme because of the immediate connection we have. For instance, in the United States, it’s hard to use a red, white and blue color scheme if it is not for a patriot theme (not that it is a complementary scheme, but you get the idea of how different colors schemes can become engrained in our thoughts). However, you can often use one of these combinations in a new way by varying the intensity of the colors.

Here is a scrapbook layout I did using green and red.  Not only is not Christmas, it’s a completely different season. Because red is the complementary color of green, it brings out the color of the vehicle and the summer’s green grass.

Artful Adventures Complementary Colors

Make a twist on a color scheme and share it by linking here in the comments, or share it in our Artful Adventures Facebook Group!

Previous posts in this series of methods to select a color scheme, discuss using a triad, a monochrome, or an analogous color scheme..

4 Responses to Choosing a Color Palette for a Project – Complementary

  1. Hmmmmm I am going to have to try this color wheel challenge out Kristie. I have been trying to add more colors to my scrapbooking because I tend to use blue a lot as it is my favorite color!

    • Beth, it’s really does make you come up with colors combos that you wouldn’t normally use! Sometimes you really come up with something unexpectedly are crazy about!

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