Saturday, February 2, 2013

Complimentary color & contrasts

Anyone who knows me well, knows I am passionate about color. Color is my thing. I could talk about it & teach others about it all day long...& honestly, I love all colors.

Yep! It is true. Not in every application of course...color must be used accurately & appropriately, but when you use color, as I have, you can see there is a place in this world for every single color. As I explained to a client the other day...that ugly dirty brownish green tone you hate so much, might be the perfect choice for a shadow in the painting of leaves on a plant, for without it you would never see the bright emerald highlights that make those leaves stand out looking crisp & glossy

This could also be an analogy for life...we get the good with the bad & we appreciate the good so much more. The same goes for the ugly & the lovely things in life. We value everything more because of the contrasts and it is the contrasts that add interest to our lives.

Contrasts are often used to describe the value of something, dark against light, or for instance...black against  white, which is considered the most extreme of contrasts.When I google contrasts I get "noun-The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association."

This means that many things are contrasts to one another...textures, elements that are opposites, will all create levels of contrast...some extreme while some are more subtle.

Color also contrasts. It seems that people only consider color contrasts in the hue levels, such as lightness, verses darkness, but in my opinion anytime you pair warm colors with cool colors...regardless of lightness or darkness...or hue level, you are dealing with contrast. That means complimentary colors by default are contrasting colors.

Contrasting colors compliment each other because they enhance the others colors properties by emphasizing them. This contrast also creates the highest energy & impact.

So for example if you put the color yellow next to a yellow orange, because of the relationship between the two colors...in that they share a yellow gene so to speak...they look vibrate and happy together but in a way they also balance each other out.

If you put that same yellow with its direct opposite on the color wheel (violet) you would most likely find that it appears to be a brighter & warmer shade of yellow than it did when it was next to its warm family member orange yellow.

This use of complimentary colors has been studied & used for years by artists and is found in some of the most famous of paintings. These color combinations are probably the most used but also the most misunderstood types of colors pairings, because the intensity when combined can often be intimidating.

Not everyone enjoys the drama that is often a result of using complementary color combinations nor do they realize that these colors can be used in a more subtle fashion & still have impact.

Here is an example I ran across yesterday of a complimentary contrast. Each of these photo was one above the other on my facebook news feed & I was stunned by the gorgeous almost magical intensity of them.

Do you see Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night? These photo's are very reminiscent of the famous painting especially the dress by Rodarte which is directly inspired by it. Vincent van Gogh was one of the great artists who knew how to utilize complementary colors to create the greatest impact. Here we have the complementary contrast between the warmth of yellow and the coolness of an almost violet, blue.


A beautiful bokeh style photograph inside of forest filled with fireflies by Rei Ohara alongside Josephine Skriver wearing Rodarte's SS12 Starry Night Pleated cotton Dress in the Spring 2012 issue of Lula

If you want to learn more about my designing world feel free to follow me on my new blog Inspired to create by...or on Examiner online & have a lovely day!