|"Hostas", Acrylic on Paper|
©Chris Breier 2013
Purple and yellow are often thought of as complementary colors but green is the mixing complement of certain shades of purple. The key phrase here is “certain shades.” The difficulty of working with and describing color is that it’s subjective. Josef Albers sums it up best in the following quotation:
"If one says 'red' (the name of a color) and there are 50 people listening, It can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.
Even when a certain color is specified which all listeners have seen innumerable times—such as the red of the Coca-Cola signs which is the same red all over the country—they will still think of many different reds."
Interaction of Color -Josef Albers
If I say green and purple are mixing complements then which shades of green and purple am I talking about?
|Liquitex Light Green Permanent and Dioxazine Purple|
Many artists go through phases of learning color theory and then they work to make that knowledge more intuitive. After completing hundreds of paintings, color mixing becomes second nature and it will become intuitive as to what colors are needed to match a color.
When it comes to choosing successful color schemes for a painting, I think it’s more practical to think in terms of warm versus cool colors without being too exacting about it. Again “warm” and “cool” are subjective. (As I’ve written about before it’s possible for certain colors to appear warm or cool based upon what colors are next to it.)