Thursday 15 May 2014

The Pensive Palette: Opposites Attract

The Pensive Palette: Opposites Attract

'Annika At One' | Aug 26, 2001 | 16”x12” Acrylic on board

When I decided to paint our eldest daughter on her first birthday, I chose to work in a fairly simple and classic portrait format.  I wanted the emphasis to be on her without a lot of distractions…
In order to keep the painting interesting and alive, I made color choices from a design point of view.  In this case, I employed complimentary or “opposite” colors.  These are the colors that are across from each other on the color wheel and are often used to enhance contrast. 

The main complementary pair I used was blue and orange, but there is also the yellow/purple pairing.  In order to make all of these colors work together, I chose blue to be my dominant color so the four colors wouldn’t compete.  I also made sure to desaturate most of the colors to keep them all fairly quiet.  Orange, the complement of my dominant blue, is the most saturated color.  This was done to help emphasize her hair and the shovel and create visual points of interest for the eye to go between.

I made the shadow side of her face a very subtle purple to give our eyes a break from the dominant blue.  In order to give this purple shadow a bit of color harmony, the background on the right side of the painting tends toward yellow.  Because I kept these colors quite desaturated, they do not look garish.  In fact, if you look closely you will see all of the colors of the rainbow in the painting, but desaturation keeps the color palette—and the final painting— in balance.

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