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The Mystery of Colour – part II

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A COLOUR SCHEME IN ART IS THE CHOICE OF COLOURS USED IN THE DESIGN OF AN ARTWORK. COLOUR SCHEMES ARE USED TO CREATE AESTHETIC HARMONY IN ART AND DESIGN. EVERY COLOUR ON THE COLOUR INTERACTS DIFFERENTLY WITH THE OTHER COLOURS, AND IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHICH COMBINATIONS WORK WELL TOGETHER. HERE ARE THE 7 MOST COMMONLY USED COLOUR SCHEMES IN ART THAT EVERY ARTIST SHOULD KNOW. UNDERSTANDING HOW THESE COLOUR COMBINATIONS WORK WILL HELP YOU USE COLOUR EFFECTIVELY IN YOUR ART WHETHER YOU ARE GOING TO FOLLOW THE RULES OR BREAK THEM.

MonochromaticA monochromatic artwork uses shades of one colour – like red or blue, these artworks have a great deal of harmony. This colour combo is the simplest to use, the interest here is the contrast of dark to light with a single colour or texture.

Complementary A complementary scheme uses two colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel (like blue and orange), this can create a real vibrancy in a painting and makes the colours actually look more saturated. the opposite colours will create the highest contrast when placed right next to each other. This combo works best when one is the dominant colour in about a ratio of 60-80% to 30-40%, that makes sure that their not combative.

Split ComplementaryA split complementary colour scheme  uses three colours. One base colour and the two colours on either side of its complementary colour on the colour wheel (i.e. blue, yellow-orange, and red-orange). This creates more harmony and less contrast than the complementary colours. Split complementary artworks have a more natural aesthetic about them.

Analogous or Dominance HarmonyAn analogous colour scheme uses 3-4 colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel – like orange and yellow. An analogous piece of art will have great colour harmony, but not a lot of vibrancy as complementary colours. It can be similar to a monochrome scheme but offers a little more variation.

Triadic This colour combination uses 3 colours that are evenly spaced on the colour wheel (i.e. yellow, red and blue). Artworks that use triadic colour will have a lot of vibrancy and contrast, but still maintain colour harmony. With this colour scheme, it is a good idea to use one of the colours as the dominant colour, and the other two as accents or more neutral shades. This will help prevent an overbearing contrast.

Tetradic or Double Split Complementary This colour scheme uses 4 colours that are placed in a rectangle around the colour wheel. They are really two pairs of complementary colours that are close to each other – like blue/orange and red/green. Tetradic paintings are full of possibilities for variations, they also work well when one of the colours is the dominant colo

Square This scheme is very similar to the tetradic, but uses two pairs of complementary colours that are evenly spaced on the colour wheel. All the colours here are equal in strength, and this works best when all are evenly balanced.

Well, I hope this gives you a little more insight into using colour for your artworks. These of course are only suggestions, but are good starting points for your art. My best advice would be to continue to experiment with colour and see what works for you. Not every painting or painter fits into the same square peg in the square hole !

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