Contrasting complementary colors are what liven up our work. It’s elementary to Club Creative Studio. It’s natural and second nature to mix our art clays in contrasting colors within our hand-rolled clay beads and within our hand-torched glass beads. Complementary colors are what brings the eye forward to reveal the “pop” of brilliance when presented together. Complementary colors are the colors that appear directly opposite one another on the color wheel. It is found in the dynamic contrast in hues within our art clay color mixing sessions, and glass application choices in our glass beads.
I have taken this visual test and recall sharing this art test of sorts to my art students and it works: stare at a single color for a few minutes and then close your eyes, its complement may appear in your mind as an after image. It is because the human mind craves the balance that the complementary color provides. When our art clay colors are being mixed, it is never from a “recipe” of adding a specific measurement of this color and a specific measurement of this color to end up with said color. I guess that is where the word natural comes into play to describe my color mixing technique. I feel that I must have a natural skill to combine colors together in correct proportions to be able to come out with strong color schemes, usually on the first try. After mixing the color combinations I then begin with the layering of the clays into my workable canes of colors and designs. The color wheel reference is used from time to time to try different combinations.
Mixing colors with my art clay is a balance of using contrasting colors, determining the amount of each color I want to use and considerations of the values and intensity of each color I want to use in the entire bead design. If I am satisfied with one batch or swatch, I can set it aside to use a pinch of it in other combinations. By mixing a lighter or darker version I can change the complements. I am also able to enjoy experimenting with different saturation for intensity changes.
The colors of choice for my hand-torched glass beads are a bit more straight forward since I rely on the initial glass rod color interactions and some of the combinations are beyond my control. I am in control however, of the color combinations to use together. When I begin, I keep in mind contrasting color areas for the contrasts I desire by partnering vivid colors with low-intensity tones of their complement. It is a carefully planned yet and instinctual calculation of proportioned color schemes combined to liven up and reflect on the color wheel.
If you are stuck for finding inspiration with complementary colors…look toward nature and the colors you will enjoy there in a flower garden. Notice purple flowers with yellow centers, reds and pink hues against green foliage, and a backdrop of blue sky behind brown and orange tinted rocks or pebbles.