In the last couple of weeks, my blogs addressed dark tones and color distribution. Color distribution is the industry phrase for the Law of Chromatic Distribution.
In this blog, please note that the discussion is about color basics and its application. The basics are applicable to all the arts, as well as to interior design.
A room is divided up by four areas:
- Dominant Areas—Walls, floor and ceiling
- Medium Areas—Draperies and large upholstered furniture, bedcoverings, etc.
- Small Areas—Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, table covers, etc.
- Accents—Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lampstands or shades, pattern motifs in wallpapers and textiles.
A color scheme is principally formed by the color used in the dominant and medium areas. The colors in the small areas and accents add punch, but are of less importance in the general effect of the composition. They can accentuate the colors used in the larger areas and sometimes help to tie the colors together for unity and harmony.
The basic color schemes: Monochromatic, monotone, complementary, analogous.
A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color on most every room surface. In this type of scheme, various darker shades, grayer tones, and paler tints of the main color may be included in the palette. In addition, the one color is often paired with white or another neutral. For example, a monochromatic room in gray might use single shade of gray paired with white. Yet it might also include dark blue upholstery fabric, pale gray walls, medium gray draperies in contrast with the walls, sometimes edging the draperies with a contrasting fringe or piping and welt the seams of the upholstered pieces in the same manner, also use a patterned area rug that includes both gray and white. The window and door trim as well as the ceiling might be painted in white.
A monotone color scheme uses a single neutral color, such as gray or taupe, in the same tones, values and intensity. Although it is well unified, to avoid monotony, add accents or create textural variety in fabrics, such as velvet, satin, tweeds, linen, tapestries, etc., or in types of furnishings, such as plexiglass, glass, chrome, bronze, or a variety of exotic woods. This type of color scheme can be elegant by its simplicity. It is useful as a backdrop for art of exceptional merit.
A complementary color scheme uses colors opposite each other on the color wheel, or the complement, such as green and red, blue and orange and purple and yellow. The distribution of these colors would vary in tone and value, as in pale green and soft pink, etc. In this scheme, a more agreeable harmony will be attained if each color is slightly tinged with similar colors to make them more appealing. So in that green and red scheme, it’s more visually appealing if the red is slightly tinged with yellow, (red-russet) and the green is also slightly tinged with yellow (citron). Or if the red is on the blue side (re-mulberry) the green should also be on the blue side (green-slate). For color
harmony, the same principle should be applied to the other complementary schemes and the proper color may be easily selected by inspecting the color wheel. Here’s a great website for you to explore about complementary colors: http://color-wheel-artist.com/complementary-colors.html.
And for my artist colleagues, please note in the color circles what happens when you mix two complementary colors together on your palette. The three primaries when mixed with their secondary colors (complementary colors) all do the same thing, they neutralize each other. Yet, placed side-by-side they intensify each other. The color schemes can also be used in your paintings.
An analogous color scheme are any three adjoining hues in a 12 color wheel, or any three of six adjoining colors in a wheel of 24, as in the Miami fireworks image above. The colors can be used in any tonal or chromatic (intensity) values, as long as the law of chromatic distribution is maintained, (medium intensity on the dominant areas, etc.). In this type of scheme the colors close to each other always harmonize well. Using three colors of mutual tonal relationship is the safest selection. To avoid monotony, tonal variety is helpful, and it’s usually better to use one of the tones to dominate the others, by limiting the color of the walls to one color and repeat in small accents in other areas.
A basic color scheme will use two colors that look appealing together. More advanced color schemes involve several related colors in “Analogous” combination, for example, text with such colors as red, yellow, and orange arranged together on a black background in a magazine article. The addition of light blue creates an “Accented Analogous” color scheme.
There is much to explore in the color world, but hopefully, this blog gives you some understanding about how to color your life! Feel free to ask questions . . .
Fireworks: By Averette at English Wikipedia – Digital photo taken by Marc Averette.Transferred from en.Wikipedia; en:File:Miamifireworks.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10573309