Pastel Techniques: choosing a color scheme
When deciding on a color scheme for a pastel painting, think about values, shades, and tones. More intense or pure colors are more exciting and toned colors are more soothing. Also, certain colors, called complements or complementary opposites (they are opposite one another on the color wheel), add an extra sense of vibrancy when they are placed near one another. The values you choose, the level of intensity you employ, and where you place your colors will all depend on the feeling you want to convey in your painting.
This field is a great example of how complementary pastel colors create vibrancy and excitement. The overall color scheme is orange and red, but green was added—the complement of red—as an accent color. A technique for seeing how the complements react is to cover the green with your hand and notice how much less potent the red seems without it.
Artwork © 2003 Ken Goldman