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All About Color
When placed next to each other, complementary colors create lively, dramatic contrasts that can add interest and excitement to a painting. In contrast, you can also mix in a little of a color’s complement to dull the color. For example, mute a bright red by adding a little of its complementary color, green.
When complementary colors appear together in nature, they create striking scenes—for example, red berries among green leaves, and orange sun against a blue sky, or the yellow center of a purple iris.
Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color (or of black). And variations of color values help create the illusion of depth and form in a painting. To expand your range of values, you need to lighten and darken your colors. With opaque media, like acrylic and oil paints, you lighten your colors by adding white and darken them by adding black. With watercolor, you can still darken colors by adding black; but to lighten them, you must add water. The more water you add, the lighter the value will be.
MAKING VALUE SCALESAlthough these scales don’t show all the light values possible, you can get a good idea of the different values you can produce. Pure pigment is shown at left, and more water is added for successively lighter values.