The primary colors are blue, red and yellow. By mixing the primaries it is possible to obtain secondary colors. Thus, the mixture of red and blue produces purple; yellow and blue create green and yellow and red form orange. This entire range of colors expresses a chromatic circle , which goes from red to purple in a progressive way. Complementary Colors
Thus, a complementary color is one that within a chromatic circle is in front of another color. In this way, the complementary color of red is green, the complementary color of blue is orange and purple is complementary to yellow.
The usefulness of complementary colors
Inside the color wheel are the primary and secondary colors . In this circle it is possible to prove the complement of each one of them. This is to know the harmony and contrast between the different shades.
If two complementary colors appear combined in a painting, this combination produces an intense visual impact , as both colors are opposites. Thus, in an illustration in which red appears and its complement is green, the resulting image has a distinct contrast. The same would happen in an image in which blue and orange were predominant.
An analysis of the color circle
The order of colors in a color wheel is not random. Thus, each color has an opposite that we could call “its enemy”. The knowledge of complementary colors is essential for any creative activity, because it must be taken into account that two complementary colors mixed together form a color that does not exist in nature, producing a rejection in our brain .
In painters’ slang, when two complementary colors are mixed, one speaks of a dirty color
Let’s suppose that we mix yellow and blue with the same proportion of ink. We could get a kind of brown and its appearance would trigger a rejection in the observer’s brain. Therefore, knowledge of the color wheel is very useful for not mismatching colors.
However, if the complementary colors are mixed sparingly, the final result can be satisfactory (for this to be possible, the proportion of both colors must be correctly measured). In this way, when you add a little blue to the yellow you get a more opaque yellow.
In summary , complementary colors don’t look good when they mix the same proportion, but they are compatible and create harmony when they are mixed correctly and in the ideal proportion.