To explore my personal color sense I am analyzing the color schemes of painting that continue to evoke an emotion.

Pansies, watercolor en plein air

This little painting was done during one of Betty’s en plein air watercolor classes in 1978.  I recall that it felt as if it painted itself.  The yellow/purple complements are dramatic.  In their pure form they present contrast of both color and value.  I thought of this again when I saw last night’s post (November 7, 2010) by Carol Marine, yellow green apples against red purple cloth reflecting redder purple in a metal bowl.  Her painting took my breath away.  For me, the strength is in the yellow/purple contrast in spite of the fact that the apples are mostly green.  I find the greens and red in the painting are supporting the main characters of yellow and purples.  The yellow is only an accent, yet for me, a focal point.

In the watercolor above, the purple is an accent, but also critical in creating the impact of the painting.  The purple allows the yellow to glow in all its glory.  The muted greens act as a neutral transition between the dominant yellows and the purple accents.  They also provide the dark values that carve the shape of the pansy petals without being front stage, clamoring for your attention.  I consider this a semitriadic complementary color scheme, two complementary colors plus one color that is two places away from one of them. Yellow and purple are the complements, green is two places away from the yellow.