Color Schemes


Color Schemes
August 2015



©2015 Jan Fordyce, In Motion, 40x60 oil on canvas, $4200
This painting from the water series is inspired by the movement and motion water creates. I was also drawn to the green analogous color scheme with a touch of red violet, the complement.


© 2015 Jan Fordyce, Swirls in Blue, 36x60 oil on canvas, $4000

This painting is a study in the swirling motion water creates. In this painting the analogous colors of blue, blue-green and green were explored with hints of the complement orange.

Color Schemes


Color is one of the most universally appreciated elements in a work of art. We relate to color on an emotional level, a subconscious level, and a personal level. Color can be pleasing to the eye, or unsettling in the use of color combinations. We relate to the color of objects in nature and identify with colors of certain objects. Color can provoke emotions or be calming and soothing.


Color plays a major role in all of my paintings. Two of the color schemes I use a lot in my work are analogous colors and complementary colors. 


Analogous colors are colors side by side on the color wheel. Analogous colors give a painting a sense of harmony because they are close in color relationship, sharing similar attributes. Examples of analogous colors are yellow-green, green, blue-green and blue. 


Complements are colors opposite each other on the color wheel. When complements are put side by side in a painting they create a tension that brings each other out and makes the colors more vibrant. Examples of complements are red and green, yellow and violet, and blue and orange. There are various intermediate complementary schemes such as yellow green and red violet, yellow orange and blue violet and so on around the color wheel.


Since most of my recent work centers around water, I have been using the complements of blue and touches of orange, or painting with shades of green to yellow green and adding touches of red violet. My handy companion in the studio is my color wheel. It helps me think about which direction I may want to go in picking a color scheme and how to mix colors on the palette.


Notice the colors you are drawn to and how you put them together. Also notice how nature puts together often the most beautiful color combinations around.



The Color Wheel. Notice the analogous colors side by side each other. They are very similar in tone and temperature. The complementary colors are across the color wheel from each other, and are opposite in tone and temperature.

Ellie the studio assistant, at the ready with the color wheel.

Around Town

Space Gallery’s current show is, “Beyond the Plane.” The show features several gallery artists using the idea of plane and challenging the notion of two-dimensional space. Artist Pat Aaron’s work was inspired by her recent residency in Hawaii. The work is done in encaustic, a medium using melted, colored, beeswax to layer and paint. Her work is large and very impressive. My favorite is “Hanalei Bay,” inspired by Hanalei Bay in Kauai. It is simply stunning. Beautiful color!

The show will be up through September 5, 2015. Stop by and check it out at Space Gallery 400 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, Colorado.


Copyright © 2015 Jan Fordyce, All rights reserved.