One of the first things someone notices about watercolor artwork is the colors. This usually indicates right off the bat if the person is just starting out in watercolor or is more advanced. Why? Because the beginning watercolorist will stick to the colors in the palette she/he is given verses the advanced watercolorist will rarely use the color straight from the palette.
So how can you up your watercolor color game? By understanding and knowing the importance of COMPLEMENTARY COLORS. Let's read the definition for complementary colors - are any two hues (colors) across from each other on the color wheel. (We are going to stick to primary and secondary colors for this exercise but this can be done with tertiary colors as well).
Each one is made up of a warm and a cool color.
Now lets do a value scale using the complementary colors Blue and Orange
If you mix the correct amount of both blue and orange, you will end up with a "neutral" color or in other words a grey. If you mix more orange than blue, you will end up with a "warm grey." If you mix more blue, you will end up with a "cool grey" both of which are extremely useful.
Why is this so important? Lots of reasons but I'll stick to three: Shadows, Intensity, and Contrast!
1) You now can add SHADOWS to your objects which will literally bring your object to life by turning it from two-dimensional to three-dimensional!
2) You can create duller colors which will make your other colors POP, even more, when they are side by side; in other words, you are creating beautiful color INTENSITY!
3) You don't have to mix complementary colors together; instead, you can place them side by side on your painting to produce the most significant color CONTRAST!
Want to learn more about watercolor and how to create beautiful landscapes? Join me for Watercolor Landscapes a 2-Hour Course where we dive into composition, techniques, color theory, trees, mountains, and lots of demos! You'll also get a free PDF downloadable worksheets to use alongside the tutorials!