My Painting Style Mimics Master Impressionists' Complimentary Color Scheme

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

I love the loose brush strokes of the Master Impressionists.

Their use of complimentary colors is also memorable and worth mimicking.

Complimentary colors are color across from each other on the color wheel.

Claude Monet said this about complementary colors in 1888:

"Color makes its impact from contrasts rather than from its inherent qualities....the primary colors seem more brilliant when they are in contrast with their complementary colors."

This Impressionistic painters, Monet and van Gogh, were very clever in how they used complementary colors to create stunning visual effects.

Vincent van Gogh, Still Life - Vase With Red Gladiolas, 1886

Above, the contrast between red and green is used to draw attention to the vibrant flowers.

Self portrait, 1889

In this portrait of van Gogh he used a simple combination of blues and oranges to create a very striking contrast. His beard almost jumps out of the canvas at you.

Claude Monet, Grainstacks At Sunset, Snow Effect, 1890-1891

In this painting by Claude Monet you have a striking contrast between the dull blues of the haystacks and the vibrant and rich oranges in the sky.

Being inspired by these Impressionistic masters, I used the orange - blue complimentary color scheme to add drama to these birch tree pair of paintings.

birch landscape shadows through trees original oil by Kate Moynihan artist
'Spring Dawn' 48 x 72"

The deep, inky shadows and the lively tangerine field grass are captured with another Impressionistic technique, the palette knife. Layering these rich colors add texture and depth.

Texture close-up of palette knife technique

Below is a softer color scheme, yet the light orange/ pale blue complimentary color scheme maintains the impact, letting the green leaves take a secondary priority in the painting below titled: 'Barely Spring.'

The power of complimentary colors works in your home decor, too.

To jazz up your room place use this trick of colors across from each other on the color wheel.

The orange accent wall orange with green chairs adds energy to this game room. How fun to let the Fall Birch Giclee print 'pop' with its orange/green complimentary color scheme, too.

Shades of blue are soothing, and yet the ONE orange pillow adds interest to the room.

Although my abstract art is in soft shades of blues, too, the touches of orange add energy.

So get comfortable with a complimentary color scheme

Use a color wheel!

Color wheels are available at your local art supply store, Michael's, Hobby Lobby or check out my personal favorite here.

Do you prefer softer colors?

Click this link to read more: One - Color (Monochromatic) Decor for Tranquility in Your Home

For a sneak peak example,click this blog post: 2 Quick & Easy Tips for Using The Color Wheel for Instant Results