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Using the colour wheel, Complementary colours are directly opposite one another.

For example:

Red is opposite Green

Blue is opposite Orange

What does this mean using Complementary Colours?

It means that combinations of complementary colours are especially dynamic together since they play up each other’s intensity which means they are more pleasing to the eye.

All Colours have 3 characteristics

Hue – The name of the particular colour.

Value – The lightness or darkness of a colour.

Intensity – (Chroma) Is the intensity of the colour, how bright or dull a colour is.

Tint – Colour plus White

Tone – Colour plus Grey

Shade – Colour plus Black

Neutral Grey – Balanced combination of White and Black.


Greys are essential to your painting depth and structure.

Every colour has its highest Chroma Saturation point or intensity.

Browns are actually dark reds and orange, where the intensity and value has been lowered due to mixing.

Anytime you want to lower the intensity of the colour you can add the Complementary Colour. (For example to make Red less intense add Green, continue adding and you will have a brown this is known as a greyed Red)

Remember to add a touch of White to lighten. (just mixing Primary with Complementary colours will always be a middle to lighter Tone within the grey scale)