Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Colour relationships Part 1

Referring once again to the colour wheel, we look at the way colours interact, particularly those opposite each other in the colour wheel.  These opposites are known as complementary pairs and will have the maximum colour contrast.

It becomes noticeable, when complementary colours are combined, that the brighter colour is much more dominant, particularly when they are in equal blocks of colour.  It is in response to this psychological effect to colour, that,  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe postulated the proportions which such complementary colours should take in order to appear equal, in other words so that no one colour being dominant.

He assigned the following values to the six colours: yellow 9, orange 8, red 6, green 6, blue 4 and violet 3.  This gives rise to the following ratios:

  • red : green            1:1
  • orange : blue         1:2
  • yellow : violet        1:3
In order to achieve a sense of harmony, images which have a limited palette, and which are constrained to the complementary colour, should utilise the above ratios.

The images below have attempted to demonstrate this:
Red : Green
1/350 sec,  f/6.7
This red / green combination works well.  I do seem to be using fruit and vegetables a lot in this.  

Orange : Blue
1/90 sec,  f/6.7
Orange and blue was much more difficult to find, but the pepper in the market came to the rescue.  Again I think that this illustrates Goethe's ratios.

Yellow : violet
1/15 sec,  f/9.5
I replaced my original image with this one of a crocus head.  Even though I used a macro lens for this, I still had to do a substantial crop in order to properly illustrate the ratio.

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