Complementary colours are those that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. In creating colour schemes, these seemingly opposing elements are required for the tension that makes the picture complete. Like yin and yang, masculine and feminine, opposites are complementary and as vital for the successful combination of texture, colour and form as they are in life.
Every colour has it’s opposite in its shadow, so to create a pleasing complex colour with depth and longevity a little of its direct opposite needs to be included in the mix.
In colour mixing, yellow and blue make green, red and yellow make orange, but when orange and green are mixed together the result is a sort of sludge. Complementary colours together, or all colours together make nothing. That’s the trick really – all is nothing.