By Alex Zonis
Contrast is an easy concept to understand, it is intuitive. Renaissance painters mainly used value contrast; the Impressionists relied on temperature contrasts. But there are more contrasting relationships available to artists, we will talk about seven different ones.
1. Hue Contrast
Strong intense colors placed side-by-side produce powerful and dramatic contrast. Children and artists working in style called Primitivism use this contrast very effectively. Use as many colors as you like as long as they are pure and bright. If you add an olive green or mustard yellow to the mix, the combination will stop working.
2. Value Contrast
The squares with greater value contrast draw attention. The lighter squares seem to be filled with light and darker squares appear somber. The famous Chiaroscuro effect, that elevated Caravaggio into the pinnacle of Renaissance painting, is high value contrast. Chiaroscuro means “light-dark” in Italian.
3. Color Key
Color key brings drama to artwork. High-key colors, like tints and middle tones at the lighter end of the value scale, are usually pure colors that suggest bright illumination, making the work cheerful and optimistic. Low-key colors, such as low-intensity and dark values, indicate dim illumination, create serious, sad or pensive mood.
4. Intensity Contrast
Pure color stands out against neutral gray and low intensity background. The contrast decreases against the same hue background
5. Complementary Contrast
6. Temperature Contrast
We can achieve multiple effects working with color temperature:
- Cold - Warm
- Shadow - Sun
- Sleepy - Awake
- Airy - Earthy
- Far - Near
- Light - Heavy
- Fire - Water
7. Quantity Contrast
Quantity contrast is a powerful visual tool and one of my favorites to use. It works like an exclamation point in language, used right it is very expressive and impossible to miss.
Color is vast and fascinating subject!
What we offered here is a tiny portion of existing knowledge, but it is the beginning of the exploration.