What colour com­bi­na­tions can I use that best suit a calm­ing im­age?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - ImagineNation -

En­rico Messina, US

An­swer Dave replies

I once lived in a flat that had been dec­o­rated by a psy­chol­o­gist whose spe­cial­ity was colour. Of­ten star­tled at first, guests would later com­ment on how re­laxed they felt in the deep-or­ange-walled sit­ting room. Our ideas about which colours are most re­lax­ing are prob­a­bly in­flu­enced by cur­rent trends and fash­ions, but it’s hard to go wrong with soft greens and blues, along with cooler reds and red­vi­o­lets. Re­strained use of sat­u­rated hues can go a long way to achiev­ing a serene mood: you can save them for smaller ar­eas of in­ter­est, help­ing to di­rect the viewer’s eye.

In my im­age, there’s quite a lot of olive­g­reens tones cre­at­ing the for­est set­ting, mixed with some green­ish-grey that ap­pears blue in con­text with the green. For the wa­ter shal­lows, I use a cool red tone that’s anal­o­gous to Vene­tian Red – one of my favourite colours to work with in tra­di­tional me­dia. For the fig­ure, I em­ploy this same cool red tone as a base, and then make some thin passes with a blue-grey to cool it down and make her more pale. I use a lit­tle pale green as re­flected bounce light on her arm, face and hair. The most sat­u­rated colour is the edge light on the mossy rocks, so I pull some of that over to the flow­ers in her hair to connect her with her set­ting. The fi­nal re­sult feels richly coloured, yet still peace­ful and con­tem­pla­tive in mood.

I’ve used many sooth­ing greens through­out the im­age, yet I’ve brought in quite a bit of cooler red tones to warm up the hu­man el­e­ment. Flip­ping the hues with an ad­just­ment layer re­sults in an en­tirely new feel­ing with warm and cool ar­eas trans­posed, yet the calm feel­ing re­mains.

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