What is the complement of pink? Why is the color pink special? Pink, after all, is a lighter version of red, yet it has its own moniker. When white is added to blue or green or yellow, it is just called light-blue or light-green or light-yellow. The English language doesn’t have a unique name for them.
For more information about this intriguing color, visit: A Brief History of the Color Pink. It’s interesting to take a moment every now and then to think about the colors we use. For example, pink wasn’t a noun in the English language until the end of 17th-Century, though Renaissance artists had been using it for “glowing undertones of religious figures.” Next, think of what pink symbolizes in our culture today.
To return to the original question, “What is the complement of pink?” What do you think it is? You know that red is the base color of pink, therefore, a guess of some hue of green would be correct. This 12-hue color wheel shows a bright yellow-green as the complement of pink.
Have you explored this pair of color complements? They are not seen as often as the more common — orange and blue or yellow and purple or red and green. As you may know, I am a huge of fan of exploring the possible colors that can be created by mixing color complements. Visit my post Complementary Colors Are Dancing Partners to learn more.
Mixing color complements not only provide lovely de-saturated colors, they also make each other sparkle when placed next to one another in a painting. In this graphic, if you stare at it for a minute or two, you will see the colors shimmer.
How to Mix the Complement of Pink
My favorite approach to mixing complements is demonstrated in an old YouTube video and described below. I call them 7-Step Chromatic Scales. Here are the steps.
- Mix a pile or puddle of your two parent colors – pink and lime or yellow-green. To learn more about mixing pink, visit How to Mix Pink? For this demonstration, I used a violet-red as my base color and then added white. Watercolorists just need to add water.
- Mix a bright yellow-green by using a green-blue, such as phthalo blue, with a green-yellow, such at Hansa yellow light or aureolin. Tip: You will need more yellow than blue to mix your green.
- Apply a swatch of each parent color on canvas or watercolor paper about 8″-10″ a part.
- Next mix the middle mixture. Your objective is to achieve a hue – mixing your pink and yellow-green – that does not contain any evidence of either parent color. This takes practice and sometimes patience. The resulting color will be a brown or a gray which indicates that both parent colors have been cancelled.
- Now mix the two steps between the pink and the middle color. Just add a little bit of the green to the pink and notice how quickly the pink starts to neutralize or de-saturate. Paint a swatch of this color next to the pink parent color.
- Then add more green to this mixture for the third step. I like these colors, how about you?
- Next, mix the two steps of green in the same manner as you did the pinks. Below you see a green swatch with just a bit of pink added to it.
- This is the completed 7-Step Chromatic Scale. Warning: Your results will most likely be different from mine because the parent colors will be somewhat different.
What are your reactions to these de-saturated/neutralized colors? What subject matter lends itself to using the complement of pink? Or perhaps an abstract painting? Are you surprised by the mixtures that can be created?
Perhaps this is a good time to explore other pairs of complementary colors? Try it and see what happens. I have had students who claim they have charts of complementary colors hanging around their studios.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your fellow artists.
Gratefully and colorfully yours,
PS Mixing color complements is also covered in my online Craftsy course, Acrylic Color Mixing Made Easy!
PSS Stay tuned for my forthcoming book “I Just Want to Paint: Mixing the Colors You Want!” Hopefully it will be available later this fall.