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Pastel Technique: Carried Away with Complementary Colors

This is a scene from the town of Ravello on Italy's Amalfi Coast. Ravello towers above the Mediterranean, an arduous uphill hike from Amalfi on the coast. I've been fascinated by the red orange terracotta rooftops and the ancient stucco facades of the homes and buildings on the Amalfi Coast (and almost everywhere in Italy). I particularly like the bold greens and yellows of the lush vegetation.

I decided to help the colors in this landscape "pop" by juxtaposing complementary colors in certain locations. Here are a few examples that you can try when you feel like getting carried away with the pure color of pastel!

Below, I apply blue shade to the background, contrasting with the building's orange roof.

Next, red flowers dot the green foliage growing on the wall. Also below, red/orange berries grow in the trees to the right of the path. I've begun to block in that color in the green foliage.

Then I started getting carried away with complementary color, choosing purple to grace the edges of the yellow foliage on the wall.

Take advantage of the pure color of pastel. Enhancing your painting with the impact of complementary colors adds that spark of awe. It's fun!

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