- Posted on 08th September 2011 by Nicola Holden
I frequently get asked for advice on what colours go with what when putting together an interiors scheme. There are general ‘rules’ that can be applied to colour schemes using a colour wheel, however, some rules are there to be broken!
Where better to turn for inspiration on colour mixing than Mother Nature herself? How often do you look around the natural environment and think ‘Hmmm, nature got it wrong here’? And so today I’ve been having a lot of fun revealing a few of nature’s colour palette secrets.
At first glance this lotus flower seed head is a beautiful calm green, but look more closely and you can see greens tinted with both blues and yellows, as well as a clear tint of burnt sienna, and a smokey black in the seeds.
Contrast that to this predominately white image. Here the palette is a mix of greens, cool bluey-whites and greys tinged with green.
Next up is this beautiful water lily – full of regal purples, from pale through to almost very dark, but lifted by the golds in the middle to produce a split complementary scheme.
This scheme is also based on purples, but with a more violet pigment – a vibrant purple infused with magenta. The brown is more of a brick red, and the yellow a mustardy ochre.
The warm and earthy oranges in this scheme, from a burnt orange, to a dirty yellow ochre and a rosy flesh colour work together to produce this beautiful warm analogous scheme.
This forest mushroom is full of monochromatic wintery browns, but look closely and there is a light raw umber, greenish and dry-looking, and other browns tinted with greens and purple.
And, to leave you on a sunny note, this spectacular flame lily (Gloriosa superba) draws its colours from across half the colour circle, and the result is the vivid, saturated brilliance of a very modern colour palette!
Which is your favourite colour scheme, and why?
“Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of colour to express myself more forcefully … To express the love of two lovers by the marriage of two complementary colours … To express the thought of a brow by the radiance of a light tone against a dark background. To express hope by some star. Someone’s passion by the radiance of the setting sun.”
Vincent van Gogh
Images © Nicola Holden.