10 Color Combinations That Every Artist Should Attempt
One of my favorite aspects of designing jewelry is experimenting with different color combinations. I'm always surprised when people have limited color palettes for their art work. Although there are certain colors and color combinations that I choose more than others, I enjoy choosing new colors and experimenting with new combinations on a regular basis. I highly recommend that other artists do this as well. You will often be surprised what works well. Have fun!
1) Turquoise and Red
I really can't explain why this color combination is so compelling to me. Almost an opposite side of the spectrum thing I suppose? It has that effect without quite the stark contrast that turquoise/orange and red/green have. If you haven't experimented much with turquoise or red before, you might want to explore them a little own their own before pairing them together. But don't be afraid to dive right in, too.
2) Pink and Black
For those of you love pink, you probably don't have trouble exploring pink like I do. If you love pink and have already worked with this combination, consider pairing another color that you don't use much with black. This color combination always strikes me as classic because of the way that it reminds me of ballet. Tried and true, right? If you work a lot with pale pink or aren't in love with the ballet look, experiment with magenta or even an almost fuchsia shade of pink.
3) Pink and Green
The piece to the right is another color experiment that I did to explore pink a little more. I also explored lighter shades of green in this piece. I frequently work with medium-dark greens but hardly ever even glance at beads with light green shades. Although sea green is still not my favorite color, this piece makes me appreciate it a lot more than I used to. If you generally grab pastel shades for your chosen medium, pick up darker shades for this combination.
4) Black and White
How can you go wrong with black and white, right? This is another classic combination and with good reason. I love working with colors and don't visit this powerful neutral combination nearly as often as I should. The right pattern or design will convince you that there is nothing boring about neutrals. It doesn't have to be a complex pattern to still produce a striking effect.
5) Orange and Blue
I have to admit that I have not made a jewelry piece with this color combination yet so I need to follow my own advice here. My high school colors were orange and blue. While I grew to love it during the 4 years I was there, I don't feel the need to use these colors together a lot anymore. This does not take away from the fact that I think that this color combination is underrated, largely because many people shy away from orange. Orange is a wonderful color, especially when you pair it with its color spectrum opposite. If you can't get away from the fact that orange/blue is a commonly used school color theme, think tropical and pair orange and turquoise with other brights like yellow, magenta, and lime.
6) Color Study or Single Color Palette
This is a great opportunity to explore a color that you already love OR to explore a color that you need to work with more often. I started with the turquoise for this embellished cuff design, as pictured on the right but have also worked this design in green, dark blue, red and purple, neutrals, and a tropical summer mix (yellow, orange, red, and dark pink). The last piece in the set drew me out of my comfort zone the most because I don't work with yellow very often. Have fun with your color studies. You'll have a whole rainbow of pieces before you know it.
7) Metallic Paired With Another Color
I think that almost everyone has a favorite metallic. This is a perfect opportunity to pair your favorite metallic with another favorite color to create a brand new combination for your artistic gallery. Or if you're feeling adventurous, use this as an opportunity to explore a metallic or other color that you don't work with very often.
8) A Modern Piece With Lime Green
I think that the 80's connotation makes a lot of people shy away from lime green. This is unfortunate because lime is a great color. See if you can get past this connotation by pairing lime with a color not necessarily associated with the 80's to create a modern piece.
9) A Prominent, Unique Neutral
When most people think of neutrals, their minds go to black, brown, and white. While I love all three of these colors, there's no reason that you need to limit yourself to them when it comes to the neutral spectrum. Throw olive green, maroon, or navy into the palette in place of black, brown, or white for your next piece and see where it takes you.
10) Red and Green
I did create the above earrings with Christmas in mind. However, these earrings don't contain any symbols (Christmas trees, wreaths, elves,etc.) that are associated with Christmas. They simply contain Christmas colors. The earrings can be paired with a wide variety of clothing combinations so that they can transfer to virtually any other time of year. When you work with red and green, don't feel limited to Christmas themes.
Additional Ideas to Consider
Polka dots: There isn't much to say about polka dots except that they're a lot of fun. If you're not ready to put multiple polka dot colors in one piece yet, stick to a single medium or color with dots.
Stripes: Stripes are a lot of fun, too. Changing the colors or pattern of the piece will drastically alter the effect of the stripes. Don't be afraid to play around with it.
Big/small patterns/pieces/prints (something outside of your comfort zone): The cuff on the right is a piece that I created for an Etsy team challenge. I combined jewelry making components that I use frequently to create a completely new look. This cuff is much wider than the vast majority of the pieces in my collection.