The Color Orange in Fine Art and Decorating

Onan Balin Framed Art

Bella Flora by Onan Balin

The color orange: So where’s the party?

Orange is a festival of big honking juicy, voluptuous, happy flowers in a hot climate where brass music blares and people are dancing and socializing. Orange is pleasing, pulsating vigor.

So, when was the last time you saw a room with orange decor?

George, a house painter and decorative artist remembers, “I painted a living room in a large home, one of four, owned by a celebrity in Southern Connecticut who did a lot of entertaining. It was three tones of high gloss oil paint on walls that had a large cornice at the ceiling and square panels all the way around below a chair rail. There was a darker, rich orange, a lighter orange and a cream which delineated one molding from another…”

“I thought that this was going to be a big mistake when the decorator showed me an approximation of the colors I needed to paint. I thought it was going to be too bright- and high gloss! The fabrics on the sofa and drapes were large, white, cream and rich orange flowers on a black background. I was convinced that the homeowner was being lead down the silken road to disaster…”

“I began painting the living room, shaking my head with dismay, but as the concept unfolded, it began to make sense. It was extremely warm, but creamy and pleasing. When the room was finally finished, I have to say it looked joyful and dressy. The artwork was a collection of paintings from the West Indies that were far more brightly colored than the walls. It all worked.”

Orange doesn’t need to speak loudly to be warm, rich and inviting.

Yellow-orange and red-orange are next door neighbors to orange on the color wheel. They are an analogous color scheme when put together. They sound very bold and bright, but actually tend to lighten up quite nicely when added as pigments to white.

It is possible to use yellow-green, green, or blue-green as one of the main colors and have the warmth of orange, yellow orange or red-orange pigments mixed with some white for the wood moldings and the ceiling. These combinations would be complements to one another.

Blue gray and purple-blue gray is a good backdrop for orange hues.

Orange can be made up with earth tones to cut down on the clean brightness of the red and yellow pigments.

Fabrics are a great source for choosing colors. Many of the schematic combinations, color shades and tonal variations have been worked out by textile designers.

If your fine art has orange in it, there are probably complements to the orange in the painting as well. It is possible to pick up on these combinations without trying to match them to the artwork. It is often good to support the artwork with color so it stands on its own, but not match the artwork to make it part of your décor.

Natural color relationships don’t need to match perfectly. They should look as if everything in the room naturally grew together, but not like it was contrived.

Bella Flora, painted by Onan Balin, is a museum quality art print from Frames and matting can be selected and viewed with art prints online with just a click. Hundreds of fine art, photography prints and posters are available at their website.

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