Creating Visual Interest With Touches of Color

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Hey art lovers! My tip today is all about creating visual interest by adding unexpected touches of color. Check this out: which of these balls capture your visual interest the most? Of course, I would hope you say the one on the right.

Comparison of two red balls: Straight red on the left, warm and cool colors added to red ball on the right.

Why would that be? The ball on the left side is a straight red ball with white and black touches.

Comparison of two red balls: Left ball has minimal visual interest due to fewer colors used (red, black, white)..

The ball on the right has oranges, yellow and purples involved in it – but still reads as a red ball. On the light side of the ball, where the brighter colors are, I use analogous colors ranging from the reds, oranges, and yellows. If you’re wondering what Analogous colors are, check out my art tip post here. The same applies for the shadow side of the ball, using the violets, blues, and blue-green. Just remember that on the shadow side of the ball, colors are toned down, so be careful not to use too many colors because then it will look busy. The colors in the shadow must not compete with the intensity of the bright side.

Comparison of two red balls: right ball has increased visual interest due to use of analogous colors. We can bring visual interest to our work by adding additional variations of color rather than just using a straight black or white.

No matter what the color is, by broadening our color palette, we can make it visually interesting. You can do this with green by adding a dab of blue or maybe little touches of red, for example. This green ball has a range of colors from greens, yellows, and oranges on the light side; then to blues, violets, and reds on the shadow side of the ball. Think of them as reflective colors in the shadows and highlights that bring extra interest.

Comparison of two green balls: left ball is straight green, right ball has added interest through additional color in shadows and highlights.

To see how I apply this concept, check out this piece titled “Jerusalem Arches.” I could have used all brown or tan to create the walls and architecture. Instead, I infused it with bold touches of color to build layers of depth and vitality. My painting Jerusalem Arches is an example of how adding unexpected touches of color can heighten visual interest.

My painting "Jerusalem Arches" is an example of adding unexpected touches of color to heighten visual interest.

As you go around the color wheel, look for more interesting ways to pull in other colors, while still conveying the main color that you’re painting. These principles are used in every aspect of design where color is applicable. So give that a try and let me know how it works for you! You can share your experience on my YouTube channel or Facebook Page.

Shop Our Amazon Affiliate Links Below