In this exercise the effect of contrasting hues is explored.
I chose coeruleum blue for the centre colour in a sequence of squares. The colour of the borders surrounding the square were chosen to be close in the colour spectrum to coeruleum blue.
Where the colours were closer to the central colour they tend to have a flat look and no colour dominates. Where the colours move further in the spectrum from the central colour – in this case squares 2 and 5 from the left – there is a greater difference to the eye and, in this instance, the centre seems to recede more.
Adding the complementary colour to the border creates more of a difference and, in the example below, the orange frame seems to jump out and the centre recedes even more markedly.
For the final part of the exercise a pair of complementary colours were used as the borders to a centre of neutral grey.
In this case the squares with the red and green borders appear to make the centre recede. This shows how considered use of colour can have an impact on the depth, or not, of a painting. The square with the white border has more of a flattened effect.
Colours closer in hue and tone would appear to create the illusion of a flatter image – one where the focus may be more on the decorative elements and design and less on creating a realistic sense of depth.