You must have all heard of Vincent Van Gogh, at least once! The Dutch painter, who is also the founder of the Impressionist school, has had a difficult life, but the hope of life is evident in his paintings.
His use of colors in his time was unusual and special. This is what made me write about him today.
Let’s get to know Van Gogh’s mental world better!
Van Gogh’s use of colors
Van Gogh never used real colors. On the contrary, he used colors that could affect the audience’s emotions.
He first used dark colors such as olive green, raw sienna and raw umber. Then he added bright colors to the color palette of his paintings. Colors such as yellow, orange, red, blue and green.
In fact, in Van Gogh’s paintings, yellow ocher, chrome yellow, cadmium yellow, chrome orange, vermilion, Prussian blue, ultramarine, lead white, zinc white, emerald green, red lake, red ocher, raw sienna, and black can be found.
The choice of his colors depended on his mood. Indeed, he sometimes uses complementary colors to brighten and create contrast in his painting. Sometimes, like a sunflowers painting, he limited his palette to a color that was yellow in this example.
van gogh complementary colors
As I said, Van Gogh, like other Dutch painters, initially used dark colors for his paintings.
Because he was curious about colors. He read books on color theory and became acquainted with complementary colors. He actually found that yellow and purple, blue and orange, red and green intensified each other.
So, after moving to Paris, he learned how to use colors. Gradually, light colors replaced dark colors in his paintings.
Like the Self-portrait painting that Van Gogh painted. Indeed, if you pay attention to it, the color of her hair, beard and mustache is orange and the color of her clothes is blue. This is an example of the use of complementary colors.
Van gogh color symbolism
I want to start by painting Van Gogh sunflowers. So, he painted this painting with almost no shadows or complementary colors, and the most used color is yellow.
Yellow is the color of the sun and is also a symbol of life, energy, happiness and hope.
How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.”Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh’s painting “Shoes”, in which he used a lot of brown and khaki colors. Brown is the color of earth and wood. It is, in fact, a symbol of virtue. By turning these shoes brown, Van Gogh wanted to show the hard life and humility of the shoe owner.
In the painting of the night cafe, according to Van Gogh himself, he wanted to depict the horrible human emotions with the two colors red and its complement green.
van gogh color palette
If you’re still with me, let’s take a look at these color palettes from Van Gogh’s paintings!
Also, if you, like me, are a fan of Van Gogh and his paintings, I have a nice suggestion for you!
Well, we saw Van Gogh and his fascinating works. We saw his wonderful and even strange use of colors. He is definitely a great artist in his time and later.
Moreover, his hard life and exhausting illnesses have created an attractive and beautiful effect in which the colors are placed in the most special way possible.
Truly, Van Gogh is a master of using complementary colors correctly!