Excerpt from The Beader’s Guide to Color

Something happens when you pair the enchantment of adjacent colors with the gusto of complements… something rousing and vigorous, coursing with life. This “something” is technically called the analogous complementary scheme. But what really happens is magic.

"Waning Crescent” by Margie Deeb exemplifies the analogous complementary scheme. Tranquil blues play the dominant role, emphasizing the meditative reverie of the night drenched dreamer. One complementary accent–moonlight yellow–commands our attention. Tapestry created by Frieda Bates in peyote stitch.

Analogous complementary scheme on the wheel

Analogous-complementary scheme of "Waning Crescent"

Begin this magic by choosing an analogous group of two or three colors adjacent to each other on the wheel—okay, four if you must! This group becomes the dominant color force.

For the complementary part of this alchemy, select the color directly across from the middle of the analogous group. This direct complement becomes the accent color. Or, choose a near-complement (one on either side of the direct complement).

You have now created a dominant color grouping of three similar colors accented with the direct complement (or the near-complement) of one of them. See the color wheel for “Waning Crescent.”

A show-stopping combination of brilliant, irresistible colors comprise this startling analogous complementary scheme. Necklace by Margie Deeb based on a technique by Diane Fitzgerald.

Analogous-complementary scheme for the blue and orange dichroic necklace in photo

Got it? Good! That was “Analogous Complementary Magic 101.”

To graduate to “202,” switch the dominant color to feature its complement rather than one of the analogous members. Mingle accents of the analogous colors into the dominant background made of the complementary color.

In the necklace and accompanying color wheel for the blue/orange necklace, the blue sits directly across the wheel from the orange of the yellow-orange analogous group. It could have been used as an accent color, with startling results. But instead, blue was used as the main color. The results are equally stunning.

To practice “Analogous Complementary Magic 303,” extend the palette. Rather than using just one complementary color, put two or three to work. See “Chanin Study” (below).

An extended, complex interpretation of the analogous complementary scheme. “Chanin Study” by Margie Deeb (created by Frieda Bates) was inspired by the abstract Art Deco ornamentation on the Chanin Building in New York.

Analogous-complementary scheme for "Chanin Study"

Avoid a random mish-mash of colors, logical relationships have been established. The analogous members are grouped together: violet, purple and red serve as a background, greens and yellows swirl and flow in front.

An extended analogous complementary scheme is as complex to work with as it is to say aloud. Juggling these many colors, especially complements, requires planning.

But it is worth every effort. What happens when you harmonize and balance this lively array of color? Pure magic!

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