Once you decide it’s going to be orange, there’s just no turning back.
Complementary colors are ones that appear especially intense because they contain opposite frequencies of light. Blue and orange, red and green, yellow and violet are all color opposites. One subject that I portray often in my art — the koi pond — has a natural blue/orange opposition since many of the fish are orange and the water, reflecting the sky, is blue. But the sea shells I collect have strong passages of orange too and placed against a blue cloth they stand out very boldly.
Exploration of color is one of the principle motives of my artwork. So I try to understand color, making a particular effort to explore different colors and different color combinations. Toward that end I collect objects from different color groups. The orange vase that sits nestled among the objects on my still life table is one such example.
I have also learned about the color orange by looking at how other artists use it, as in this copy of Bonnard’s orange jug that I made in front of his still life using oil pastel.
In Bonnard’s picture you find orange and blue together: the orange of the jug and blue from its shadow cast by the sunlight coming through a window.
Something doesn’t have to be exactly orange to create the dynamic of blue/orange opposition. Something that is almost orange will do it too. There’s enough red and yellow in the blue compotier against the jade green cloth to create a lot of blue/orange signal in the light. The warm/cool contrasts and the general bouncing around of red and yellow light against bluish color does something similar.
The subjects can be very dissimilar but orange has a mood it brings along, and objects that are orange colored pull that sensibility from our minds. I feel like these things are connected simply because they are the same color, whether they are fish or vases or fruits or something else. They all participate in the essence of orangeness.
One ought to study all the colors to learn their meanings.