• Samantha Slezak

Complementary Colors

Updated: May 5

On Friday, Oct 18, I went to watch the sunrise. It was a quiet morning. The first chilly one of fall dropping into the lower 40s, and dew covered everything that touched the air. The sky was a dark navy blue that was barely lit up by the moon and the street light had blinded me as I first walked out the door. My eyes soon adjusted to both the cold air sudden change from light to dark as we started to drive down the road. As we made our way through the town, being stopped by only a few red lights, the sky began to change from navy to a royal grey color. As we crossed the Wrightsville Beach Bridge, the water began to run while only becoming a little splashed as it hit the side of the dock. It was a still morning in Wilmington. We made our way down the road and Sarra chose to park in an access that was different from our normal sunrise spot. It was perfect. As I opened the door, I hit it on the palm tree that we were parked way too close to, inching my way out of the seat and squeezing through the little window I had. I grabbed my camera, through every sweater I had, and began to make my way down the path to the water. Sarra was right behind me in her hat, gloves, and throw blanket she snatched off her bed as we walked out the door with squinty eyes only 20 minutes prior. When we made it through the trail, the sky began to change from royal grey to a blue that was being saturated by the sun. It was beautiful. We got close to the water but stayed just far enough away as the water began to slowly creep up towards the shore. There were no waves, just a trickling sea that had the smallest increments of energy surging through it. Sarra laid down the blanket and we popped a squat. Through our time sitting there, we watched the sun slowly begin to rise. It took a while, but in that time I began to realize how the Lord is revealing himself to me through art.

Last semester I took a design class. We learned about many basic rules and principles of art. It seemed silly and it felt like 6th grade the things I was learning, but now as I watch the sunrise, I see that it was the Lord foreshadowing to me his

beauty and intentionality behind little things like colors and the sunrise. We spent a few weeks on the color wheel and the different types of combinations, analogous, monochromatic, neutrals, and complementary. The way certain colors lay next to one another could determine the overall message of a design or piece of art. My favorite to learn about was complementary. These were colors that lay opposite to one another on the color wheel, or directly across from each other. Yellow and purple, red and green, and orange and blue. Colors that are completely opposite can somehow complement each other. They can make each other appear brighter, stand out, mix to create neutral hues, and be blended for shadows.

I wonder what it would be like if we choose to look at other people like complementary colors. Not like they are blue, orange, green and red people. But, they are people that are different from me, the complete opposite from me, like different things than me and sing different songs than me, yet we all complement each other. And, as we are all made in the image of God, by Him, the true artist, we complement Him. Just as there are intentions behind each color on the color wheel, how they lie, what they do when you sit them next to one another, and how they complement, so are there exact intentions created by our Father that lie in every person on this earth, adjacent or opposite of you. Made to complement a bigger purpose, a big God and His redeeming power. When we focus on this idea of complementing each other and not just sitting opposite from others we get to see this beautiful piece of art called the world painted out, right in front of us, just as the Lord intended.

Something that amazes me about complementary colors is the power they have to change the state of each other. Bear with me. If you were to mix two complements evenly, orange and blue, they create a neutral grey, used for shadowing in painting, creating depth. But when colors just sit opposite from one another, they are surface level. There is no shadow creating depth in the relationship, it is also just surface level. They are hellos when you walk through the door and goodbyes as you

exit. They aren’t intentional, meaningful or purpose-filled. They are definitely not state changing. For us to change the state of our relationships, we have to mix them. Not 10 percent orange and 90 percent blue, not 70-30, and not even 60-40, it has to be 50 percent of each color. The whole purpose of mixing two colors is to enhance the mood of a piece of art and the same goes for us today. To enhance our moods, whether positive or negative, create meaning and depth, and dig below the surface we have to reach those that complement us. These colors sit opposite one another for a reason. They are the farthest in distances, yet the most impacting. For us to create these relationships we have to reach those that are farthest away.

As the sun began to rise, just before hitting the horizon, just where the water met with the sky, orange began to glow as it announced that the sun was almost ready. The orange complementing the blue in the most amazing way I’ve ever seen colors used. Probably because God was the artist who painted this picture, and knows the true intention behind every color and how they work best with one another, as He was the creator of them all. He is an intentional God and filled with so much purpose.


Samantha Slezak


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