It is the dirty grays that give a painting its beautiful color, and not the nice clean color you get directly out of the tube. This discovery took me a long time to make. It is only when your painting has a lot of gray mud in it that you can make your color accents really stand out.
One of my trademarks is the way that I layer and glaze complimentary colors to create my grays.
Any complements will mix to make nice grays. For example, red and blue-green, yellow and purple-blue, purple and green-yellow, turquoise and orange, blue and yellow-orange.
To make a vivid, saturated color stand out more, place it against a field of low saturation, grayed colors.
These low saturation colors will give life and excitement to the main color interest in your painting. This is one
of the most important color principles in painting. In the painting Misty Awakening, notice how a touch of pure color in the street lanterns really stood out beautifully against all of that mud!