I like seemingly random combinations of colors. I thought I'd try to show a bit of the process. Here is the latest card I've added to my Etsy shop.
I admit my color sense is not to everyone's taste, but I love how this turns out. And even though I made it as something to sell, I cannot make things I don't like. I have to have a "build it and they will come" approach to keep myself happy. When I attempt items that have a more "traditional" color sense, they are very dull and boring. Maybe this is because I haven't been true to myself.
1. I start with the flower photo. I see the color fuchsia, but also the color green. In the center of the flower I notice a hint of it and decided that is my accent color. I don't know yet how it will play out, but I grab the speckled lilac cardstock that is my favorite, the stripe and the green that is marbled with silver. Imagine that the trim in purple is not there yet.
2. I cut the pieces to what I think is the appropriate size. I know the card will look better in landscape and plan accordingly. I think of colors as having weight. The busier or darker it is, the heavier. Heavy pieces will weigh the card down if not used sparingly. I cut the striped paper into a thin strip, knowing which way I want the stripes to go. I think east to west has the movement the card needs. The green marble is serving as the anchor. It is the most medium weight of the papers. I cut it larger so it frames the stripes and holds down the photo. I use deep purple to frame the photo because it contrasts the photo and is opposite the green on the color wheel. As secondary colors, they sort of make each other pop. Not to mention it is one of my favorite color combos ever.
3. I experiment with placement. I don't feel this layout is stable enough. The stripe piece becomes weak and unimportant. The marble isn't really holding the whole thing together. It just isn't cohesive; it lacks balance. The individual pieces take too much attention away from the focal point.
4. This is better. The green now anchors the photo and shows off the lilac and the stripe without taking over. However, that movement from the stripe isn't as apparent. It is just there. I want more motion and vitality. I also think cutting the green paper in two with the striped piece doesn't give the card that impact.
For the final card I use the two patterned papers side by side. I like the tiny bit of narrow stripe that carries your eye to the right side of the page even though most of the action is on the left. Actually, I ended up adjusting it just a squidge more for the final final.
I think it looks more polished and balanced here.
The thing about working with color is that it solely dependent on your own aesthetic. There are colors you like working with more than others and that will show up in your work. The more you work with them, the more possibilities you will see and you will grow more comfortable AND more adventurous, the more you allow yourself to play. Don't allow your brain to tell you certain colors don't "match". Get inspired from nature, buy yourself the big box of crayons and have at it. You're only making fun.