Peach shows up in many places in the world, both through flora and fauna, giving you much room to explore when trying to construct a peach colour palette to use in the creation of art and design.
The origin of the name “peach” is obvious – it comes from the colour of peaches, which often has a slightly yellow, somewhat cream-colored undertone, and a subtle texture cause by the fine fuzz that covers the exterior of the peach.
This, in addition to the pink flowers that most stonefruit, like peach and cherries, have, it is easy to imagine why peach has come to be such an iconic colour throughout art history, as well as being such a common choice for neutral interior scenes, like its use in drapery or carpets.
From summer stonefruit to blooms in the spring, to even the wings of elephant hawk-moths, peach is no rare sight in our world. However, just because it is a commonly-used colour doesn’t mean that it is forgettable, and it is through looking for inspiration for a peach-centric colour palette that we can start to appreciate it most.
Peach blossoms are often quite small, and come from small-bodied trees, like cherries, almonds, and some cultivars of plum.
This subtle shade of peach straddles the line between neutral and warm, having some orange shades, and even a little yellow and blush, in addition to the obvious terracotta within it. Traditionally, dusty rose blush and sage is used as the complementary colour to peach, though this is heavily dependent on the shade of peach, and how saturated the colour combination is.
Using peach flowers in gardening is usually used to give the garden a softer and feminine touch. Like all reds and purple colours, peach is a colour that highly attracts pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.
When using peach flowers as inspiration for a colour palette, it is a good idea to lean into the subtleties and gentle shades used in plants, like incorporating the bare, dark-brown branches of peonies and roses in full bloom to contrast the tone of peach, or to outline the peach interior of flowers with delicate shades of white, and the framing of olive green leaves.
Other than flora, one can also look to the world of animals for inspiration. While most peach birds – flamingos, rosefinches, and galah parrots, for example, use varieties of pink that is far too bright to be considered peach, there are just as many that fit the pill perfectly to be used as inspiration for a colour palette.
For one example, the subtle use of peach in species of tropical fruit doves, like the Jambu fruit dove, which has only a slight blush of peach pink on its face and chest, framed with a bright white stomach and a deep, verdant green coat across its back and wings. This, along with the detailing of black around the underside of its light orange beak, creates an incredibly, seldom-used peach colour palette that balances out perfectly, and can be a very unique choice when deciding the colours of, say, an outfit, or a painting.
Rather than using a bright pink as a base, like other birds do, fruit doves typically only have small detailing in pink, making the colour a pop that is eye-catching and iconic, identifiable to other doves of the same species without risking them being seen by predators from above. In the same way, using this peach pink in art as a subtle touch to centre a piece makes it identifiable, without risking it becoming an eyesore.
However, if birds and flowers aren’t the use of peach pink that you were looking for, look no further than the field of precious stones. While often not as appreciated as glossier or more rare rocks, the opaque exterior of the peach opal is an incredible sight, having a brightness that can be used to add life to a painting or as an addition to a multimedia project.
Similarly, rose quartz is a precious gemstone long gone underappreciated for its relative accessibility, as compared to pink diamonds or pink pearls, but still as a slightly-yellow undertone that can be very inspiring for creating a peach colour palette based on it.
Lastly, the look of rhodonite is beyond compare, specifically because of its imperfections. When found naturally, pink rhodonite is a pink and peach colour palette all on its very own. With veins of jet black framing gentle pinks and reddish whites, often being created in the earth as uneven, asymmetrical collections of edges and spikes that challenge our perceptions of peach and pink as gentle or passive.
With flowers, birds, and rocks, among many other occurrences of peach in the natural world, there are many unique places from which to draw inspiration for a peach colour palette, some of which have long gone under-appreciated.
When incorporating it into your artwork, there are hardly any mediums that wouldn’t make for a good choice, but some might be better suited than others.
Because of how peach readily flows into other colours, both warmer pinks and oranges, as well as whites and greys, and even yellows if used properly, watercolour is the natural choice.
For a unique option, I’d even recommend experimenting with watercolour on silk, especially because of how the ecru colour of raw silk compliments peach. However, it is also a colour that can be used well in digital painting, since digital programs give you the option to experiment with colours and saturation more easily than traditional forms of painting, giving you more control and flexibility when it comes to the use of peach without it becoming too bright.
Regardless of the medium you choose to go with, remember the ways that peach is incorporated into different colour palettes in the world around you, and the many uses it has both for blending in and standing out, and you should be on the right track already.