There is an online community for mosaicists, called Contemporary Mosaic Art, which is currently running a discussion about complementary colors. I ran across this painting which is a beautiful balance of blue and orange. I realized that that is the key to all the beautiful sunsets - a fabulous dialog between blue and orange, and every possible shade in between. I really love this painting, because there is a fantastic tension between the beautifully silhoutted lovebirds and majestic tree, and the colorful sunset. They each compete for your attention, in much the same way that complementary colors can. But that competition enhances the artwork, rather than detracts. And that is the goal - taking two or more strong elements (whether they be colors or design elements) and making them work together rather than fight each other. Perhaps that's what makes the difference between a successful piece of work, and one that falls short.
Reproductions of this painting by Karen Altman are available through ArtWanted.com http://www.artwanted.com/imageview.cfm?id=790425