Monday’s art painting question of the day was “How do you mix Grey?” The lovely grey burmese model, Moet very kindly allowed a portrait. No nudes, no eyes. We were clear on those issues.
Moet’s gleaming silver grey coat gives us a perfect sample for greys. I’ll be suggesting several recipes for mixing greys….whether its watercolor, acrylics, oils, etc.
Color Mixing Greys
Remember as I mentioned yesterday, in Versions of Grey – that to get grey, you mix opposites. Also known as ‘Complementaries.’
They are: blue and orange; red and green; and yellow and purple.
I don’t rely on store bought greys, but need to mix and create my own versions.
Nor do I use white mixed with black as these will be too flat, and then my painting won’t be lively.
I want it to have a kiss of, the breath of life, a spark Is what I strive and aim for.
When I mix my own greys, I control…. the color temperature. If the grey is on the warmer side, or on the cooler side. Is it going to advance, or recede?
I like that control. Some of you may get a chuckle out of that.
Recipes for Grey
Moet is a very pale silvery grey, she has a high ratio of white, in her fur.
Silvery Grey – Cerulean dominance
- The blue involved as I see it, is quite dominantly Cerulean.
- My #1 pick of recipes for ‘Moet grey’: cerulean, white, permanent rose, burnt sienna
- These colors all need dilution, none could be used at full or even half strength. The fur is that pale.
- Cerulean dilution by water or white, at a ratio of about 50%; burnt sienna dilution ratio of about 90%; rose dilution nearly 98%.
- I could substitute cobalt blue pb28, but I know it will be more fiddly to get the mix “just right.”
- The Key in these Greys is to not become sidetracked by ‘Color’ but to focus more intensely on matching the ‘Tone.’
Easiest Grey Mix
Normally, for a Super easy grey I will mix ultramarine blue with burnt sienna. Very Easy! And under most circumstances, extremely versatile.
In This sample, I chose to have a higher ratio of Warm. I used mostly Burnt Sienna with some Ultramarine in places, which created areas that greyed off.
By using mainly Ultramarine I can reverse this look and create a colder blue – grey.
But, it doesn’t always harmonize with the painting. Then its plan B, C, or D.
Cadmium Red with Cerulean will create a most lovely grey… Provided, it is well and truly diluted properly. Otherwise it will be a mud mess.
Ultramarine and Burnt Umber make a deep black grey, but can become too dense quite quickly, accidently. If diluted liberally, it will be lovely.
Cobalt Blue, genuine. and Burnt Umber will also create a very nice grey, with adequate dilution. (water for watercolors, white in acrylics/oils)
Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Phalo Green create a near pitch black charcoal, that can be diluted into a very wide range of greys.
The 7 Options I’ve provided give you a starting off point. Simply remembering to mix the opposites will help create greys and giving them the required dilution of water/white will ensure better greys.
Aerial Perspective and Depth in Greys
Finally, a Very Important part of mixing greys is Aerial Perpective.
How much warm color (red, sienna, rose) you put into the mix vs. how much cool color (the bluer color) will dictate the Aerial Perspective of the Grey mix.
In other words, if the grey advances forward. Or if it will recede into the distance.
Warmer colors will advance forward. Cooler colors will recede back…. this is what is going to give you Depth in your paintings. Whether its landscapes, portraits, still life or Abstractions.
please leave questions or comments! I will get back to you,soon. Thanks!