Mixing Grays

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

In painting class this year we are using Painting as a Language as a class text. Despite its priciness, it is a fabulous book that rounds out the discussion of how paintings are made with how paintings mean. It is also filled with interesting journaling and painting exercises. The exercise you see here is a student’s study of creating first a column of grays using ivory black and titanium white on the left and then a column of grays using the complements ultramarine blue and cadmium orange. The student had to mix just to neutralize the gray without veering too much toward one hue or the other. Then they added white to create the lighter values.

This particular combination of complementary colors seemed to work really well at achieving neutral grays. They are ever so slightly cooler than the titanium white and ivory black grays. Other combinations such as viridian and alizarin crimson also worked. It was interesting to see the subtle differences between the chromatic and achromatic grays.

The complementary colors of purple and yellow were not as easy to mix into gray. Does anyone have any pairs of purple and yellow pigments that they mix for grays?

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