Sunday, January 23, 2011

Use of Greys

Most people, including myself, have a hard time understanding tonal, greyed down color. I have a friend of my whose wife says," Have you mastered greys yet? " as a joke. Mastering greys is a lifelong ambition but what I am trying to get at is most master painters don't use color right from the tube. To get a grey color, the old adage is to pick a color and add its compliment. For example, if you have orange, add blue to grey it down. Another, probably more useful technique is to have a mother color, a grey collected from your last scrapedown, and add small tincture into each color to the canvas. This will be a natual harmonizer, (bringing all colors into a pleasant interrelationship). This coastal from Big Sur is all greys, creating a sense of atmosphere typical of fog along the coast. The strongest color is up front, in the yellow bushes on the left and the rather strong blue-green below the large rock on right front. This brings the foreground forward, the rest is pushed back . To make an element in your painting recede in the distance, add cool and grey tones. Also, think of dividing up your major masses into thirds. ( I thank Ron Rencher for this approach) This also helps in keeping things simple and arranging all the elements mother nature reveals to you outdoors. So work at values, understanding the lights and dark tones of your painting and it will get stronger. Bring greys into your painting--green grey, blue grey, mauve grey, brown grey and you will have better harmony.

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