How to mix greys ? [Archive] - Artist Forum

: How to mix greys ?

Bobby Boy
08-08-2015, 01:27 PM
One thing I have trouble with is mixing greys. Any advice on how you mix them please.

08-08-2015, 04:26 PM
I find the best way to mix a gray is to mix the complementary colors together. Like blue and orange, or red and green. Of course there is always the old reliable black and white.

Bobby Boy
08-09-2015, 04:04 AM
I will give that a try Terry, thanks for the advice. ��

Scott R Nelson
08-14-2015, 03:28 PM
Don't do black and white!

In a test sheet of paper, put down one color and its complement, then mix the two in the middle. I do that with all paint when I acquire them to see if I'll get a good grey from them. Some colors, like purple and yellow or blue and orange may produce more of a brownish grey. Others, like Hooker's Green and Quinacridone Magenta produce a fantastic grey color that looks better than what you can get out of a tube (like Payne's Grey maybe).

I keep a sample sheet of watercolor paper around just to test stuff like that. Usually the other side is some painting I didn't want to keep, but I cut those into pieces to check colors before putting them into a painting.

Find out what colors you can mix to get the grey you want for your palette. It should be easy to do this.

Maybe you could get back to us and explain what you're mixing and what you don't like about it.

08-14-2015, 03:54 PM
I agree with Scott.. Get black out of your palette.. there is no such "color". Use cool or dark greys instead. One of the best I have found is a combo of Ultra Marine and Burnt Sienna. Cooler by adding more blue.. warmer by adding more Sienna. It is the closest I think you can get to a "Natural Black" of all colors (YMMV)

08-15-2015, 07:35 AM
An alternate to "mixing a grey", which is basically attempting to shortcut, is to consider how the light works & use your transparent color overlays in much the same way. I'm not getting esoteric here, guys. Speaking the truth. You can paint by recipe or truly learn how color/light/paints work & develop good skills.
As I've said a few times, light washes over objects after its reflected from something else & thereby picks up the color of those. Called secondary lights. These colors alter not only shadows but high lights. In effect, every thing is a modeling of delicate colors layered over eachother. From this comes to often used terms "cool shadows" & "warm shadows". Your "greys" are in truth mottled areas of overlays.
This being said, W/Cs are perhaps the best for such techniques whereas oils the worst.

08-15-2015, 01:32 PM
Are you saying that it's a bad habit to mix a grey on your palette Sorin? If so.. why do so many mega professionals do it? I understand using washes to accomplish the same thing.. but what's bad about a mix?

08-16-2015, 04:06 AM
I was going to use Grecian formula for mine. But decided just to let it go. You know since I was balding anyway.

08-16-2015, 04:08 AM
:vs_blush: .....Sorry couldn't help myself. :biggrin:

08-16-2015, 07:00 AM
There you go, Bush... The come-back I looked for.
My post was to cause thought re alternate ways. Sometimes the best way is to totally set one way aside & try another, fresh concept. Now, I admit that most artists mix combinations of colors and create "greys" as they're poorly being called here. I myself usually do so with opaque paints but never with W/Cs. Never. Why? Because the lightening element is the paper so my colors must be mixed from 2 or 3 pures, no white. Also, to increase interest I want the color mixes to shift within areas - not only from various warms & cools but contrasts, intensity, etc. For that to happen I overlay colors in separate washes, manipulating with various tools as it moves & dries. To mix all those colors into a single "grey" & try to get the same effect would be ludicrous.
On the "out there" side of my suggestion, I know several painters who use pure, bright colors in this way and their paintings are incredible... Full of life, interest, brightness - not as drab as mine tend to be.

Bobby Boy
08-23-2015, 10:38 AM
Sorry for the delayed reply friends, but I have just been in hospital due to a trapped nerve in my back. 5 nights. No internet for patients. Hopefully a few more days getting my self back together, and I will be back painting again.Thank you for all the help with the greys & I will let you know how I get on.

08-23-2015, 12:04 PM
Bobby Boy sending positive thoughts of healing your way. So sorry to hear about your pinched nerve. That can be the worse kind of pain.

Bobby Boy
08-23-2015, 04:47 PM
Sorry I haven't been able to keep up with this thread as I have been in Hospital for nearly a week with a trapped nerve in my back. I just came out 2 days ago. Still verry hard to walk without pain but lots of rest and I will be as good as new, thank you for all your advice which I'll try.

Bobby Boy
08-23-2015, 06:26 PM
Thank you Terry for your kind words. Rest then back physio will hopefully help.

Susan Mulno
08-24-2015, 09:57 AM
Happy healing! Good to see you back.:thumbsup:

08-24-2015, 10:45 AM
Hope you feel better soon Bobby!!!!!

08-27-2015, 03:23 PM
Oh dear x I'm a bit naughty then I use black n white to get greys but if it's a shadow on a coloured object I will use colour in it of course

08-27-2015, 04:03 PM
I use black and white for gray also, and so does Gary Jenkins who is a really great artist. But honestly he and I do oil paintings, maybe it's different in watercolors. Usually the complementary color to mix a gray has a lot warmer feel than just black and white, at least I think so. It all depends what I'm doing.