How to mix greys ? - Artist Forum
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post #1 of Old 08-08-2015, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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How to mix greys ?

One thing I have trouble with is mixing greys. Any advice on how you mix them please.
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post #2 of Old 08-08-2015, 04:26 PM
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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.



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post #3 of Old 08-09-2015, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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I will give that a try Terry, thanks for the advice. ��
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post #4 of Old 08-14-2015, 03:28 PM
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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.
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post #5 of Old 08-14-2015, 03:54 PM
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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)

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post #6 of Old 08-15-2015, 07:35 AM
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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.
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post #7 of Old 08-15-2015, 01:32 PM
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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?

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post #8 of Old 08-16-2015, 04:06 AM
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I was going to use Grecian formula for mine. But decided just to let it go. You know since I was balding anyway.

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?-Vincent Van Gogh
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post #9 of Old 08-16-2015, 04:08 AM
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.....Sorry couldn't help myself.
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What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?-Vincent Van Gogh
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post #10 of Old 08-16-2015, 07:00 AM
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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.
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