Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Cloudy Spring Day" --- Sold


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I went to plein air painting with a group of local artists this morning. It was heavily clouded at the verge  of drizzling. The scene I picked had absolutely nothing special. But I had a wonderful time. I was simply looking for a piece of gray color I wanted practice with. Here I had it.

I asked the question of how to paint gray colors last time. I really appreciate the feedbacks from many artists friends. A few artists got a little confused with my recent gray paintings. Well, my motivation was trying to figure out why some artists paint beautifully with muted subtle gray colors while others can only make a mess, showing ugly, dirty, and deadly results. This secret is well kept by quite a few "good" artists. I heard so many time in workshops or demos that the instructors say "I just painting intuitively" or "It just feels right". I have to say these kind of statements have absolutely NO information in them. Through many days of research on gray colors, I start to get a conclusion (works for me at least): Blue and purple make a gray (especially dark gray) look dirty. Green and yellow make a gray clean.

5 comments:

Karen Robinson said...

This is a really lovely painting and I totally get why you are experimenting with grey. I didn't respond to your query yesterday because I am a beginner and in fact am learning from YOU, but here is an observation fro a total novice: the good greys are warm, bad greys are cold. If it doesn't look right, warm it up a bit (or wipe off and re-mix warmer). But I paint almost always only dogs. The grey is needed for underfur mainly. I don't know if the same rules apply to buildings! Pthalo green and alizarin make a useful grey for some dark-coated dogs, I find.

Marsha Carlson said...

Sometimes I feel I have to make some kind of excuse for painting cars in my landscapes, which I like to do. (I mean paint, not make excuses, but I do that too.);-) There are complex reflections to challenge observation and their iconic quality gives me something to think about. Now I see Qiang paints them in his landscapes. Nice company. Thanks for tips on painting with gray everyone. Fog here today...

Mary Byrom said...

Just saw your post on grays. There are no muddy grays, actually there are no muddy colors. And grays are actually colors not "grays". Its all about relationships. Take a look at Scott Christensen. He is a master with "grays". Best instructor I've had yet. Hides nothing and explains it clearly. Kathy Anderson has another approach to grays. Very nice and clear that she uses in her flower paintings. Emile Grupe has a simple list of nice grays he favored. I have many colorful grays I use everyday on my palette. Controlling the power of certain pigments is key. You may want to drop your cads off the palette and replace with other colors. I did that for a while. Also I loosely premix a number of grays that I keep on my palette. These mixes change seasonally. Depending on what I am after. I painted gray for many years now I'm trying higher chroma. Roos definitely has a gray thing going that is very nice. The power of grays is huge its the relationship of other chroma to it that makes the difference. I actually like painting on the beach in fog. See recent post on my FB page and you will see what I am talking about. I'll be doing a blog about my grays to show the details. Mary Byrom

Pat Brookes said...

I love your work and quest for knowledge and I am also looking forward to painting with you on Whidbey Island. When I was studying watercolor, the best information that I learned about grays came from Jeanne Dobie. She made the most beautiful grays from transparent colors using Aurelian yellow, Cobalt Blue and Rose madder genuine. Whichever direction you wanted the gray to lean, you would add more of that color. The grays were beautiful green gray, blue gray, rose gray etc. So, perhaps using pure tones in oil would do the same. No cads?
Pat

trmcnatt said...

I don't know how you're getting your grays but all I can say is keep doing it! Your "gray studies" look fantastic. Keep it up!