Mixing greys - oil painting

I love making greys to use alongside the bright pure shades on my palette. Grey can be really quite beautiful, and they help to balance a painting.  It is always useful to have some mixed ready to use so I mix mine before I start painting. I choose the main tube colours that I'm using and mix my grey from them. My intention is to have piles of mixed greys in a selection of values so that I have the correct value to hand. 

This is a 45 x 35cm painting on canvas, in which I used lots of mixed greys for the shadows.

This is a 45 x 35cm painting on canvas, in which I used lots of mixed greys for the shadows.

 

 The most obvious way of mixing a grey is to mix black and white together. But there are better ways to create more vibrant and lovely greys. Mixing two complementary colours and a little white is effective, because complementary colours 'grey' each other down. You can quickly reduce the intensity of pure colours by adding a small amount of the opposite colour on the colour wheel. Or add a little of a mixed grey.

I like to mix greys from:

Viridian and Magenta/Alizarin Crimson + white

Ultramarine and Orange + white

Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue + white

But there are lots of effective combinations, it is worth experimenting.

 

Dog Portraits for Christmas - All safely delivered

This week and last, I have been getting Christmas orders for dog portraits  packed up and off to their new homes. 

I have had a lovely selection of beautiful dogs to paint!

This is a portrait of Gilbert, a handsome Border Terrier. And a very good boy, by the look of him .

This is a portrait of Gilbert, a handsome Border Terrier. And a very good boy, by the look of him .

This little lady is Lola, a young and lovely Cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle)  

This little lady is Lola, a young and lovely Cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle)

 

Here are a couple of the oil paintings that went to new homes this Christmas. Gilbert the Border Terrier was painted on a stretched canvas 40cm x 25cm.  Lola the Cavapoo  was also painted in oils, on a canvas panel 25 x 30cm

Green Gold PY 129 - a surprising and versatile colour

The Green Gold by Winsor and Newton is one of my usual choices because it is so useful and interesting in mixes, makes gorgeous glowing whites and is also really good for glazing. It is a transparent oil paint with excellent lightfastness, and very soft and buttery.

greengold py129 winsor and newton oil paints.png

I am not sure how I stumbled upon this colour but it appeared in my kit soon after I started in oil painting and was largely ignored for a while as I  explored the more obvious choices. One day I mixed a little of this  deep vibrant green with titanium white and  was surprised as the rich bright and light lemon  that I arrived at.  Further experiments showed that this was a great colour to mix with reds and pinks, producing lovely rich earth tones and oranges. I also like to use it in shadows along with blue and purple. 

I use this fabulous green a lot now, and always order another tube before I run out of the last, which goes to show how much I like it.   I haven't painted many human portraits yet, but when I do, I have a feeling that this colour will be excellent for making skin tones.

My favourite colours to mix with Green Gold so far are:

Brilliant Pink 

Cobalt Turquoise

Magenta 

Ultramarine 

Alizarin Crimson

Titanium White  

From Left to Right: Green Gold in Mixes with White, Turquoise partially and fully mixed, Magenta and Ultramarine

From Left to Right: Green Gold in Mixes with White, Turquoise partially and fully mixed, Magenta and Ultramarine