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.