Thursday, 13 November 2014

Paynes Grey



A long time ago, an extremely accomplished artist I know told me not to use Paynes Grey but to make my greys using other colours, especially if needing it for shadow work. As time went on I found I was seeing this advice more and more but I couldn't stop using Payne's Grey as I found it such a useful addition to my palette.

One day I discovered the work of James Fletcher-Watson and just had to buy one of his books. With interest I read about his usual palette and was thrilled to find that it always included Paynes Grey. From that point on I stopped worrying about having it in my palette on the basis that if it was good enough for James Fletcher-Watson then it was more than good enough for me.

A couple of months ago, while catching up with my old issues of "Paint" I was taken by an article in the March 2013 edition by artist Alan Goodall. The article is actually about the All Weather Wonderpad, but my interest was more with his subject and technique. His featured painting was a Pen & Wash but he only used one colour ... Paynes Grey. His washes were built up by adding multiple layers of varying strengths and I felt compelled to attempt this myself.

So here is my version of the scene at Watendlath in the Lake District. This was a really useful tonal exercise and I thoroughly enjoyed building up the values layer by layer. I don't know whether it's my love of pencil work that makes me biased towards graphite shades but I'm really pleased with the way this grey monochrome painting has turned out. And yes, Paynes Grey will always have a place in my palette. ;-)

18 comments:

  1. Your work is outstanding, John....! I love the way you drew the water...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely tonal painting of Watendlath. Interesting to hear about your thoughts on Paynes Grey, which I use, sometimes, for dark greens, but I tend to add a transparent yellow. Looks great in the sky too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Polly. Yes, like you I also use it for greens. It's very versatile.

      Delete
  3. I believe Payne's Gray is a mixture of different colours it self, so why not use it. I love the use of it in this monochrome, John, the reflection in the water is stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  4. ok ok so I'm convinced !!! I might even put it back on my palette.
    This is outstanding John. Light, medium, and dark tones plus black and white..
    It's one of the requirements for a good painting... YOU did it !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL. Since your wonderfully informative post in the forum about the beauty of transparent pigments I can see that a drab, semi-opaque colour like Payne's Gray has no place in your palette. Thank you for your lovely comment BJ ;-)

      Delete
  5. A very successful exercise , love the result , actually quite inspiring !

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well I think this is wonderful! I do have a Paynes Gray and I use it sometimes, but I also mix my own too depending on my subject. I found that Cadmium Orange and Cobalt Blue make a lovely blue for a Seagull! :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sandra, glad you like it. ;-)

      Delete
  7. I like your painting John, especially the trees and water. I always use Payne's Grey when I need a strong dark but prefer to add a little of another colour to take the harshness away a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Frank. I almost made it up your way recently as I fancy a bit of urban sketching and thought your Old Grammar School would make a great subject. Hopefully one day soon. ;-)

      Delete
  8. Do you know John in this weird art world if you look hard enough you will always find an artist who thinks the same as you. So always follow your instincts and forget what anyone else thinks or says. I use Payne's grey occasionally. If these colours are so awful then why do they keep selling them? Someone must be buying them. ;-) Your painting is delightful and I love the variety of tones you achieved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry it's taken so long to reply to this Laura. I agree with you entirely .... if we all did things exactly the same way, wouldn't it be boring. Happy New Year to you. ;-)

      Delete
  9. This is such a good post. It reminds us that we should listen respectfully to what other artists prescribe, but then we must do what our own personal instincts are telling us. I like the expressiveness of the grays in your piece, and the way you created the different values and shadings. The process you used in it's creation is part of the artwork too. I really like the composition with the contrast between crisply angled houses and gently blended water of the stream pulling the eye through the scene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I've been so long in replying to this Katherine. Thank you for your lovely comment and Happy New Year. ;-)

      Delete