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One of the most interesting and exciting colors on your palette is GRAY.

Surprise Gray is not a muted color, nor is it muddy.  Gray can be one of the most vital, varied color on your palette.

Since transparency, clarity and harmony are vital even in the darkest grayest area of a painting, you as a master watercolorist must be able to fill those neutral areas with colorful grays.

Here is a start, use a triad of Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Blue and Carmine to produce a lovely warm Gray.


Try different Red's, changing the proportions of all three listed colors.

Try what is known as a colored neutral.  This is how:

A mixture of the three primaries will result in what is called "Triadic Gray".

If all colors are adjusted equally the result will be an unsaturated or completely neutral Gray.

Triadic Grays can be created from any mixture of Red, Yellow and Blue, but if you require transparency, clarity, know which  are your transparent colors.  Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, and Aureolin are one place to start.


When mixing a triad, begin by making a secondary color - such as a Violet from Red and Blue using  equal amounts of color.

Then add a small amount of the third color Yellow to produce a warm neutral.

Adding a small amount of Red to Green will give a nice Gray.  Take a day off , play around with different colors and combinations..    DO WRITE THEM DOWN , MAKE IT A REFERENCE SHEET

A nice warm Gray that I like is Perm. Alizarin Crimson with Thalo Green.  Warning - wonderful Grays but will be a heavy stainer, and will not lift well.

An iridescent Gray can be created by combining colors that have a natural tendency to separate and applying them to a rough surface paper. Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna or Cerulean Blue.

Short cut was just mentioned Perm. Alizarin Crimson with Thalo Green.

To make this "short-cut" work the two colors must have all three primaries in them. These two do.

Another example would be mixtures of Blue and Brown produce an incredible range of rich Grays.  Why do they work, well the earth Browns have elements of Red and Yellow (sometimes traces of Black).

Of particular delight is combinations involving Cerulean or Manganese Blue with Burnt Sienna or Burnt Umber.


These Blue/Brown mixtures are particularly valued in painting Gray subjects such as metal or weathered wood as well as outdoor scenes.  They create rich darks that when diluted can be adjusted toward a warm Brown/Gray or cooler Blue/Gray.  They will lift nicely.

Floral subjects, when it comes to leaves, be adventurous sometime.  Yellow/Green leaf drop in Mauve or Red/Blue Violet color onto the wet surface to create colorful shadows.


When mixing Grays adventurously it is important to evaluate their color content (LOOK).The simple way, make swatches and keep record of findings and colors used.  Doing this you will be able to choose Grays appropriately to your paintings needs (LOOK).

Some Artists like to vary their shadow areas with tube Grays.  Using a variety of tube Grays they model the folds and patterns of white linen, the texture of lace, and the shadows and shapes of porcelain, china, silver etc.,etc


The biggest advantage of using tube Grays you never had to worry about matching a Gray later (next day) in the painting.

Downside to doing this does not teach you a thing, not so exciting.

Plus if the painting is in any competition you will not hear the remark "OH!" he/she was just "tubing It".  In other words they could not mix Grays.

You can also create a sense of depth by using Grays.  When I use Gray as a shadowy color, popping the flower forward is what it does.  Each layer of shading lifts the lightest petal further forward.

Mario Cooper, President Emeritus of the American Watercolor Society, rarely uses fully saturated color, but his strong design and value structure give his muted paintings great interest and vigor.

He uses many of the Blue/Brown mixes and sometimes combines Payne's Gray with Raw Sienna plus a touch of Perm. Alizarin Crimson.  His flesh tones are a mixture of Cadmum Orange and Winsor Violet.  If it's good enough for him, it sure if good enough for you and me.




Watercolor Basics

One of the biggest reasons that students fail in painting Watercolor is................. JUDGING YOUR EARLY ARTISTIC EFFORTS.



Watercolor for Beginners

Learn the basics of watercolor painting... from choosing the right paper and brushes to learning basic techniques of glazing and how to frame your work.



Watercolor Techniques

Learn just a few of the various techniques used most often by professional watercolorists to bring interest, texture and "life" to their watercolor paintings.

Each technique is fully demonstrated.


Painting Trees

Although trees are made up of many parts and endless textures don't let them become overwhelming, you cannot fall out of these painted trees. I know you can paint good looking trees with a little help. So lets see how you are going to do this without getting bent out of shape, irritated or what-ever you do when those Green Balls on sticks appear.......been there...done that.

Painting Landscapes

I am going to present to you a "non encyclopedia" approach and give you a no fuss, logical way to paint a watercolor landscape and have fun doing it. Before we start, get comfortable maybe a favorite beverage would be in order.Make your mistakes, goofs and failures work to help you in painting a watercolor landscape.

  • Four Seasons
  • Working With Fresh Transparent Glazes
  • Watercolor Painting in the Great Outdoors
  • Painting Clouds in Watercolor
  • Step by step Demonstration on Watercolor Winter Scenes
  • Demonstration of Painting Trees Trunks
  • Demonstration of Rocks and Sea
  • Demonstration of Watercolor Skies
  • Watercolor Landscape Painting Tips

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