Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Payne's Grey Puddles

Blue and White china teapot,watercolor on Etsy, .5" x 7.5"
Yesterday kayork said:Love the blue and white china, and the washy freedom of the background (well, and the looseness of the foreground, too, actually!) So class, I thought, time for another watercolor lecon - laying down "blooming" blue washes.First I checked out the blue colors I made myself...Then I made test swatches of some of the blues in my paintbox...OK Time to dive in - First lay down a nice fat pool of clear water where you're going to "drop" your paint...Next drop in the Paynes Grey and let her run! Payne's Grey is a blueish dark grey color made by mixing a blue and a black together, typically ultramarine and bone black. Sometimes a touch of red is added to the mix.Payne's Grey is a color your teacher will tell you to leave alone. But it's also a color that loves to race around like mad in a nice puddle of water.With a bit of gravity (i.e. tilt your boards class!) Payne's Grey will take off like a bat out of hell, mainly because it's mixture of pigment particles are small and they love running! Just like obsessed joggers. Larger particled pigments like earth colors ( ex. Yellow Ochre) will tend to just sit there like bumps on a log...You can always go back into a Payne's Grey wash with droplets of clear water to see some more locomotion. Often called bleeds, blossoms, cauliflowers or "happy accidents" - this is that unpredictable element of risk that both terrifies and pleases watercolor painters. Basically you give the reigns of control over to the paint, sit back and watch, with just a little bit of guidence. It's called "watching paint dry". Anyone can do it. You don't have to be Matisse to drop water on paper and then throw in some paint.
Please begin class!


  1. Anonymous8:29 AM

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;-D

  2. Anonymous9:29 AM

    I learned so much from Wednesday's class. Thank you so much! Janice S.

  3. I love that indigo color of blue!

  4. Anonymous9:35 AM

    It is my favourite Payne's Grey!!!!!!! use it a lot in my drawings too ( my dark plums for instance....)

  5. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Oh yes let's do make color blobs today!!
    So much more fun than watching the financial markets go to hell in handbasket...much rather watch Paynes grey run instead like hell!

  6. Yowas what a class, I was rivoted and clicked on every link you created. Facinating and Fun - You have a great adventure going on!!! Thanks for keeping us linked to it all.

  7. This was fun. I too was rivoted...I enjoyed my lesson. You make it sound so easy. But I know better. :)) Your Elephant has attitude. I love it. This post I need to save for future reference.

  8. Wow aren't you doing well on Etsy - congratulations.

  9. Yummilicious puddles! My kind of fun....I love the blues. These are just as yummy to me as any profiterole...and I spot the compliment of warm in that wash on the front... Nicely balanced..;-)

    Agog here at those mesmerizing drops onto paper...ahhh. Very nice.

  10. Another good lesson! Seriously, why don't you start doing workshops, online or in person? There is much to learn from you!

  11. Ditto....... the lesson's/workshops on-line.

    Wonderful bright paintings going on lately. The dark back-grounds reall hold the eye.

  12. Oh lvetopaint I do want to do lessons!
    Real classes not online...
    walking the streets of Paris... eating pastries...
    we'll walk off the calories...
    OH YUM...

  13. Anonymous1:17 PM

    You make me want to break out my paints...

  14. Anonymous3:12 PM

    I love Payne's Grey as well, although I work in gouache and not watercolors. I respect all those who do watercolors. I wish I could. I do much work in grisaille so I favor greys of all shades.

  15. It's amazing! Blue is going to be the main color for Spring 2009. You are so trendy dear Carol!

  16. My favorite kind of painting--dropping pigment into oozy waters...looks great, Carol. I like your newest blue and white minis!

  17. Most INSPIRING!
    I've always felt doing a nice and lush, wet and juicy watercolor is like rideing a thoroughbred horse around a track. At a certain point, you must give it its' head, hang on for the ride, and if you're still on top of it at the end of the race, consider yourself LUCKY!

  18. Anonymous8:48 PM

    You have inspired me to take out my Payne's Gray and play. I think I was saving it, since, as a beginner, I've tried to limit my pallette and learn to mix colors...but one cannot remain a beginner forever...sigh.

  19. Anonymous11:33 PM

    I live in São Vicente, SP, Brazil. I am a fan of your website and visit it almost everyday. I can only dream about going back one day and your blog just brings me that unique Parisian atmosphere which I love so much ( and who doesn´t, right?)

    Congratulations on your art (amazing!!) and blog(fantastic!!!) and please keep the good work, I so much depend on it to make me smile each morning.

    A bien tôt...


  20. Anonymous11:39 PM

    One of the reasons I like your posting. They are always positive and somewhat fanciful for those who do not get to Paris bakeries very often. Living with a bit of vicarious fun can be healthy. I love knowing you are able to have a life that seems to make you happy and fulfill you.

    I do quite a bit of mentoring of artists getting into the business of their field, and you are a good role model. Everyone has to decide what his/her dream is, and it doesn’t HAVE to be narrowly defined to equal success.

    I look forward to your next breakfast.

  21. Wow!!!!! :-)

    That teapot is about ready to join the Mad Tea Party. :-)

  22. Yes, well, this is just a most fantastic lesson, Carol!! And instruction I most certainly need, since my watercolors tend to be too controlled. Thank you so much for posting this!

  23. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Well, I USED to hate blue (I'm more of a green/copper/creme person)! Thanks for helping me revisit this color with so many possibilities :o)
    Cake Bunny

  24. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Take a look at the blue and white china over in my House in the Woods today. I know you'll love it.


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