Amazing Greys

Amazing Complementary Greys (Watercolour)

Amazing Complementary Greys (Watercolour)

While running around yesterday I found myself, quite by accident, in the secondhand bookshop in Marrickville where I came across a book I couldn’t put down – the next big thing in my education (I think). Yes, I had a lapse of concentration for a moment and daydreamed myself into a spot surrounded by books… I also found myself joining the library 20 minutes later, I’ve been meaning to do it for 2 years!

Anyway, this book… It’s called “Making Colour Sing” by Jeanne Dobie, subtitled ‘practical lessons in colour and design’. Jeanne Dobie, I now know, is an award winning and respected American artist and her book was published in the 1980’s. Even thought the colours in my copy seem to have faded a bit (at least compared to the internet representations) it’s still obvious that her paintings have a wonderful vibrancy, and in the book she explains how she achieves that.

I’ve barely read the first chapter today and have learned about keeping colours clear and un-muddy, and also how to make a wonderful array of different greys which she calls ‘mouse colours’, from just 3 base primary colours. She describes these as the unpretty colours that support the stars of the picture.The outer squares of the swatches featured above were painted using only Bismuth Yellow, Cobalt Blue and Rose Madder in varying combinations and illustrate how it’s possible to create a range of complementary greys that will make practically any feature colour glow. I suspect my greys need slightly more careful mixing – I would hardly call the first one a blue-grey, or the second a lilac-grey – however, still an eye opening practise session today :-).