Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Friday, April 04, 2014

When it is OK to Make Mud

'Tormented Sky'          5x7           pastel             ©Karen Margulis
 Making mud is easy.  It usually happens when we don't want it.  All of the sudden that fresh beautiful color turns dull and muddy....dirty looking color.  Yuck.  It is frustrating and we work hard to avoid it.

Sometimes it is good to make mud!

My favorite place to mix up some muddy color is in my clouds.  Whether they are stormy tormented clouds or just the shadows in white clouds, we need to use gray.  But I really don't like to use gray. I have discovered that gray can be beautiful. It depends on what colors go into the makeup of the gray. This is where making mud comes in.

There are grays made from mixing black and white. I call them B & W Grays.  They work to show the value changes in clouds but they aren't very exciting or interesting. I prefer Technicolor Grays!

Technicolor Grays are a mix of colors that when layered together turn gray (or muddy but this time we make them on purpose)  Technicolor grays are rich and interesting to look at.  You can make your grays more colorful a couple of ways:

1.  Take your B&W gray and layer some other colors on top. The colors you choose depends on the mood you are trying to create.  Keep the colors the same value of the gray. You don't need to blend the layers with your fingers...simply layering the colors will blend them together.

2. Make your own grays by layering three or more colors of the same value. Again...keep layering repeating the colors until they blend.  Whenever you mix the complements together they become grayed so any three colors are bound to create mud...I mean gray!  I love to layer the tertiary colors of orange, green and purple.

How do I choose the colors to go into my technicolor gray mix?  I like to look at the ground....what colors in the ground could I use in the makeup of the clouds? This helps my painting have color harmony and good relationships between the ground and sky.

So go ahead and make some mud!  Sometimes it is a very good thing!


KAS said...

I love to paint clouds, and this post was so helpful! Thank you for sharing your knowledge so generously!

georges lesur said...

on peut faire de beaux gris en mélangeant 3 couleurs primaires en les dosant avec parcimonie!