Well, I did just what my Daddy always told me not to do – and I did it in Vegas!
“Artists don’t use black” Daddy said, and the black crayola stayed in the box.
But there I was, in sin city, watching Ken Auster squeeze black right out of the tube in front of hundreds of fans. As I watched, the lust grew stronger – I was falling in love with gray. His grays are downright beautiful, and most of them are the spawn of tubed black.
The impressionists didn’t use black. And there I was, craving it. I FELT A PASSIONATE NEED FOR GRAYS!
I had mistakenly thought that gray was boring – a necessary neutral to be used (if used at all) as an area of rest and recovery in a busy painting. That seemed about as exciting as nap time, gray’s equivalent, seems to children. And even less interesting than a discussion on which way to spell it. (Gray is a color and grey is a colour. Do you live in the US or the UK?)
Assignment: Spell it either way, but play with gray. If you don’t have black, you can easily mix it with burnt umber and ultramarine blue. Add a little white.
Add tiny bits of other colors to the gray and study the effects.
We pondered gray in Artful Greens and Malarkey when I described Irish days as “dove, slate, burnished pewter, silver, slate, nickel, and gull feather.” Leave a comment about your experience.