This color is a hidden gem

Barb Toland Art Bites

Is it spelled 'gray'? Or is it 'grey'?

It actually all depends on what part of the world you live in.

Here in the U.S. we primarily use the former. I tend to lean towards the unusual & exotic, so I'm sticking with the latter. Unless of course I change my mind! Hey, it's a woman's prerogative ;-)

I'm a middle child, with exactly one sibling on each side. I'm also left-handed, but out of necessity have learned to use my right quite a bit as well. I was born on the cusp between Scorpio & Sagittarius.

My Mom spent most of her childhood in the city, and my Dad in a rural area -- so I've heard stories of both all of my life. I love the water AND the woods. I love the city AND nature.

I could go on, but you get the picture!

I've learned for the most part to be at peace with a mind & heart that have chosen to live in the grey area between here & there. How about you? For many people, living & thinking in that grey area can be excruciating!

No matter where you're comfortable, let's spend some time today talking about a color that's neither here nor there, sometimes misunderstood, and even undervalued.

You guessed it ... grey!

If you've been following my work for a while, then you know how much I love vivid & saturated colors. If there's any doubt, just take a look at my day pack...

But instead of focusing on all things colorful today, I want to entice you to fall in love with grey -- a much more subtle, but I think an equally alluring color!

Take a look at the leaf below. It's definitely brilliant with all of its fancy reds & flashy yellows. But where would it be if it didn't have the grey background for contrast? Plus, they're not just plain old run of the mill greys, are they? If you look close you'll see many beautiful shades of grey.

(You can stop your snickering - I didn't say 'fifty shades' lol.)

One of the most wonderful places to see all kinds of greys is while you're at the ocean.

Oodles & oodles of greys everywhere you turn...



Artists who have a true passion for color, are always mixing them to see what they get. For me, it's really kind of an addiction. Getting just the perfect color to match what I'm seeing in my head can I admit, get a bit obsessive at times.

I've spent many happy hours mixing colors, including various shades of grey. So I thought I'd spend a few glorius minutes mixing some greys today so I can share them here with you.

Below are some samples of those I came up with. Given enough time I could discover tons more! The dots above each grey square are the colours that were mixed to arrive at that particular shade.

Some people think that grey is merely a combination of black & white.

Oh contraire! As you can see from the above combinations of blues, reds & yellows -- there are endless ways to make grey!

One method in making grey with paints is to mix a blue & a red together, and then throw in just a hint of yellow. (That's what I did to arrive at the greys on the top row, and the last 2 on the bottom.)

Another technique is to mix a color with its complimentary. They will have a tendency to neutralize each other, which results in some really lovely greys. By mixing the complimentary colors red & green, blue & orange or purple & yellow, there are all kinds of greys to be discovered.

Some lean towards green for a warmer look, and others towards blue for a cooler look. And yet others have a brown vibe to them.

One of my favorite "go tos" when I want to loosen up with the paint brush, experiment with different color combos, or just don't want to work on something in particular, is to practice painting sunrises & sunsets.

While I'm painting them, I also take whatever color was just on my brush, and put a glaze of it on the strip at the bottom. By the time I've finished, the strip is a lovely shade of grey.

This just goes to show how many different colours can be combined to make grey...



The next time you go to the ocean or wander thru the woods, take a good look at the greys around you. As you practice observing them, you'll find they each have their own unique, beautiful vibe.

And if you love hanging out in the city as much as I do, then you can find plenty of greys to admire there as well.

Look at the grey stone buildings, walls & statues. And when you're lucky enough to catch a good foggy day, it will turn your surroundings into a surreal, magical grey.

My first visits to Paris & London were in the winter. I was thrilled to enjoy a few of those days with the cities laced in fog, especially in the morning. They were breathtaking to see, giving everything layers of enchanted grey.

Here's some from our stay in Paris...



And from London...



I hope you've enjoyed learning more about the color grey. And if you haven't considered it that much before now, then hopefully you've come to realize how fabulous it can be!

Now it's your turn...

Take a few minutes to flip thru the photos on your phone or laptop, and see if you can find one with some grey in it. Then share it in the comments below, and tell me why you love it!

Is it a cool grey? Or warm? Are there lots of different shades of grey? Is there something else in the photo that's colorful, and by contrast makes the grey look even more delightful?

I would love to chat about art & creativity with you. Your artistic voice & heART matter to me ... always!

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