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Greyscale and Thumbnail Colour Studies

June 21, 2019
By Richard Robinson
Greyscale and Thumbnail Colour Studies logo

Sharkfin Cove, California

Grayscale Studies

Painting a greyscale study of your scene is an excellent way to get to grips with your subject without the added complexity of colour. You can then put more focus into the other important aspects of painting like value, shapes, edges and texture.

You can use black and white paint, or mix your own black with something like Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. You can also limit your value scale to something like 5 or 9 values, premixed on your palette. This helps you to simplify your subject and build a stronger value structure. To do that just mix a huge pile of black and then take lumps from it and add white, making separate value piles.

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Doing very small thumbnail colour studies of small portions of your scene allows you to then focus on the task of seeing colour in your subject, mentally simplifying it to an average colour for each large shape and then mixing that colour and applying it in the correct shape on canvas. What could be easier, right!? The more you do this the better you’ll be able to see, simplify and paint colour.