Did you know that the human eye can distinguish about 500 shades of gray. It stands for everything between black and white.
Gray itself is the colour of intellect, knowledge, and wisdom. It is perceived as a classic colour, and an ultimate neutral that is seen as sleek or refined. Gray is controlled and inconspicuous and is considered a colour of compromise, perhaps because it sits between the extremes of black and white.
Before I go too much further, I think I should talk about the spelling of gray as there are two versions commonly used, Grey and Gray. So what, then, is the difference between the two spellings? According to Google Answers, the two words have almost the same meaning. G-r-a-y is simply an American derivation of the original spelling of G-r-e-y. It is like organize/organise and judgement/judgment. So next time you're faced with the choice of spelling the word ‘gray,’ you can feel free to go with the spelling that best suits you at the time. I prefer to use G-r-a-y myself although spell check tries to correct me constantly!
Gray comes in two types of toning, cool gray and warm gray, with the obvious being that cool gray has more blue undertones while warm gray has yellow undertones.
All shades of gray can be good, neutral background colours. Use lighter grays in place of white and darker grays in place of black. Taupe which is a grayish brown neutral is a conservative, slightly earthy, warm shade of gray, although Im sure some artists will give you a completely different idea what taupe is, like beige or teal, it can be seen as very different colour-ways!
If you use light coloured grays with pastel shades like pink, blue, lavender, or green, it gives it a feminine quality. Whilst if you darken those colours you get a more masculine feel. Gray with hot pink is considered to be retro. Cool a warm palette by adding gray to rich reds or golden yellows.
Shades of the colour Gray - charcoal, slate, iron, ashen, lead, mousy, gunmetal, silver, dove gray, powder grey, oyster, pearl, taupe, sere, Payne's gray.
Lets finish with a quote by Alberto Giacomettii - “If I see everything in gray, and in gray all the colours which I experience and which I would like to reproduce, then why should I use any other colour? I've tried doing so, for it was never my intention to paint only with gray. But in the course of my work I have eliminated one colour after another, and what has remained is gray, gray, gray!”
And while you’re here - Touching on Colour Mixing
Posted: Friday 16 April 2010