About Paynes Gray

Paynes Gray

As an artist, I really love painting with the color Paynes Gray. Once we met, the love only grew stronger. And I was wondering just why? What does this color mean, what does it mean to me and what does this specific color do for me? I have this book: “The secret lives of color – by Kassi St.Clair” and I often like to look up a specifiek color in this book. That is what I have it for. Paynes Gray is mentioned in this book under the categorie “Black” but to me this color is really “Grey”. So in order to know more about the meaning of Paynes Gray, I have to dive into “Black” and “Grey”.

William Payne

Paynes Gray is invented by the painter William Payne, born in 1760. He was looking for a substitute for the known Blacks and he mixed Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre and Crimson Red into this new pigment he gave his name to. So, Paynes Gray is not just a mix of black and white. And that is what is so interesting in this color. When I use it, it is deep dark grey, but when I water it down or add white to it, the color tends to turn into a blue tint. And that is what I love about it. The color is often used in landscapes to create the depth of the skies. I don’t do landscapes (not as intended anyway), but I love to use the color to create interesting values and hues.

Clouds in Paynes Grey

In the market there is a variety of Paynes Gray for sale and not every brand has the blue touch. There are artist that really don’t love the blue touch. At first I used Paynes Gray from Amsterdam, that was my introduction. I also got a small bottle of DecoArt. Both had the blue touch. But when I bought the Paynes Gray from Amsterdam Expert Series, the Paynes Gray was really grey. Luckily I decided to give a shot a Golden Fluid Acrylics and there was my blue touch again. I can really say that I love the Golden Fluid the most.

To me the color feels very warm, but it actually is a cool color, cooler than black and as said, bluer than black. I don’t know why the color feels warm to me? Perhaps it is because there is red and ochre into the mix? Or perhaps I feel love for this color love is never cold.