Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chromatic Gray

Here's a view of the Connecticut River from Middle Haddam yesterday.  This is a 12x12.  Sometimes the square format suits a subject well.  I've painted at this location many times, almost always using a horizontal format, and usually with a high horizon line.  But yesterday afternoon's clouds were so spectacular that I had to make them prominent.

It was also a good excuse to play with subtle variations of chromatic grays.  For non-painters, that's a fancy way of saying gray formulated from primaries, rather than black and white (which tends to be ashen, and not suffused with color).  Chromatic gray is how Mother Nature mixes gray on her palette.

I always enjoy the lyric in Counting Crow's song "Mr. Jones" that goes: "Yeah, well you know, gray is my favorite color."  Adam Duritz, however, probably was singing about gray because he thought it had a cool grunge connotation.  I like chromatic gray because of the subtle beauty of its seemingly infinite variations, and the way it serves as a foil for more vibrant colors.

Ah, color theory.  Gotta love it.


  1. Itten would be proud! Your painting demonstrates the use of subtle gray so well! It's a beauty! Keep on painting your pictures and buy that gray guitar (Picaso won't mind)!

  2. Where in Middle Haddam? The view looks very familiar.

  3. We purchased this painting as soon as the paint dried. It is spectactular! The use of the chromatic gray palette is exceptional - as is the added texture of layered pigments. The work sparkles on the wall - defying description - and the 12 x 12 suits the subject perfectly! We absolutely love it and hope that Ken continues painting in this style.