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Limited Edition: Payne's Grey


Limited Edition: Payne's Grey


Limited Edition: Payne’s Grey

It feels like every artist we talk to has at least one thing in common: a true love of Payne's Grey!  The color's warmth and versatility draws us in and earns our total devotion. Shades of grey are composed of many hues and our beloved Payne's Grey is no different as it is made from the mixing together of a blue, a rosy red, and an earthy yellow. There are small variations in how people have mixed their Payne's Grey with some using colors like Prussian Blue, Indigo, Rose Madder, raw sienna, etc.  It's such a personal color in this way, which is one of the reasons it's so beautiful;  we all have our own Payne's Grey- some warmer, some cooler, more saturated, or more transparent.  At the shop we decided to use three of our most favorite colors:  Ultramarine Blue Light, Carmine Naccarat, and Italian Gold Ochre Light.  We created our own pigment recipe, becoming artist-chemists, and found our perfect shade!

What makes this color even more interesting is it's history!  There was an actual Payne!  William Payne, born in England in 1760, invented the color in the early 1800s for use in his own work.  Prior to Payne's creation of this soft blue-grey, black was predominantly used for shading or toning down a color.  Payne's Grey eliminated this dependence on black and offered a more subtle approach.  By as early as the 1830s, the color was being widely recognized by other artists, which lead to it's eventual commercial production using Payne's formula.  

Alone Payne's Grey can lean more towards the blue, but then when worked with other colors it transforms to a more grey tone.  In some cases, it looks so close to black, it seems like magic that it contains none at all!  William Payne, a watercolorist in his own right, also taught painting and recommended his mixture to students, especially when painting landscapes.  You can see Payne's Grey in both close and remote mountains, stones and rocks, clouds on a rainy day, and so much more.  We can go on and on about this magic color but we hope you enjoy our version of it!

Written by our watercolor project manager Shaine Drake

Handmade in our shop using the highest quality earth pigment and natural watercolor binding medium made from gum arabic (sap from acacia trees,) honey, glycerine and distilled water.

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4037 Judah St. @ 46th Ave., Outer Sunset, SF
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