Preparation for the Grisaille


Preparing the Canvas for the Grisaille:

As paint dries certain colors have a tendency to sink in and appear dull, therefore I recommend that you oil out the canvas again to help bring the color back.

Grisaille Supplies:

W- Flake White #2

dries faster than Titanium White, contains lead, most neutral,translucent white Titanium White has a slight bluish tint.

IB- Ivory Black

Most blacks have a bluish tint, therefore RU is added to neutralize the gray mixes

RU- Raw Umber

RU (value 1 out of tube) is a stronger pigment than black so add it in small amounts

2 palette knifes

1 value scale

Color Wheel 3505 Gray Scale and Value Finder $5.00

2 sheets of black cardboard to prevent glare

* I use Micheal Harding paints, but Winsor Newton Artist grade paint works just as well.

I was taught to work with a controlled palette and follow a neutral 9 value gray scale plus black and white. It is recommended that you pre mix your colors so that you have all 9 values ready before you start working on the grisaille.

Here is a value scale. Each value that is mixed should show a nice step from the adjacent value.

Grey Scale

Important to Remember:

-Before you start to mix paints remember it is easier if you add stronger colors in small amounts to weaker ones.

- Mix between adjacent values such as 2-3-4, but never 1-3-6

- Determining you value correctness is done by holding the mixed value over the adjacent values to the left and right and squinting while comparing lightness/darkness and making color adjustment accordingly by either adding more white or black.

- Different paint brands and age of paint will affect values.

grey scale palette

Mixing the Gray Value String

1. Squeeze paint out add

2. Flatten with palette knife

3. Hold over value scale and squint to determine if value is correct- if there is glare use your black cardboard

4. ASK yourself these questions:

a. Is it too light? -then add more black

b. Is is too dark? - then add white

c. Is it too brown? - then add black

d. Is it too blue? - then add Raw Umber

Value 10 - Flake White# 2 (pure white)

Value 09-01 Various Grays mixed by adding W+ IB + RU

Value 00 - Ivory Black

I like to mix an entire batch out and used to tube them, before a friend recommended using these lovely syringes.

Once you have your paints go to

INSERT LINK Grisaille Procedure

Related Posts

  • Child Portrait from Old Photo 592
    Child Portrait from Old Photo 592

    Many of my clients submit very old photos that they cherish and ask to have a portrait painted in oil. For this portr...

  • Cat Painting 594
    Cat Painting 594

    This cat portrait has a bold high energy background.Due to the odd angle of the reference photo, I wanted to make the...

  • Horse Portrait in Oil 591
    Horse Portrait in Oil 591

    This horse oil portrait measures 24x24inches and is a great size to really focus on this beautiful animal's head. I w...

  • July Free Portrait Winner Announcement
    July Free Portrait Winner Announcement

    Greeting Card by Vicki Sawyer It's time for a new portrait raffle winner announcement. Our July portrait raffle winne...

  • Digital Portrait of Two Dogs 593
    Digital Portrait of Two Dogs 593

    This is a digital portrait of a Chihuahua and his friend. My client was looking for a special gift for a relative and...


Write a comment

Comments are moderated