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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > December 19 > The colours of winter

The colours of winter

Paul Weaver finds the fluid nature of watercolour perfect for capturing the subtle greys and soft atmosphere of fog, mist and rain as he demonstrates here, with suggestions for mixing the perfect grey for your needs

As we head into the winter months, the subtle greys, softedged forms and wet surfaces created by fog, mist and rain can make compelling subjects to paint, whatever your chosen medium. Through a heavy veil of moisture, colours become grey and muted, shapes blur and quickly recede.

Colour mixes for greys

Grey is one of those colours that some may find dull and uninspiring, but a closer look reveals an endless variety of subtle, warm and cool shades. Being able to mix an effective range of greys is essential for winter landscapes and a lot more besides, and I find this can be achieved with a relatively limited palette of blues, browns and complementary colours (right).

Cool greys recede and warmer greys come forward, which is useful for conveying space and distance in a landscape or street scene. I suggest starting with burnt umber or burnt sienna and exploring the possibilities when mixed with either ultramarine or cobalt blue. Adding more brown turns up the warmth, while more blue will cool things down. These colours are also naturally very dark when undiluted, so provide a full range of tonal values as well.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our December issue. This month consultant editor and acclaimed professional artist David Curtis reveals his approach to painting a recent portrait of his son, while Kathy Barker explains what to look for when painting lips in the second of her series on portraiture in oils. Amanda Hyatt shows how to simplify complex interiors and Paul Weaver advises on the colours to use and mix to create atmospheric greys to capture winter scenes in watercolour. Newcomers to pastel will enjoy the first in Robert Brindley's new three-part series on pastel techniques and landscape demonstration, Soraya French and Robert Dutton suggest myriad creative ideas for working in mixed media to paint flowers and expressive landscapes and Geoff Hunt and Michele Del Campo share how they work up a painting in the studio in different media and very different ways. Cover artist Bob Brandt shows why pattern is so important, while Richard Pikesley, Paul Brown, Charles Williams and Paul Talbot-Greaves all share their ideas to inspire your artistic development. Enjoy your painting with The Artist this month!