Flint Grey…

Those of you who are familiar with Daniel Smith’s awesome range of watercolour paints will know that last year they bought out a new range of grey watercolours, some of which are named after well known watercolour artists. I was quite excited about this range of grey watercolours coming onto the market. There was (and still is) a definite gap in the market where grey watercolour paints are concerned – in many ranges of watercolours the choice of ready made greys is very limited. When the new greys arrived, lovely as they all are in their own way, I found none of them quite matched up to what I was looking for. I am a bit picky with my colours…

This is the point when I decided that I’m just going to have to create my own “ready made” grey… ! Here it is – FLINT GREY:

Flint Grey 1 - NB
Flint Grey – mixed from Daniel Smith Ultramarine Blue + Yellow Ochre

My grey is a mix of Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Ochre. Both of these watercolour paints are transparent, granulating and have an excellent lightfastness rating. Mixed in the correct proportions they make a soft, stunningly beautiful and totally neutral grey that is just what I was looking for.

In mass tone Flint Grey is a lovely charcoal grey and it will wash out to the most beautiful light delicate grey. It is perfect for skies, landscapes. winter seascapes, soft shadows and shading. It’s uses are endless. It also mixes well with other colours to create lovely soft muted colours. To my grey I can add a tiny bit more Ultramarine Blue in the palette to cool it down if needed and I can add a touch more Yellow Ochre to warm it up if needed:

Flint Grey - Warm & Cool - NB
Flint Grey (middle), + more Ultramarine Blue (left) & + more Yellow Ochre (right)

Sometimes when I run clean water through a dark wash of Flint Grey I get a subtle separation of colour and some lovely granulation:

Flint Grey - Separation & Granulation - NB

Flint Grey is named after myself (Flint being my surname) but also appropriately named because flint stone comes in lovely shades of grey, blue-grey and yellow ochre. Flint Grey is now going to be a permanent part of my watercolour palette. I will just mix more as I need it. I store my Flint Grey in a large watercolour pan, which you can see in the first image above. I am so excited about this grey – it is so beautiful!

There are so many different ways of mixing grey. Any mix of red, yellow and blue in the correct proportions will make some form of a grey. For example: a green (blue + yellow) mixed with a red (in the correct proportions) will make a grey. Blue plus a small amount of orange (red + yellow) will make a shade of grey. Different primary colour combinations will make different shades of grey. Why not have a go at creating your own greys?  It’s fun…

27 thoughts on “Flint Grey…

  1. From this moment on, I’m calling this color “Evelyn Flint Grey”! Lovely color. I do own a rather disproportionate amount of shades of gray acrylics! So metaphorically about life, right?

  2. How perfectly lovely! Soon you will be selling pans of Flint Grey, well one can hope. Looking forward to seeing more of your paintings, your posts are delightful.

  3. A very nice colour indeed. I remember in one book making class I took using acrylics to paint the pages and mixing ultramarine, yellow ochre and buff titanium, that also gave a beautiful grey. I look forward to your watercolour posts dropping into my inbox they bring so much pleasure, thank you Evelyn.

  4. This is fun to see, Evelyn. At first (before reading) I thought a company like Daniel Smith had brought out a new grey of that name – after all, flint could be grey, for sure. But I’m pleased that you made your own and yes, it sure looks neutral in the first iteration. I love the last image too – there’s a storm brewing in there. 🙂 Also, this reminded me of how I learned about gray (American spelling :-)). I was working for a pair of NYC interior decorators at their country property. The guest house was redone and a bedroom was painted the most gorgeous pale gray – I couldn’t believe my eyes, the beauty of those walls was too much. The painters told me there were many different colors in that gray. For me, it was a revelation but it made perfect sense.

    1. Thank you Lynn. Yes, there are so many different shades of grey and with watercolour so many different ways of creating greys. But I’m really happy with this one… !

  5. Great Post Evelyn and a great name for a pigment too! I spend a lot of time trying to mix my ideal grey and still feel like I’m some way off discovering ‘my grey’ – I think your post may inspire me to redouble my efforts!

    1. Thank you John – I’m always glad to know I may have inspired someone! The Daniel Smith versions of the two colours making my grey are very slightly different to the Winsor & Newton versions and the resulting grey is slightly different too – much nore lovely (in my humble opinion!)…

      1. Hi Evelyn and I can quite understand what you mean about the Daniel Smith version of those two colours. I will try the W&N colours but I don’t recall getting a grey in the past, only greens! I do like how challenging it can be to mix what you might expect to be such a simple colour to achieve!

      2. If you get green when mixing these two colours, then there’s slightly too much Yellow Ochre – try adding tiny amounts of more Ultramarine till it goes grey. It’s a fine balancing act… !

  6. Oh Evelyn, I just love Flint Grey! For some time now, I’ve found myself being increasingly drawn to greys and am hoping to get my hands on a supply of subtle grey toned cardstock which I think would go very well with silver and a soft slatey blue. Although I adore a bright colour palette, there are times when my eye needs restful neutrals and sepias and more grungey tones. Very much looking forward to seeing Flint Grey in action (and what an appropriate name it is) and experimenting with a bit of colour mixing myself. So interesting that ochre and blue combine to make grey!

    Shoshi x

    1. Thank you Shoshi… ! Like you, I too love all colours. I love the bright vibrant shades but I also love the subtle soft muted colours too. There’s a time and place for all of them. When I created this grey I was thinking about the UK winter landscape & seascape. It has a lot of grey in it and an all round versatile soft grey watercolour shade would be very useful. So I created one… !!

      1. That makes me think of where we used to live, Evelyn. Our house was high up above the dockyard in Plymouth. We used to get the most magnificent sunsets, and on other days you couldn’t see it at all because of the mist. People were often surprised when I said that my favourite of its moods was when everything was battleship grey – the water, the sky, the landscape, the cranes and buildings, and of course, the battleships! It was such a subtle effect.

        Do you think the paint company will take up your idea and produce this shade of grey ready mixed? That would be awesome!

        Shoshi x

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