The seemingly unimpressive grey


After I had posted my painting about Falkensteiner bank I receive an email from Hartmut:

Your painting Falkensteiner bank is a wonderful perfect painting.

Wonderful, because now I see the world differently again after your explanations about color.

Looking at your oil sketch when you painted in the foggy weather I was taken by your wonderful grey colors.

Now, looking at the pastel painting I recognize wonderful greys as well. It’s like a festival of greys ( green, red, violet).

I seem to understand your way of painting much better now and I take it as an opportunity to look at the color grey much more intensely.


Colored greys are a key element to my paintings. Very often pastel painters don’t have these greys or neutrals in their collection, but they’re necessary for a good balanced painting. Why do I not simply use greys mixed from black and white? Because they don’t exists in nature and make a painting look dull. There is never a pure white or black or a mixture from these in my paintings. For my white clouds I use a very light blue, yellow or green.

To recognize these greys can be learned and it is one of the reasons why it’s so important to paint plein air and have a really good look at the colors out there. A camera will never be able to differentiate the spectrum as the human eye does.

When painting with oils you can simply mix grays or neutrals:


Pastel artists need to buy the sticks. How do you find them? Well, look at the unimpressive colors in the assortment. They are overlooked when placed next to the bright colors. Girault

Girault Grau Screenshot.jpeg
I really like the color range from Great American Artworks. And I really do like the creativity in naming those greys: Dorian ( refers to the novel The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde), Earl ( tea) and Church Mouse.
Graukarte Great American
Unsison Graukarte



  1. Luzia

    Liebe Astrid,

    erst einmal wünsche ich dir und deiner Familie ein gutes und gesundes Jahr 2015.

    An dieser Stelle ein herzliches Dankeschön für diese interessanten Informationen inklusive der Beispiele.
    Die Herstellerangaben helfen sicher nicht nur mir.

    Liebe Grüße