My new pre-mixed grey watercolour

December 9, 2016 | 8 Comments

I know that some of you have been patiently waiting to hear what my new grey colour is. Well, I am finally ready to reveal it!

I refer to it as “Soft Grey” and it is mixed from mostly Cerulean Blue Chromium, a little Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and a touch of Quinacridone Rose. Note: all are from the Daniel Smith range.

2018 UPDATE: I am now using Hansa Yellow Medium in this mix rather than Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

I am using this mix a lot for muted colours and shaded areas to white, so it is really convenient to have it pre-mixed into a full pan. I am totally indebted to Jane Blundell (and her Jane’s Grey) for the idea of pre-mixing colours.

As for how I mix up pre-mix colours… it is very unscientific. After getting a rough feel for the best proportions of each paint colour, I just squeeze a little bit of each into an empty pan and mix it with a toothpick. Each mix is a little different but I don’t mind that.

I also know that I am due (overdue) to do a palette update, so hope to be able to share that next week.

So what’s your current favourite mix in your palette?



  • Carmel Campbell says:

    Only yesterday I mixed up Ultramarine Blue & Burnt Sienna as i was tired of messing up the mixing area on my palette. I have a nice gray that I can turn cooler or warmer with the slight addition of either color also in my palette. Moonglow is an interesting color. I am going to experiment with it. I will also experiment with your mix. What I am looking for is a good gray for people with gray hair. We have a high population of seniors who visit the local coffee shop where I sketch. Thank you for sharing your mix.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Carmel – give this mix a go for your gray hair! UB & BS is a winning combination. Moonglow is a popular colour but I prefer my own cleaner, bluer purple shadow colour.

  • Denise Robotham says:

    If you want a really dark grey mix indigo and burnt umber are great. I have a pan of grey mix in my palette of ultramarine and burnt umber which can be warmed up with burnt sienna or cooled down with a touch of indigo. If you don’t mix these too thoroughly you can get some lovely granulation and unexpected “happy accidents”.

    • Deb Cavillon says:

      I’m so glad you mentioned granulation! It is said that overmixing watercolor is like overmixing biscuits or muffins, a definite no-no. They say it makes a dull, flat color. I am glad to see you have had success in granulation, which is so beautiful, I will be careful not to overmix.

  • Denise Robotham says:

    Meant to say I love your soft grey and I think with a tad (technical term 😉 more of the natural sienna will make just the right base colour for the traditional stone buildings of my area of the Cotswold Hills in England.

  • Maggie says:

    This is a gorgeous gray! I also like Cerulean Blue Chromium and Potters Pink. It’s not as quite as neutral, but is very pale and granulating i (I prefer Winsor Newton Potters Pink over Daniel Smith. The latter seemed gummy to me.).

  • Oh greys, I always say to myself to have some premixed one, but then I have so many grey mixes I like! I will try your new grey in my next sketches though, really lovely. Lately I have grow fond of Cerulean (Rembrandt) with Schmincke’s Translucent Orage for a nifty grey for skies. And I find myself using more and more Pyrrole Red PR254 with Pthalo Green. Or ocasionally mixing my own moonglow on the spot with Indian Red, French Ultramarine and a touch of my beloved Perlyene Green. Such an awesome color this last one, it both serves as a black, as a green and as a perfect colour to neuter reds.

  • Flory says:

    I love this delicate, subtle soft gray. Thanks for sharing it, Liz! I also mixed Sebastian’s gray and both of Denise’s and like them all too. Maggie, I also enjoy the CBC + PP mix, and agree about using W&N. My chart of gray mixes is getting bigger and more exciting all the time! Most of these mixes have granulation–so beautiful!

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