Sunday, September 13, 2009

Painting With Torrit Grey

Every spring the makers of Gamblin Fine Oil Paints create a very special paint called Torrit Grey. Gamblin recycles the pigment dust and creates a unique Torrit Grey that will never be repeated. And, then they hold a Torrit Grey Painting Competition for painters who are challenged to only use Torrit Grey, Black and White! It is a “FUN” to go back to the basics of black and white, and I was very intrigued and excited to do a painting. And, I knew that I had over two months to do it --

I do admit that I didn’t start to do the painting for the competition until a few days before the deadline - okay so I waited -- I even had to go to the art store to purchase a tube of ivory black!

I went through my photos and decided that a Ballet Painting (and I have so many great ballet photos) would be great in black and white. I chose a few ideas and printed some from my computer to paint.

I am known for my use of color, so this was indeed a great respite and a challenge! And, I loved it! In fact, I am now going to do a series of black and whites and then perhaps just add one color! It also got me back into doing ballet paintings which I absolutely love. Did I mention that I had so much fun!

Back to basics -- using the six values of light and mixing the greys shows the values quite clearly -- It is a great way to see light and shadows without worrying about the color.

The Torrit Grey this year is a cool grey, so I rubbed out some of the highlights with my fingers, q-tips and paper towels to show the warm board underneath the paint! I used an Ampersand Gessoed Board. After I let the underpainting dry, I scumbled lighter greys and whites to achieve the effect of light coming through the window on the dancers.

The first painting that I entered is, “Resting”, 10 x 8, Oil on Board, and it sold immediately upon arriving at Ann Buell Fine Art

in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and sold immediately. I sure am having fun now!

The other painting that I entered into the competition is “The Practice”, 10 x 8, Oil on Board and is here in my studio.

I am inspired to do more of the “grey” paintings and have fallen in love with Gamblin Oil Paints!

Wishing you days of magnificence!

Diane Leonard


  1. I just wanted to let you know I saw your work today at Saks in Denver, and it is beautiful**

    Janice Warriner

  2. Thank you for sharing the story of "torrit gray." Very interesting. I LOVE the dancer paintings! I really like monochromatic work in general. I'm always drawn to it. I did a value study in indigo recently, and I like it much more than any of the subsequent paintings I attempted!