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Grayscale Art | Painting in Black, Gray and White

I have a new idea mulling around, and it has to do with grayscale…

Sometimes I get really frustrated that I don’t have the colors I’d like to have for a painting I’d like to do. For example, I’d love to paint the plants that live in the deep woods ginseng habitat that I love so much. Without a true green, that’s going to be hard to do.

But wait… Am I imposing limits on my art because of my own preconceived notions? Maybe. Why not just paint them with colors that I do have? Maybe it won’t be realistic, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be beautiful. Grayscale painting could be beautiful in the way of black and white photography. I think we’ll see.

Grayscale Art Experiment

I’ve done one painting in grayscale and it worked out pretty good. But the subject in this case was already kind of black and white in real life, so it wasn’t a far stretch of my imagination to do it.

A grayscale art print of an adorable Brahman calf.

Something Different

For my plant portraits I have something different in mind. The idea that grayscale might work for my plant portraits has stirred me into action. It roused me out of my art slump I’ve been in since the whole social distancing thing messed up my schedule. The easel is up, the paper is on the board, and I’m getting my photos ready for a few portraits of my Woodland Friends.

The first subject is one I found today (by the time this goes live it’ll have been a few days ago), for only the second time in the entire fifteen years I’ve lived here. A showy orchid. Now orchids have colorful leaves and flowers, so grayscale didn’t even occur to me until today, as I tried to figure out a way to paint it using only my local pigments.

This is the first plant I'm going to attempt in grayscale. If it works, then I'll try the others that I love.
A beautiful Showy Orchid. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there!

Grayscale Progress Pics

Keep an eye on my Instagram if you want to follow along as I get it done, or check back here for progress updates over the next few days. I’m so excited! I’ll update this as I get more progress made.

Author/Artist Info
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.

Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.

Click here to join her mailing list.

Photo of Madison Woods, artist and Paleo Paint maker, and her social media contact information.
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10 May 2020 8:57 am

I’ll be interested to see the results, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work wonderfully. After all, black and white is popular in photography.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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