Jane Blundell and Jane's Grey, DANIEL SMITH Watercolor

DANIEL SMITH Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue mixed creating Jane’s Grey.

DANIEL SMITH Jane's Grey Watercolor. Watercolor being painted out from the tube with a brush.
DANIEL SMITH Jane’s Grey Watercolor

As anyone who’s been reading my blog would know, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue is one of my favourite mixing pairs. This combination of two neutralizing pigments make a wonderful range of beautiful hues, from warm navy blues to deep burnt umbers and a lovely range of greys.

DANIEL SMITH Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna mixed colors painted out by Jane Blundell
DANIEL SMITH Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna mixed colors painted out by Jane Blundell
Jane's Grey, mix of DANIEL SMITH Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. Watercolor diagram by Jane Blundell
Jane’s Grey, mix of DANIEL SMITH Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. Watercolor diagram by Jane Blundell

While many people mix their own variations of this common two-pigment mix, I decided many years ago to pre-mix it and have it available in my palette as a convenience grey rather than mix it on the fly every time I needed it. This allows darker and stronger greys to be used more quickly, which saves time when painting en plein air.

DANIEL SMITH Jane's Grey, properties and watercolor paint swatch

I posted the recipe and instructions to make my particular version – Jane’s Grey. I’d been putting it in my students’ palettes for years and had to name it something. I rather liked the pun on Payne’s Grey 🙂

But unlike almost all greys available commercially, Jane’s Grey doesn’t have black in it. It is made with two liftable (non-staining) pigments so it is itself liftable. This makes it easier to lift out clouds in a stormy sky or soften shadows or lift out highlights.

It is also granulating which is rather nice, and without the often deadening effect of a black pigment it stays lively on the paper.

Last year it was released in the DANIEL SMITH Hand Poured Watercolor Half Pan Ultimate Mixing Set of 15 half pans, and I’m delighted that it is now available as a 15ml tube as part of the DANIEL SMITH Signature Series.

Needless to say, I use it all the time. Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue are such palette staples that it always works in any of my paintings or sketches.

In mixing it acts as a neutral tint, darkening other colours without changing them.

Color mixing with Jane's Grey, painted out by Jane Blundell.
Mixing with Jane’s Grey – Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Pyrrol Crimson, Quinacridone Rose and Ultramarine Blue mixed with Jane’s Grey
Color mixing with Jane's Grey, painted out by Jane Blundell.
Mixing with Jane’s Grey – Cerulean Chromium, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Goethite and Burnt Sienna mixed with Jane’s Grey.
Mixing grid painted out from the DANIEL SMITH Ultimate Mixing Hand Poured Watercolor Half Pan Set
Mixing grid painted out from the Ultimate Mixing Half Pan Set, including Jane’s Grey

In paintings and sketches I use it for skies and shadows, windows and concrete, for the shadows on trees or people or to deepen another colour.

It’s a great colour to have available and I’m delighted it’s now in a tube for those who don’t want to have to mix it all the time 🙂

~Jane Blundell

Looking Across at Hunter's Hill, watercolor painting by Jane Blundell
“Looking Across at Hunter’s Hill” by Jane Blundell

Looking across at Hunter’s Hill – This is a house I can see from my own home but I drove to the other side of the river to draw it and the bridge in closer detail. It is actually undergoing reconstruction but I chose not to add the scaffolding – one of the joys of sketching is that you can ignore any details that you don’t like the look of 🙂 I’ve used Jane’s Grey to create the shadows on the building and bridge, and the reflections in the water. It was also added to the greens used in the trees – a mix of my favourites – Sap Green, Undersea Green and Perylene Green, with some earth colors added to neutralize them further.

Pulteney Bridge, Bath, watercolor painting by Jane Blundell
“Pulteney Bridge, Bath” by Jane Blundell

Pulteney Bridge, Bath – I was teaching a five day watercolour workshop in Bath and would go to visit this view of the bridge each morning and afternoon, adding a little to the sketch each time. It is painted largely in the earth colours Goethite (Brown Ochre) and Burnt Sienna with some Buff Titanium. Jane’s Grey is used for the window and shadows, which were added last from a photo I took when I best liked the shadow shapes.

Sydney Harbour Bridge in the Rain, watercolor sketch by Jane Blundell
“Sydney Harbour Bridge in the Rain” by Jane Blundell

Sydney Harbour Bridge in the Rain – I’d gone out to a lovely location to sketch the rock formation but it rained too heavily so we sheltered in the cafe with this magnificent bridge in view. I used Jane’s Grey to wash in the sky and water into dampened paper, then waited for that wash to dry to add the details of the bridge on dry paper. There is also a little Undersea Green – the perfect colour for Australian gum trees – mixed into the grey, and some Burnt Sienna, to create the foliage. Finally the water texture was dry-brushed into the sketch on dry paper.

Old Police Station, watercolor painting by Jane Blundell
“Old Police Station” by Jane Blundell

Old Police Station – I really enjoyed this sketch, drawn in pencil this time to add softness to the old stone. It is painted in a mixture of Buff Titanium and Goethite (Brown Ochre) that perfectly recreates the colour of Sydney sandstone. I’ve used Jane’s Grey to create the texture of the stone and of course the shadows. As this is a symmetrical facade, I didn’t think it was necessary to finish both sides of the entrance.

Sunset Behind Manhattan From Roosevelt Island, watercolor by Jane Blundell
“Sunset Behind Manhattan From Roosevelt Island” by Jane Blundell

Sunset behind Manhattan from Roosevelt Island – I had a lovely walk on Roosevelt Island just at the right time to stop for this changing view of the sun setting over Manhattan. Jane’s Grey features in all the buildings, which were first drawn in pen. There is some Raw umber, Cerulean Blue, Chromium and a few earth colors added.

Hyde Park Tree, watercolor by Jane Blundell
“Hyde Park Tree” by Jane Blundell

Hyde Park Tree – This sketch was done in Hyde Park, Sydney, on World SketchCrawl Day in 2013. I just love these grand trees and enjoyed using the tall format of the A5 sketchbook placed portrait mode. The colours used here are very minimal – Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna and Jane’s Grey for the tree itself, and largely Undersea Green for the leaves. Jane’s Grey alone creates the shadows, using hard edges on one side and softening it out with a damp brush on the other.

More with Jane Blundell

DANIEL SMITH Jane's Grey Watercolor, tube and paint on ceramic palette with brush
DANIEL SMITH Jane’s Grey Watercolor


Photo of the 8 New DANIEL SMITH Watercolors for 2019

Please enjoy these Watercolor Features with more information and images about our 8 New Watercolors!