We live close to a scenic waterway that meets the ocean. The North River is beautiful, broad, tidal, treacherous in parts, and alluring, even on its grayest of gray days. This is a study I painted with my class during a gray spring morning. I believe it rained eventually. Our lesson was to discern the highest chroma/highest intensity passage in the painting, understanding that it would be far down the scale of intensity. I suggested the students imagine a thermometer, visualizing the bottom third as the realm of color intensity for this subject. Place that note down early, if not first, in the painting. Every other mixture needs to be less intense than that note, easy to lose sight of when your eyes are wide open and you are hunting for slight distinctions in hue between similarly valued passages.
I am using this idea with the cityscape I began the other day in Boston Public Garden. The subject is much more complex, but I believe I am close to finished with my tweaking here in the studio. Gray day, gray and bare trees, gray buildings, gray sky... lovely, subtle variety of grays.. almost there.