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Grisaille (pronounced "griz-eye") is a painting style that uses only gray tones to create a classic artwork.   Add color with pure color glazes

Linda Coulter teaches art workshops and art seminars and Private Instruction and she publishes Art Instruction DVDs, Art Courses, Project Instruction Packets, etc. 

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The French word  "grisaille" is based on “gris” that means “gray”.  Grisaille is a word used for painting only in shades of gray to create a 3 dimensional appearance on a flat surface.

During the European Renaissance, this technique was called “Painting in Black and White”. The term “grisaille” was coined centuries later by the French.



Grisaille was used for fine art as early as the Italian Renaissance, but prior to that it was used exclusively for large decorative projects to imitate sculpture.

After the fall of Rome, a long period of Gothic art took precedence. 

Then, there was a "rebirth" of art, called "Renaissance" that began in Italy and spread throughout Europe.  One aspect of this period was to replicate the look of bass relief (carved walls) using the grisaille painting techniques.  Shown here is a "trompe l'oeil" effect painted on a FLAT WALL.  Everything in this picture is painted to "trick the eye" into thinking this is a sculpture standing inside a niche. Even the vining leaves are fake.  It's all "trompe l'oeil" and that can be created with grisaille painting techniques.


A grisaille can stand alone as a finished art work whether it's simple or intricate. 

Shown at left. 

Or, it can serve as a foundation for transparent color glazes to be applied over the grisaille to achieve a beautiful full color artwork. 

Shown at right.





Whether you wish to paint simple subjects or complicated designs, Coulter Grisaille™ followed by Pure Color Glazes makes your art journey wonderfully fun and easy.



"The Villa" shown here is a painting by Linda Coulter that represents this painting process from the  ground floor (totally beginner), ascending the steps of learning to paint, to the top where the door can open to a whole new world of fine art and decorative painting for you!

Enjoy the inspiration that art can bring to your life. 








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