38+ shades of grey

Iceland greys
19th century Dufour et Cie Psyche grisaille wallpaper panel. the paper trail
Farrow and Ball paint chips
undyed wool
Claremont Grisaille, fabric by Schumacher
Confederate greys
my mother and her pet chicken, 1930s
above and below, Vija Celmins, Ocean, 1975 and Explosion at Sea, 1966
ash, carbon, cinder, lead, smoke, fog, battleship, greige, Davy’s, charcoal, heather, flint, cement, slate, silver, platinum, titanium, warm, cool, dark, light, medium, pigeon, elephant, graphite, pearl, dove, glaucous, Cadet, cinereous, mouse, gunpowder, stone, fuscous, liard, lavender, blue, steel, mercury, chinchilla, seal

I've been thinking about grey. A design job I was working on turned unexpectedly difficult this past week when the printing of some 4-color greys proved to be a stubborn wrangle. [In printing, as you may know, all colors are reproduced as flat (or Pantone) inks or represented by overlapping tint screens of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink ("4-color" or "CMYK")]. Grey, I have confirmed firsthand, can be difficult to capture in 4-color printing. The tone can shift to purple, green, or a brown muddiness; ironically there is a lot of color buried in grey.
Despite an array of odd, unlovely and opposing connotations, I've always loved grey. It has an elegant subtlety, range, and depth: Grey matter, grey flannel, Grey Lady, eminence grise, strength, intelligence, sophistication, business, storminess, boredom, depression, old age, grey area, doubt, indistinct, equivocal, dustiness, dirt, disuse, poverty, humility, religious asceticism, modesty, conformity, totalitarianism, secrecy, shadows, fog...  Grey is protean; it's never black or white.


male said...

oi - I read this as you posted it
come back again after thinking of your plight
you were printing from plate - post rasta imaging process?
not digital . . .
I would have gone in, in Photoshop > curves > and removed Cyan and Magenta from the mid-tones (less 5%) >saved as a .tiff with curves and imported into InDesign > exported to a .pdf (with my own custom settings) . . .
this reduces blues and reds in the greys.

in the old litho days we etched those same two films, we called it under cover removal,
we sometimes did that in the black film also
not meaning to seem a smart arse though ...
as I know the issue for the past 40 years or so

great post

there's a mum's porn title also isn't there - 50 shades of grey? my daughter didn't get it she said

Angela Voulangas said...

Thanks for your considered comment--Male exactly, it was conventional printing not digital. I'm peeved that the printing place wasnt pro-active in reviewing the files. Somehow I hadnt encountered this extensive a grey problem before.

And yes 50 Shades of Grey is some kind of mainstream porn book that got a lot of publicity here so couldnt resist


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