With all the snow on the ground, I find it easy to spend time up in my little studio. I was combing through some workshop notes from a folder on the shelf, and I came across some notes from a class I took on nightscapes, with Catherine Wilson Smith. I typed them up, and then decided to try out some of the combinations she often uses for mixed grays and earth tones. Usually I would try these on scraps of old watercolor paper, but it occurred to me that the little papers generally end up in the trash, and they would be good to have to keep as reference. So, into the Moleskine watercolor notebook, memorialized forever. I like this plan, and I have used the page several times since I made it. It only uses colors I have at home, nothing too complicated. The colors are real - not subject to the problems with three color reproduction in print.
I had a little stash of magazine clippings for that class, and one was of a man kneeling by a campfire in the snow. I liked the image very much, and tried to reproduce the effect. It isn't too bad, though it seems rather crude. One thing that worked well in this little watercolor sketch in the Moleskine is the background snow, which I mostly did by lifting out the snow on the branches of the trees.
Since my brain was thinking about grays, I noticed an article I clipped ages ago in an art magazine about painting reflections in metals like silver and copper. This was a demonstration from the magazine that I tried in my sketchbook. I wouldn't call the result a rousing success, but it was interesting, and the colors were not ones I might have chosen on my own.
Here's another try, using different colors. One thing I decided to try after reading this article was Winsor Newton's Neutral Tint. The color is a transparent, mild gray that mixes beautifully with other colors, and may be useful for night scenes and things like roads and sidewalks.