Black is part of the structure of our reality. In photography reflections in the lakes around Berlin are very black. Here lake Schlachtensee
Here Velazquez uses a little vermilion to create flesh tones. In his day the artists palette was very limited with bright pigments unstable over time
Some artists always use black, Manet Some almost never used black, Monet In art it's considered bad technique to use black to darken your colours - Why?
It is important to understand how to use it even if you never do We colour with light where all the colours mixed together make white Additive . and colour with paint where all the colours mixed together make black Subtractive Black is a colour when used as a paint but not a colour when used in light
There are many types of black on the market. Bone black Ivory black Mars black Carbon black Parsons Optical matt black. I just use the blackest black I can find.
I'm using Rosco acrylics. Velour black, a very black mat black. Spectrum red, a primary translucent red Chrome yellow
You can start by mixing tiny amounts of black with yellow. This generates subtle greens
This shows how much black to use – a pin head to start with
This shows how much black to add to the blue. A pin head just quietens the blue down a bit
This swatch is for lighting filters. Understanding the colour temperature of light when you are painting and on the finished work is important
Adding black to a colour changes the tone with out changing the colour. Adding a complimentary colour changes the tone and well. I've found in film and stage backdrops adding black produces a far more harmonious controllable effect that using complimentaries. It also allows the lighting designer more flexibility and greater range. What is important is not using too much, just a drop here and there to darken or add solidity to a colour. In addition a base colour of black allows overtones to 'sit' better. Here venetian red with ultramarine and a touch of black
This work uses black in the yellow plus a touch of chrome green
Here black is used for the under tones except for the sky. The land effectively 'sits' better and accommodates a wide range of lighting filters. This example had to be finished over a weekend
Here black is the base with increasing layers of air brush work providing sunset and ariel perspective. The means you can work fast, ie a couple of hours to get to this point.
In Summary Black can be used for: Changing a colour by darkening it's tone Reducing the transparency of a colour. Providing solidity to a colour – (bit similar to above) Allowing colours to sit better by using it as an undertone. Making interesting greens from yellow. Amazing reds Used as a transparent wash Use black to understand tones easier
Above uses an undertone of black as a base for prussian blue The End – for now
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