The Color Black

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Work-in-progress sketch and comp for an upcoming painting. Sketch was done digitally in Photoshop, and then I painted the comp with acrylics at about 3.5″ x 4.5″.

With this piece I’m doing something that I literally haven’t done in years — using the color black.

One of the things they taught us in art school is that black has a tendency to deaden the colors you mix it with. Instead what you do is mix a blue and a brown (typically I use ultramarine and burnt umber), and that gives me a nice rich chromatic gray that mixes really well and looks black on the canvas, but doesn’t feel out of place next to all the other colors.

Normally I don’t have any black on my palette at all — but with this piece I want that sort of deadened look that comes from using pure black.

And so into my art supply archives I went, pulling out a tube of mars black that hasn’t been opened since probably 2004.