Feb 2, 2010

Palette Pointer

This will be a regular column on colors and color mixing. Today I am going to talk about Black. Black can be a hard color to work with if you use too much it can make a painting look dead, uninteresting and flat.
In oils you can use a Mars black but this black is just too limp and unexciting. You want to have a black that will intensify the adjacent colors. Ivory black is not much better.
Therefore, here are some tips that can help you.
You can mix your own black by using half Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. This will create a very potent black tone with a sparkling character.
If you would like to have a black that is a bit cooler and one that will add some contrast to the warm colors in your painting just mix your black with more blue.
Now you have a dark tone that you can mix a whole range of beautiful grays with by adding white.
If you prefer to have your black color a bit warmer just add more of the burnt umber. Again, add white to mix some wonderful grays!
Another way to mix black is to use half Phthalo Green and Alizarin Crimson. This is a very nice black with a lot of character. Simply adjust the ratio of crimson to green and adding a little white will give you a variety of warm or cool grays.
One of my favorite ways to make black is to mix Phthalo Blue plus Dioxazine Violet with Cadmium Yellow Deep. This gives you a very deep black. The yellow being the complement color of the violet tones it down.
There are many ways to mix black; in acrylics, you can do this if you are using a pure color and not one that is a mixture of colors. Many of the acrylics in the bottles are mixtures so you need to check that out otherwise you may end up with mud. It is fun to sit and just experiment mixing blacks!

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