Thursday, July 24, 2008


Black, just like white, is not a color.

Colors have three dimensions:
Hue, value and chroma.
Black is undoubtedly a hue.
As far as value goes, it is the darkest of all values on the scale, but it cannot vary in value like colors can. As soon as it is a bit lighter, it is not black any more.
And chroma, or intensity is fixed too, there is no blacker than black.

In painting, black has to be treated with a lot of respect. First of all, black easily dirties other colors. Also, black objects show a variety of color and values where the light hits them and it is important to look carefully to determine the hue of those colors. The most illuminated spot on a black object can be lighter than the darkest shadow on a white object.
I hardly ever use black (I believe there is still some paint in the one and only tube of black I ever bought), but rather mix the colors to interprete black with the three darkest transparent colors on the palette: Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue and Viridian Green. Real Black is only needed in the deepest of all accents, where no direct, nor reflected light hits the object.


monsoon dreams said...

wonderful blog.amazing paintings!wish i could draw like you.

sandy said...

I enjoyed reading this. When I use to study tutorials over at Wet Canvas, that is probably the first time I learned that artists actually rarely use black paint, but other colors to interpret it.

Just looking at that dress it's easy to see what you are talking about.

Beautiful work.