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.