Thursday, February 7, 2008


I recently commented on a friends art blog that I often use pure black in my work, in spite of admonishments by many that one should not do so. Yes, there are ways of creating "black" by using other pigments, and I will occasionally do so. But I am not a literalist, and in my opinion nothing makes colors sing like nearby pure black. It may be ivory or mars black with acrylics, ivory black with watercolors, and even india ink which I have used in some pastel and watercolor paintings.

I've gone through my portfolio and found a few examples of this:

Red Sentinel acrylic 30x40 the black came directly from the tub.

Gray Smokestacks pastel 20x30 the black is pure black chalk and charcol.

Monticello Watercolor aprox 18x30 the black are pure black


Villager said...

OK, with you it works great. But if I try to use pure black in watercolor, I mess up. I lose the transparency.

William F. Renzulli said...

I guess I don't mind the loss of transparency; my approach to wc is very different from yours, which is more traditional. In fact that is one reason why I find your work so appealing, you do something that I cannot do very well.

And I should point out then when I do use pure black in a watercolor it is usually confined to a very small, tight place, and I will frequently mix other colors into the black, esp. in my treatment of windows.