ivory black (or black)

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  1. #1
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    ivory black (or black)

    (oils)

    when should it be used?, and when not?
    would it be wise to never use it, and resort always to mixtuers of ultramarine, crimson and wichever umber u use, etc?

    some enlightening plz,

    thanks

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  3. #2
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    Dispute of the century

    This is a good question - for only to watch the battle of the opinions that will come of this question.

    Here's mine:

    Many many painters are taught to mix chromatic blacks from complimentary transparent pigments and such. I for one love to use black, though I was taught to 'always mix my black'. If you think about it there isn't really a such thing as 'black pigment'. An example of this is when a tattoo fades, it fades to a green or a blue. Black is really just a concept. Some say it's the absence of all color, or light, and some say it's the presence of all colors in the spectrum. These theories don't translate to mixing pigments always though.

    When painting, color and value are relative to what surrounds it. I try to see tubed black for what it is - a cool. White, Ultra Marine, Cobalt, etc.. and Black are the same 'color'. They are all cools by nature and will do the job of a cool.

    For the sake of needing a black for the darkest of darks, it's up to you what you want to use for the black. If you need a warm black, then you mix it. If a cool black will do the job, then you can use a tubed black - or mix a cool black.

    Tubed blacks have many uses though. Black + yellow ochre = a beautiful green for example. If you have super intense warms in your painting you may need to 'mute' down your cools using a black to create beautiful blues instead of having to mix a lot to mute down a saturated blue like ultra. It's all relative and up to the painter to make those choices.


    p.s. If someone uses the word 'always' in their instruction pertaining to the arts - ignore them, I like the word "strongly suggested".

    Hope this helps, I'm sure many will disagree (:

    -H

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  5. #3
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    i agree with raileyh, but have yet to use black from a tube.
    I personaly haven't yet because you can mix it with other colors, it really all depends on the result your going for. when my shadows are going to be "black", i like to mix a few different versions of that "black" and create depth with warm and cools in the same value area. it's all how you use it.
    for what it's worth, I have been thinking about picking up a tube of it to save myself some time mixing, as raileyh said.

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    The way I see it is this.

    One part of painting is a series of modifications to pigments to produce a desired colour. The most valuable pigments to my palette are those which allow the greatest modification.

    Black pigment is a colour which does not work well when you try to modify it.
    Another pigment which does not modify well, perhaps in a more subtle way and probably better illustrates the point is Ultramarine Blue. Ultramarine Blue when mixed with a yellow pigment will not make a nice green, nor will it make a nice purple when mixed with red.

    But this is not to say these pigments are not useful in certain situations, but generally only when i do not intend to modify them too much.

    hope that makes sense??

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  7. #5
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    ah yes, kind of what i thought!
    basically as one understands what black is, and what one needs, it's fine..
    and maybe, be extra carefull when muting down colors, that the resulting grey or desat will not have the same strength as a grey mixed from colors..(?)

    thanks raileyh,!

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by noche View Post
    and maybe, be extra carefull when muting down colors, that the resulting grey or desat will not have the same strength as a grey mixed from colors..(?)
    ? I don't exactly understand what you mean with the strength of grey. A pure grey mixture means it is neutral, has no identifiable hue and chroma.

    A grey is not the same as a low chroma color.

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  9. #7
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    mon3y: nice advice man! thx

    art addict: i think then i meant get a pure grey when u need a low chroma thx

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  10. #8
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    Ivory black is just a very low-value, very low-chroma blue-purple or blue. As it's nearly the darkest pigment available, it will lower the value of nearly every other color and shift it's hue towards the hue of the black pigment (which is never truly black). It will also lower the chroma in most situations- but this happens at the same time as the hue shift and value shift.

    I haven't tested it personally, but my theoretical understanding is that mixing your own black from ultramarine/alizarin/whatever will not reach as low a value as ivory black, so leaving it off your palette narrows your gamut a bit- which can be fine in a lot of situations. If you need a truly neutral black that's as dark as possible, you can neutralize ivory black with a bit of raw or burnt umber. I believe I read somewhere that Holbein's Peach Black is slightly darker, though I haven't used it myself and am not aware of its hue or chroma.

    Ultramarine blue is a low-value, high-chroma blue-purple. As such, it will make a wonderful green when mixed with a yellow pigment- however,the green will be lower in chroma than if you had used a blue that is greener than ultramarine, such as cobalt or pthalo blue. It will make a high chroma purple when mixed with a high chroma red-purple, such as alizarin crimson or quinacridone magenta. It will make a slightly lower chroma purple when mixed with a red such as perylene red, and an even lower chroma purple when mixed with a red-orange like most brands of cadmium red.

    The key to understanding color is to stop thinking of it mainly in terms of pigments and their magical mixing properties and to start thinking more in terms of color in three dimensions and where those pigments sit in the three dimensions. I'd recommend checking out http://huevaluechroma.com to get a good foundation.

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  12. #9
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    There is nothing unique or magical about black pigments. Learning to use and control them in mixtures is no different than than using any other color. Someone who really understands color mixing will be able to get the exact same results using and modifying black tubed paint as they could with any mixed black, except for the very, very bottom of the value scale.


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  13. #10
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    Ivory black is my favorite colour - it's great for desaturating other colours and I believe I enjoy it more because I was told not to use it in art school... ah the lure of the forbidden.

    Instead of following 'rules' that teachers tell you, make some paintings with both tube black and mix-your-own black and work it out yourself - it really is worth taking the time as you'll learn more than by just reading and accepting.... and there's always the possibility that you might discover something totally amazing and new that nobody around you would think to suggest.

    The only colour I would never recommend you using is Octarine.

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  15. #11
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    I think it is somewhat ridiculous when people say that you should never use black. Of course you should, it is great for a number of things. It is invaluable for desaturating colours - especially foliage and skin colours.
    On the other hand it is a good idea to mix your own black for black areas because this allows for colour variation and "life".
    My suggestion would be to use black in order to push other colours, whereas it is difficult to push the black itself. Here, it would probably be easier to change the amounts in your mixed black - if this makes sense.

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  16. #12
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    It's just a really dark blue.

    How stupid does "Never use really dark blue" sound..?

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  17. #13
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    thanks people

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  18. #14
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    I believe I enjoy it more because I was told not to use it in art school... ah the lure of the forbidden.
    Sometimes I like to really rock out and paint with black over small drawings done with mechanical pencils..

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  20. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilla View Post
    My suggestion would be to use black in order to push other colours, whereas it is difficult to push the black itself. Here, it would probably be easier to change the amounts in your mixed black - if this makes sense.
    No, it makes no sense. You can get the same low chroma darks with or without black pigment. Mixtures of compliments will give you low chroma darks that tend to skew towards a particular hue. You can mix identical colors using black paint.


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  22. #16
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    so its more classy to work out greys using complmentary, right? well, i have decided to take black away frmo my palette untill i can control my greys.... i will use it for bottom values and stuff, but i dont trust it much for certain greys.. and i need to learn to mix!

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  23. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by noche View Post
    so its more classy to work out greys using complmentary, right?



    Tristan Elwell
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  24. #18
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    Elwell, I concur with with disappointed head shaking.

    It would not be " more classy" to create grays with mixed compliments. I would recommend creating a palette string of black, perhaps with added raw umber to neutralize, that goes to white in as many value steps as you see fit, 5, 7, 9 etc. These values are then used to de-saturate the colors you want, by mixing with it's corresponding gray value. As for shadows, Make sure it's the right temperature, and darken with black as necessary. The palette string idea is not of my own but cited from someone else's words on this forum that I would credit if I could remember who.

    "A drawing is not necessarily academic because it is thorough, but only because it is dead. Neither is a drawing necessarily academic because it is done in what is called a conventional style, any more than it is good because it is done in an unconventional style. The test is whether it has life and conveys genuine feeling."- Harold Speed
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  26. #19
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    okay got the idea!
    dont take my classy sattement to seriously, i dont use well the languege.

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  27. #20
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    It's not more classy to mix grays from complementary colors, it's more difficult.

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  28. #21
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    Great discussion

    I love the discussions going on here. The argument of 'black' or 'no black' has been argued in almost every painting class I've taken. I think the key is to see pigments as pigments and not as colors. Color and mixtures are relative to what is around them. It would be like arguing whether to use Cad Yellow or not.

    A major "a-Ha" moment for me was when I realized that I could mix any particular 'neutral' using an endless variation of palette choices. I can change the pigments on my palette and reproduce the EXACT same mixtures of chromatic neutrals, it just may take a while longer. So mixing back into a painting became much easier when I realized there wasn't just one way to get that particular 'color, or shade, or tint'. There are endless ways to reproduce them.

    Mixing ones palette, I think, is a personal thing, that's why it can be so confusing to beginners, and a hard thing to teach. Classes tend to teach formulas, but in one's studio - it's rarely the case. It's an ever changing, experimental thing. As long as you keep in mind that mixtures are relative and you know what their properties are: what happens when I add white (tint), or when I tone with a darker mixture? Is it transparent, is it a cool or a warm in relation to what's around it?

    I went to a Burton Silverman workshop years ago and a seasoned painter at his workshop asked Burt, "what color is that you're using" and Burt just about fell out his chair. He responded,"What the hell does it matter what color I'm using - it's all relative to what I've put down!! That's the most ridiculous question!! "

    Needless to say, I didn't offer up any questions of my own after that incident. I was a very beginner painter and was so frightened to even be there. But I understood what he meant and I will never forget it.

    I think the key is to not over analyze mixing and to experiment. Pigments become familiar - like friends.

    -H


    oh, anyone know who Anders Zorn is? Of course you do!! He used black out the tube - and look at his insanely beautiful cools in his paintings.

    Last edited by Raileyh; August 21st, 2009 at 03:31 PM.
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  30. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raileyh View Post
    I went to a Burton Silverman workshop years ago and a seasoned painter at his workshop asked Burt, "what color is that you're using" and Burt just about fell out his chair. He responded,"What the hell does it matter what color I'm using - it's all relative to what I've put down!! That's the most ridiculous question!! "
    I notice that some "beginner" artists will always try to find out what specific colours a painter is using at a workshop - right down to the brand and the percentage of mixture with other colours. I was at one workshop where the demonstrator was interrupted every 2 minutes by a question - "What colour is that? Yellow Ochre? It looks like Naples Yellow, is it Naples Yellow? Ah Naples Yellow Deep... What brand is it? Winsor and Newton? Is it Old Holland? Old Holland... Ah ok..." (and they write it all down) and the demonstrator kept saying "I'm just making this shape warmer and lighter relative to the shape next to it." etc... the students just kept asking for specifics as if knowing what the 'special' colours are is the secret to good painting.

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  31. #23
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    I love you Puck......exactly. It often doesn't matter what pigment it is, only when you're going for something specific in property or hue. And to do that, you have to know what you're doing - and most of us have no idea what we're doing --- yet.

    Sometimes I'll see a pigment that I don't use and I'll try it out to see what will happen when I tint it or tone with it's compliments. Sometimes I get something really useful - sometimes not. It's still not going to make painting easier - it just may open another door to harder and more difficult level of understanding. This is one of the reasons I love to paint. The sheer insanity of it.

    -H

    Last edited by Raileyh; August 21st, 2009 at 08:33 PM.
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  32. #24
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    How do people feel about Micheal Wilcox's book "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green"?

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  33. #25
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    wow love the discussion, if I can recall from my academic days, a black pigment depends on the brand. Some are called ivory-black and some are titanium black from or of other brand like grumbacher which are tends to be more on to the darkest blue which is in the cool side of color, but using maries made from china tends to be on the muddy brown or warm side color (it's like they are mixing the left over pigments (other colors) to create the black pigment) dunno, but from my experience it all depends how dark you want on your darkest part of your painting, whether you want it cool or warm. And it's also all depends really if you want the black straight from the tube same with white straight from the tube.

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