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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    You can get pretty damned dark mixing dark, transparent compliments (ultramarine+burnt sienna and pthalo green+permanent alizarin are both useful mixes). They won't be quite as dark as ivory black, but most people wouldn't be able to tell unless you painted them out side-by-side. On the other hand, if black is what you want, there's no reason not to use black paint.
    I don't have that much experience using paint - still learning to draw, and it looks like it is going to take many more years before I achieve any proficiency with it. Thus far I have noticed that black can easily turn one's colours to mud. Nevertheless, I like it when used judiciously. A really pitch black can sometimes give a sort of velvety sheen to a picture that it would otherwise lack, or so it seems to me.

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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    I don't have that much experience using paint - still learning to draw, and it looks like it is going to take many more years before I achieve any proficiency with it. Thus far I have noticed that black can easily turn one's colours to mud.
    Because, as you just said, you don't know how to use it. Black is a color like any other*, with it's own mixing properties, not a Magical Tube Of Darkening. If you were to mix several colors together to get a truly neutral black, it would have the same mixing qualities as black pigment. Conversely, the "colorful" darks one can get by mixing complements can also be gotten by modifying black paint with other colors. Whether one uses it is just a matter of preference, but people often seem to present it as a matter of morality (the legacy of the American Impressionists and generations of bad painting teachers).

    (*And when I say "black," of course, I'm well aware that I'm oversimplifying, because ivory black, mars black, lamp black, peach black, etc, all have different qualities.)


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  5. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Because, as you just said, you don't know how to use it. Black is a color like any other*, with it's own mixing properties, not a Magical Tube Of Darkening. If you were to mix several colors together to get a truly neutral black, it would have the same mixing qualities as black pigment. Conversely, the "colorful" darks one can get by mixing complements can also be gotten by modifying black paint with other colors. Whether one uses it is just a matter of preference, but people often seem to present it as a matter of morality (the legacy of the American Impressionists and generations of bad painting teachers).
    Yes, I have noticed that people can get pretty worked up over the issue, and are prone to making very dogmatic statements in a very aggressive way. I am lucky in that I know too little about it to have any well formed opinion. Seems to me though that in the end the results are what matter.

    Anyway, in my experience, if an artist can draw properly his work will look pretty good, irrespective of his choices in colour. Which is precisely why I do not mess around with paint too much at the moment.

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  6. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    If you were to mix several colors together to get a truly neutral black, it would have the same mixing qualities as black pigment. Conversely, the "colorful" darks one can get by mixing complements can also be gotten by modifying black paint with other colors.
    hmm, I'm going to have to take issue with the notion of any colour being 'neutral', in the same way no colour is 'warm' or 'cool' in itself; it's all about what it is relating to.
    nitpicking, I know, but it's an important caveat.

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    I think one of the reasons people often repeat the "don't-ever-use-black-or-white" mantra is because beginners tend to use black and white injudiciously to add shadows and highlights to everything... And because they're adding black and white willy-nilly without knowing what they're doing, it does usually look like sludge.

    (You see this a lot especially in digital work... "just add black with a transparent brush, and voila! Shading!")

    I suppose the old mantra might be better altered to "don't use ONLY black and white for shadows and highlights."

    (Personally, when I want something to look really black, I usually end up adding a bit of reds or blues to black to make it somehow blacker...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by duztman View Post
    hmm, I'm going to have to take issue with the notion of any colour being 'neutral', in the same way no colour is 'warm' or 'cool' in itself; it's all about what it is relating to.
    nitpicking, I know, but it's an important caveat.
    I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will. (Eugene Delacroix)

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    Manet said he couldn't paint without black.

    The problem with black for beginners is that it is seen as somehow a separate entity on the pallette: There's the colours, there's the painting medium and there's... black.

    As others have said above, it's a colour even if it's a very dark one with low croma.

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    The best way to begin learning colour is to start with an extremely limited palette of just black and white.
    So would this be best for now? I have basically have a zero understanding how color works and how to apply it. I also found this video that seems somewhat applicable. Such as the parts where he matches the tones of the blue with his grayscale guide. (really long video, about half and hour) link

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    If you were to mix several colors together to get a truly neutral black, it would have the same mixing qualities as black pigment.
    <nitpick>
    Better to say it would have similar mixing qualities. Colors that appear identical but that are made up of different pigments will likely have different mixing properties.
    </nitpick>

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  12. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dose View Post
    <nitpick>
    Better to say it would have similar mixing qualities. Colors that appear identical but that are made up of different pigments will likely have different mixing properties.
    </nitpick>
    Point taken. What I was trying to get across is that if you are using paint that looks black, and behaves like black, then you are using black paint, whether that paint has any actual black pigment in it or not. What's even funnier is people who go on and on about never using black, but who happily use colors like payne's gray, which is just black paint with some ultramarine mixed in.


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  14. #41
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    I figured that's what you were going for. It was just worded in a way that could be taken by others to say that colors that appear the same will mix the same, regardless of their pigments, though that's not what you meant.

    Totally hear you on Payne's Gray. I see that one a lot as well- too funny...

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  15. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazymember View Post
    So would this be best for now? I have basically have a zero understanding how color works and how to apply it. I also found this video that seems somewhat applicable. Such as the parts where he matches the tones of the blue with his grayscale guide. (really long video, about half and hour) link
    Welllll...working with just black and white will be about values, which are actually more important than color in establishing a sense of light and form. Of course, this won't help much if you're trying to understand color.

    It just depends on what you're after, though asking these questions I'm guessing you're near the starting point (which is fine btw), so you're probably better off focusing on values right now...and making sure you're drawing skills are high enough to handle painting.

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  17. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazymember View Post
    So would this be best for now? I have basically have a zero understanding how color works and how to apply it. I also found this video that seems somewhat applicable. Such as the parts where he matches the tones of the blue with his grayscale guide. (really long video, about half and hour) link
    If you have grasped that value is a dimension of colour, and not something separate from colour, then you have more than zero understanding.

    Far from merely observing and copying, painting in colour involves deciding what hue, value and chroma each component needs to be in order to create the relationships that you want. You learn the essence of this approach by learning to decide what value each component needs to be. And when you are ready to give your components hue and chroma as well as value, make sure you still pay as much attention to the latter dimension as if you were still painting in greyscale colours.

    Last edited by briggsy@ashtons; June 29th, 2011 at 11:57 PM.
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  18. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasM View Post
    I have always been sceptical towards the Munsell system, there were tons of great colorists out there before the system was developed. But then again, people learn differently. I guess it's possible to get an "eye" for colour without too much theory, in the same way many people have a great "pitch" for music, and can learn complicated songs without neccesarily learning the notes (many seems to pick up the basic prinsiples by trial and error or by instinct). And then there are many skilled musicians out there who rely on their theory first and their ears second. Just don't put them in a jazz band.
    I'd be more than happy if thinking in terms of the dimensions of colour became as common among painters as being able to read music is among musicians - even jazz musicians!

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