Give me your opinions on mixing colours with black?

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  1. #1
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    Give me your opinions on mixing colours with black?

    K, this is really pissing me off now, i had this discussion with some artists on an art chatline, people were telling me black is evil to use in paintings bla bla blah. Done traditionally. Well, yes i know it is bad if you use it straight out of the tube, or even the mixing a colour with black, if the majorirty of the colour mixes to close to black its definetely bad. But, i was saying, if you use just a hint of black into one colour, just to darken that colour slightly, its fine isnt it, i find that it works fine. I mean, how else do you get some colours darker....??

    What is all your opinions on using black? I mean what about Remembrant, didn't he use black. If you use it properly, i think it can be done, personally.


    Justin.

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  3. #2
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    I personally don't give a flying funnel how artists mix their colors, and if they use black or not. It's the result that counts isn't it?
    But to answer your Q sortof: i've learned that you can darken your mixtures nicely using dark phtaloblue or burnt umber or sienna just as well. I guess why many people ban the use of real black on their palette, is that it tends to make the oils dull. Of course, this could be used to an advantage.
    Mixing with black for skintones is a definite nono though. Subsurface scattering and all that... but that's a whole other story..

    hope this helped.. a bit

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    Anders Zorn used Ivory Black on his palette, so I think it is totally up to the artist to decide whether it's right for them. I think the reason black is considered so "bad" is that certain blacks from the tube don't belong to an obvious color family and it makes getting the temperature wrong alot easier. I've found that Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna make a pretty nice "black", it's as black as you'll probably need. Plus, those are two very common colors that one would probably use anyway, so it saves a spot on your palette and money from your wallet

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    black is only a "no-no" for students who dont have a clue what they are doing.

    to a professional illustrator, its his best friend.
    black is powerful!
    use it, but use it wisely.
    its no different than white.
    used properly, it can really control a piece.

    i know a portrait painter who uses only:
    cadmium red, yellow ochre, ivory black, and titanium white as his palette...
    and his paintings are incredible!
    its all about control.

    i use lots of black in my skin tones.
    that does not mean thats how you make shadows! (dont do that)
    but i use it as a subtle "blue"
    a sparing amount will really cool things down.

    also, cadmium red and black is a great brown!
    yellow and black, a phenomenal green!
    ironically, when i need a really dark black,
    its actually ivory black mixed with alizarin crimson

    the trouble is,
    students think light and dark is analagous to black and white.
    not dark enough? ill add more black.
    not light enough? ill add more white.
    thats why teachers tell student not to use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSillustration
    black is only a "no-no" for students who dont have a clue what they are doing.
    ...

    the trouble is,
    students think light and dark is analagous to black and white.
    not dark enough? ill add more black.
    not light enough? ill add more white.
    thats why teachers tell student not to use it.
    All perfectly true. Unfortunately, some of those students go on to become teachers themselves.
    Any teacher who doesn't understand how to mix colors both with and without the use of black is ignorant and shouldn't be teaching.
    Any teacher who just tells students not to do something, rather than explaining what the pitfalls are and how to avoid them, is lazy and shouldn't be teaching.


    Tristan Elwell
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    ivory black is one of the most important paints on my palette.
    Just the absolute perfect cool grey you get when mixing it with Titanium white is gorgeous.
    Mix some black with cadmium yellow, you have a very earthy green.
    Black is back baby

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSillustration
    the trouble is,
    students think light and dark is analagous to black and white.
    not dark enough? ill add more black.
    not light enough? ill add more white.
    thats why teachers tell student not to use it.
    I don't see anything wrong with what DS is saying. I think black and whites don't really matter when you're crunching it out for a client. But in the learning process it does matter. Sooo if you know what you're doing go right ahead.

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    Exactly what i was trying to tell those other artists, and actually that helped me too, thanks guys

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    I recall something about black paint beeing a real dark version of a colour, blue maybe. That could mess up the colours if you're paying atention.

    /fd
    "It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floris Didden
    I recall something about black paint beeing a real dark version of a colour, blue maybe. That could mess up the colours if you're paying atention.
    True. Black behaves in mixtures like a low value, low chroma purple-blue. Most of the problems people have using it would be solved by understanding this.


    Tristan Elwell
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  12. #11
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    Black is awesome.. just use with caution. You can always add more, but its a pain to fix if you add too much. Black is such a powerful color that very little is needed to turn a color like red to brown.

    Black is like fire, you need it to survive, but try not to get burned.

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    All good points... I've been through a lot of the same. We were taught not to use black for a number of reasons.

    There are very few "true blacks" it's usually a very dark form of some other color, which if you don't realize it could throw off your color palette.

    Using black lets you darken a painting without understanding color theory and color interaction... I sometimes think of it as the "burn" tool of physical media.

    Most colors can be darkened by mixing in their complement... or having a complimentary stroke near it. What I mean is if there's a dark green shadow, it's surprising how much deeper it can seem just by sneaking a little intense red into what should be the darkest area. Even if it's done subtly, using compiments leads to a more "activating" painting. Just using black avoids color interaction, and so can lead to a more bland lifeless painting.

    Having said all that, there's nothing wrong with using black! You just need to be careful and experiment enough to know what it's doing and why. Honestly, I don't use black myself because my color sense isn't so well developed yet. Instead, I tend to use indigo blue, paynes gray, or alizarin crimson for my darks...

    Black isn't evil, it's just misunderstood... keep experimenting.

    "Change is a virtue my friend... if you want to escape, all you have to do is make up your mind."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCThrom
    ... I tend to use indigo blue, paynes gray...
    Which are both mixtures of ultramarine... and black.


    Tristan Elwell
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  16. #15
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    Ellwell, Ha ha! Oh man, so I've unwittingly been using black all this time? That's like a vegan finding out that their favorite tofu is made from lard! Well maybe not quite that extreme... but now I've learned something new. Like I said, my color skills aren't highly developed yet, so thanks for the tidbit. Having seen your work, I know you've got an awful lot to teach us...

    "Change is a virtue my friend... if you want to escape, all you have to do is make up your mind."
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  17. #16
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    my painting teacher used always say "throw away your black paint" and then I would look at him all suspicious and say " WHY I GOTTA THROW AWAY DA BLACK PAINT? YOU RACIST OR SOMETHING" and then there would be this long pause where every body in class just staired at me.

    Damn no wonder i cant paint!!!!





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  18. #17
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    Haha, that's funny.

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