Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iron Oxide Black

A pigment that is often not recommended for use in a painting is black. The above landscape, oil on canvas, 15 by 30", is the first time I have incorporated areas of pure black in quite a while. Although the taught substitute, a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, has valid applications, an actual black can find a place in a painting. It could easily overpower other colours if used even slightly in excess; something that applies to any hue, although black carries the weight of being seemingly neutral, in that it does not appear on the colour wheel, and yet strong. It can be used, perhaps in an effort to avoid certain difficulties, to separate any two other colours in a painting. However, in moderate amounts, black seems to work well next to warm hues; it gives an added richness via contrast. A good example would be a stained glass window, where individual planes of tinted glass are held together by a black frame.

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