Thursday, 3 June 2021

Two Colours & The Use of Black

 A number of paint manufacturers, the latest being Rembrandt and Schminke, have introduced a small series of colours with names like 'Dusk colours', Iridescent etc. I think the reason is basically due to the huge range offered by Daniel Smith. I looked at the composition of several of these  and noted that Mars Black PBk11 was sometimes one of the, usually, two ingredients. As a result in my latest paint order I ordered a tube of the Schminke version. as well as a smaller tube of another black. The following is my first attempt at a painting using this colour approach.

"Defiance" 16" x 12"

The reference I used was of an elderly Pima Indian with this sort of expression.There are mistakes in my portrayal but I comfort myself in Charles Reids dictum that "mistakes are part of it." Many ethnic
Amerindians did not like having their photographs taken. So far it hasn't had much a reception with few likes on Facebook, something I'm fairly used to unfortunately.

The thing is though only two colours were used Cadmium Red Light and Mars Black. Looking at the above would most people think they were the colours? I find the result quite attractive. Many of these new colours show quite strong texture/granulation, although that hasn't happened in my painting. Perhaps there is another ingredient I'm missing. I have some Winsor & Newton granulation medium so I might experiment with that.

If you look at "The Color of Art Database" and also Handprint you will get some conflicting views. Handprint, although this is still available, has not been updated for some time but I don't think what he says has changed much. As stated I bought the Schminke version of Mars Black and it doesn't seem to granulate  much, despite this being emphasised in the previous references quoted.

There are a surprisingly large number of black pigments. Black is a colour that is damned by many artists yet is was known in earlier times as "The Prince of Colours". It is something that needs to be used carefully. 

I intend to experiment with Mars Black combining it with other colours. My approach right or wrong will be to start off adding small quantities of  black and see where this leads -  if anywhere.


Peter John Darlington said...

Hi Peter,
Neat use of the mars black PBk11, it neutralized the red to create a skin colour. I started using lamp black PBk6 last year in my watercolour paintings, it seems to be good for landscape paintings, but can get a little messy its very strong paint. It also lightens a lot when dry, takes a bit of practice to judge accurately. Always good to explore new paints.
By the way, I tried to give your painting a like on facebook, but could not find your page or how to do so, is there a watercolour group maybe on facebook? Thanks, Peter Darlington

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for interesting comments.

Oscar Solis said...

I like the painting. The first thing that captured my attention were the eyes. You certainly captured the look. The use of those two colors worked well. I’m not sure a third color is needed or, in fact, wanted.

I work with a black outline in my paintings but have never used black itself to mix with the colors so I applaud your willingness to do it. It yielded a really nice result. This brings to mind a question. Have you ever created a painting with a gray toned under base and then laid color on top? I’ve tried it a couple of times, using diluted India ink, and the results were interesting.

Peter Ward said...

Hi Oscar. Thanks for comments. Always welcome.
No I haven't used this technique. I tend to try to follow Charles Reid's dictim of "first try for a finish' but rarely achieve this and am more pragmatic these days. All best wishes. Peter