Blah, Blah, Black!

Anticipation Oil by Shirl Ireland

With all the hype about Black Friday, I thought it could make a good blog post. Well, not Black Friday (definitely have had enough of that!) - just BLACK.

When I painted primarily with acrylic paints long ago, I had Mars Black often on my palette. It's a warmer black - leaning toward a brown. Less frequently, I would use Ivory Black. A cold black - leaning toward blue. For some artists who use a very limited palette, like Anders Zorn a favorite artist of mine, lightening Ivory Black can fill in for blue on a palette. So there is a place for black. I'm definitely not trying to say that all black is bad...

But, these days, it's not for me! I choose not to use any black at all.

On my oil palette, I have tried black out at times. But it just doesn't stay. I find it too harsh... too boring... too easy to over use.

I like mixing my blacks - in oils, watercolors and even acrylics now. I find the results much more interesting!

You've Got To Break Some Eggs Oil by Shirl Ireland

Color is captivating to me. I really enjoy mixing colors. Oh, the varieties and the nuances to be found! And seeing those subtle warms and cools within the shadows adds so much to a painting. ALWAYS worth the effort.

Bachelor Pad Oil by Shirl Ireland

So for my blacks, I use a variety of the darker colors on my palette... including Ultramarine Blue Deep, Transparent Oxide Red or Burnt Sienna, Viridian and Alizarin Crimson.

If I want a cooler black, I use more of the Viridian and Ultramarine in my mixtures. For the warmer blacks, I go heavier on the Transparent Oxide Red or Burnt Sienna in the mixture.

Your color palette and how you use it, is a very individual thing. Experiment. See what sticks for you. But consider nixing the black for a bit and see if you notice your dark areas and shadows coming alive!

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