View Full Version : The famous "Should I use black?" question

06-14-2000, 12:20 AM
Yes, I said black.
I'm all for using black in watercolor. I'm just reticent to do so. I've done good color mixing with black and white on my acrylic paintings, but I never tried blacks with watercolor.

I will try to do a study of polished black stones, with light reflections on it.
I know It could be done without the black, but how can I give it the sharpness, the presence that a black stone has in my pale skinned hand? I don't want to do a bluish version of the stone. I know I have to try to really know, but any suggestions?

I actually achieved a very dark green-brown using russian green, ultramarine, and sepia maybe a little red ochre (colors from Yarka). It looks very black to me, on a particular painting. I'm just affraid it will have greenish or brownish tones when I do (or should I say keep?) the highlights...

Can I keep it black, without using black?

-But what if I learn too much?
-Nah, there's always a leak anyway...

06-14-2000, 04:28 AM
Black is an opaque color (i should better say non-color, as it is the absence of color)and i don't like it for this reason and moreover because I find it is too strong for watercolors.

But when I need to use something like blake, I use the japanese black ink in bar (the one used for sumi-e art) thet give a very transparent color from light grey to nearly black, depending on the amount of water for diluting. It canbe shaded very well when wet, but it is very staining when dry.
Try it, it gives better results than black watercolor!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif , rapolina.

06-14-2000, 06:34 AM
With watercolor paints we are talking about subtractive mixing. A blue paint absorbs all light waves and only reflects blue.
Black paint would absorb all and reflect no light waves therefore would appear black.
I would have thought very few things in nature are true black, they would all reflect some colour.
Therefore I never use black, my darks are made by mixing blues and burnt umber also with reds at times. This will produce a dark color but not pure.

Watercolours from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rod/)

06-14-2000, 08:37 AM
The sumi-e ink is an excellent suggestion. It will give you a more varied, glowing and interesting black.

If you like black - use it. It's your decision.


06-14-2000, 04:10 PM
go to color theory. there is a long thread there that i started. and the conclusion i came away with is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,either you see it or you don't.....{M}