View Full Version : about using black pastels?

06-18-2008, 05:04 PM
:) I painted in w/c before trying pastels, and learned some things about color---and learned to make my darkest darks by using 2 complimenary colors----and greys using different propostions of triads and things-----I love color, and am still reading all I can. In pastels, when a subject is black, like a dog for example, or a vase, or cat, maybe, do you use a black pastel? When do you use a black pastel? I did one cat on Canson paper, and ran into this problem, and I used the darkest green in Nupastel with the purple, 244- Nupastel and let it go that way. Now I have seen such wonderful animals here on Wet Canvas, and the tigers and things, and Mike Beeman's wonderful Lab puppy ---and I want to do my dog--who has a lot of black. Can you suggest a plan for this? What are your opions about using black at all? Thanks for your thoughts.

Kathryn Wilson
06-18-2008, 09:01 PM
I personally have never used black in any of my paintings - you can come up with wonderful darks just like you do in watercolor to make that darkest of darks.

I don't normally do animal portraits, so I am going to defer to more experienced animal portraitists here.

06-18-2008, 10:14 PM
It's another one of those "debate"things, to use or not. I like, Kathryn , do not use black, even in my animals. I have a lot of wonderful dark colors in the purple and blue range, and some browns that are almost black, but just a personal thing I think. Nothing wrong with black, but some are dull, and can make a painting look flat. I do have a few rich blacks in my stockpile tho.

06-18-2008, 10:34 PM
i use it as little as i can. very very seldom, and then only in tiny bits. there are many darks in various brands that will work jsut super for black, art spectrums D520 is a gorgeous plumy color that does super for blacker areas in landscape. senn's have a brown that is almsot black but much richer. also a green too. (179). i do keep a couple blacks around, but in the many years i've done pastel, i've yet to need to buy a new stick!

another use for black is i do buy some rembt. blacks, then you can take a small chunk of it, grind with a color you'd like darker, and make your own very dark pastel. kinda helps fill gaps, and since i live nowhere near any art store, it makes my times between ordering less.

06-18-2008, 10:57 PM

As you know I also have a border collie the same colors. When I give Coco a bath and the sun hits her clean coat it has a blue/reddish tent to the sun stroked hair. Check out the wonderful pet portraits done by DJBS.... Here is one, she uses black especially for the nose/lip areas... She uses pastel pencils here exclusively I think, and he is similar to your dogs. I love all the steps she shows, the explanations, and the close ups...lots to glean from this thread for you...best thing most of her work is on velour....


Hope this helps you... her other WIP's are good too!


06-18-2008, 11:09 PM
IMO use whatever you want :) I use black now and then for "darklights" but restrain from going overboard. I found a comparable "black" can be mixed from a few other colours but I hate to mix a black with anoither colour it just dulls and reduces things too much. black conte sticks are a great black though.

06-19-2008, 12:47 AM
:clap: Thanks for all your thoughts and help. I will keep this all in mind, and Carole, thanks a lot for that great link!! I will study that a lot.