View Full Version : using black paper

12-14-2002, 12:30 PM
This post is to thank KarenU, and anyone else who has worked on black paper. I have enjoyed looking at the images, which have so much vitality and punch, and today, after looking at KarenU's lovely oranges, I decided to tackle a dancer image on black paper, to see if I could produce something which might look a bit more "edgy" and modern, rather than my usual, sensitive, gentle approach. It turned into rather a marathon, as I liked the first one, my husband did too, so I thought I might give it a partner. I am now completely shattered, cannot do any more (though I might well finish off the shadows on the right-hand one before collapsing), and just wanted to say THANKS GUYS, you really inspired me, and I like my results far more than I thought I would. I may make some changes and am open to suggestions if you have any. Incidentally - they are both on one sheet of paper, but would be framed up separately.

Just one thing, please do NOT tell me that her legs grew in the second one. I know. She must have taken some vitamins. Couldn't possibly be my fault.


Mikki Petersen
12-14-2002, 12:59 PM
Oh Jackie,

I love the look and feel of this. The black paper really does magical things especially with the reds you've used.

My only critical observation is on the dancer on the right. something happens between her hips and the floor that makes it look as though she has two left legs. Ther is not enough definition in the hips if the forward leg is the bent leg. If the forward leg is the straight leg, the foot is at a wrong angle even for a dancer.

I love all your work and this one is especially nice.

12-14-2002, 01:06 PM
thanks for the observation. In fact, the leg she is standing on is her left leg, and the one up on the chair is her right leg. I will see what I can do to make that clearer. I may have to "move" the crochet wrap around her waist somehow so that you can see that the leg on the chair is the nearer leg. The foot she is standing on is definitely right!!

Incidentaly - this is two pictures, side by side.


12-14-2002, 01:23 PM
Very nice, as always - I especially love the play of light on the skin of the dancers. It retains your sensitive, gentle touch even while it has that modern "edge".
Isn't it amazing what the black paper does? I just tried it for the first time on a still life, and it came out completely different from what I've done before.

12-14-2002, 02:03 PM
Oh boy Jackie You've made my day. Someone with your talent and experience makes mistakes too. *S* I dont' mean this in any sarcastic way. I'm just glad you showed us something you've done that wasn't absolutely perfect as your usual work is. Gives me hope that I may some day reach your level. Thanks for showing this. I know it's helped me by giving me more confidence. But I know anything wrong with this will be corrected and hope you show us how you did it *S*

Thanks for a real lesson *S*

I can see these in a ballet class somewhere to inspire little ballerinias *S*

12-14-2002, 02:20 PM
Holy smokes Jackie....contemporary?, edgy?, modern?....you've hit all those nails square on the head and then some! These are marvelous. The colors are absolutely scrumptious. I'm so glad you were inspired by those of us that love working on black paper! Thanks for sharing these, and I really hope you do more!

I'll be back to look at these often! :D

12-14-2002, 02:32 PM
Wow Jackie!!!!!!!:clap:
This is so vibrant and spontaneous, it screams for attention!!!!
I take my hat off to you, your versatility as an artist is stunning, well done indeed!

12-14-2002, 04:08 PM
wow,so nice to get such a great reaction. Because these are so new to my eyes, I was pleased, but felt a bit odd about them and slightly shaky. It would be nice if I could see myself as "versatile" ... however my internal critic sees myself as "Jackie of all trades (!),", and you know the ending of THAT saying!
I shall tell myself how versatile I am, daily, from now on.

Actually -it is a bit dangerous, I suspect. My May exhibition could end up looking like it was painted by several different artists!

thanks for the encouragement nevertheless. I could get hooked on black paper. I feel a series coming on.

Now - a little question for you all. How would YOU frame these? My usual method of framing is a double mount, in soft tones, usually off-white for the big one, and a tiny slip of a colour, then a wide-ish, but simple, gold frame. Not sure this will work with these. What you would suggest? I rather like the idea of a wide black frame, and perhaps not much else other than a small white slip inside the wide black frame. However, am very open to suggestions..........

Katherine J
12-14-2002, 04:17 PM
Got in here a bit late to add anything original, but I can say again how absolutely stunning these are. I just love them - especially the skin and the vibrant red. Of course, I'm a real fan of black, so I'm glad you were happy with the experience.


12-14-2002, 04:58 PM
What they all said! lol! REally these are wonderful. I guess it proves that no matter how good you are you can always add something new to your repertoire!
The black paper does add so much...and these would have been terrific on any paper.
Thanks for sharing!


12-14-2002, 05:10 PM
How about a black mat and narrower gold frame Jacke - the gold would compliment those lovely glowing skin tones beautifully, and the black mat would keep it dramatic.

12-14-2002, 06:44 PM
Ohhhhh I Love these colours Jackie :clap: ..... excellent
But :) ..... two things..... noted the comment above about the dancer on the rights leg..... what if you just give her butt some shape to show its her right leg...... the other is for the dancer on the left..... her left thigh looks like it should be thicker.. it tapers in, it looks better going out ( I altered both in paintshop pro) they look better..... well IMHO :D

... you might just want to run your eye over the dancer on lefts right arm again

I really love these colours and your light

Anna Marie
12-14-2002, 07:08 PM
This is magic Jackie.
I have played with Black peper and have often wanted to stop 5 minutes into the picture because I love the effect of those first few colours.

12-14-2002, 07:24 PM
Jackie...I personally like the black frames with the black paper. Most of my black paper pieces I've framed with either narrow or wide black frames (depending upon the size of the piece...I like to do the wider frames on the larger pieces) and either a single white or cream colored mat. I've also done a couple of pieces with a second mat with just a sliver of black showing on the inside mat.

Here is a link to one of my framed black paper pieces:


However, I also agree that this would look marvelous in a simple gold frame as well.

12-14-2002, 07:50 PM
Jackie.. These are so vibrant and alive, wonderful and clever use of the black paper, apart from a few little anatomy problems which others have pointed out and which I'm sure you will easily correct, these pastel paintings are superb. It's funny because today I too have been trying a different style of painting with pastels but can't say I was as successful as you have been. As to the mount, how about a triple mount? A narrow black then a narrow red or gold, then a wide black, finished with a narrow black shiny frame?


12-14-2002, 08:19 PM
This is totally awesome. I have to admit that I am a total fan of black paper. He's one I did of Rod, in 2001

12-14-2002, 10:04 PM
This is lovely and really makes the colours stand out.
Tell me, don't you folk find the black paper hard on the eyes...esp. if you are still working at night on it? Are there any special tricks? I can't embroider on black fabric...
I have to paint a dog and remembered I had some black paper so I may have a go as well.

12-14-2002, 10:23 PM
Don't find the black paper hard on the eyes during the day at all. I hardly EVER work on anything at night. I installed full spectrum bulbs (natural light) in my ceiling lights in the studio and even those don't really give me the right light at night.

12-14-2002, 10:29 PM
i have a stack of black pastel paper sitting in the corner staring at me because i have'nt had the never to touch it,but after seeing your painting's i am very inspired to get busy.the strong color is very eye catching and your drawing ability is fantastic.:angel:

Mikki Petersen
12-15-2002, 02:00 AM
A narrow black then a narrow red or gold, then a wide black, finished with a narrow black shiny frame?

I was just thinking about a thin gold mat to accent the black paper with a wide black mat for continuity, but then I thought a thin enamel red frame would finish it perfectly. I know next to nothing about framing so this is just MHO of what would please my eye.

12-15-2002, 02:12 AM
DarkShades ... thanks, you have a really good eye, and I'd love to see the corrections you made in PSP. I had all ready corrected her butt (! plastic surgeon in my spare time), and had added some of the detail of the crochet wrap, to show her shape through it, black for the leotard, and lighter for the leg. I know the right arm of the left dancer looks a wee bit odd, and I was hoping to get my daughter here to model it for me. I've tried looking at my own arm, but it's no good, I cannot see myself backwards!! I don't mind a little oddness in that pose - it's slightly off-beat and angular anyway. Anatomy isn't one of my strong points (Luvy - take note. No one is perfect, certainly not me, I make lots of mistakes and always appreciate others' help), tho considering I was once told by a tutor that I ALWAYS got my proportions wrong and should resort to distortion - these aren't too bad! (Luvy - see. I hated what that tutor said, and was very determined not to be brow-beaten by him. I've been struggling to improve my drawing skills ever since, I never stop learning. It all boils down to real, hard, observation.)

Thanks everyone for the framing ideas, I shall consider them all. If I don't use a black frame, then I rather like the idea of a small black mount, and a flat, modern, gold frame. Thanks, Taminka.

What is VERY popular here,I've seen it in a number of recent exhibitions of good artists, is a new kind of wide, flat frame, which has been gold-leafed. It is a sort of dark gold, with slight variations in the colour. You can see it has been hand crafted, because none of the corner joins show! However - this must be horribly expensive, and I note that only those artists who charge megabucks for their work are using it. It looks wonderful, but I don't think I can afford it, sadly, with the prices I charge.

12-15-2002, 06:13 AM
Jackie ... just a quickie..... where did you get your black paper from?

12-15-2002, 06:21 AM
Originally posted by jackiesimmonds
DarkShades ... thanks, you have a really good eye, and I'd love to see the corrections you made in PSP. I had all ready corrected her butt (! plastic surgeon in my spare time), and had added some of the detail of the crochet wrap, to show her shape through it, black for the leotard, and lighter for the leg

lol Jackie ...... YW :) ..... sounds good what you have done to her bum :D, ...... Im not very good with PSP but you will get the idea, I'll try and look at that arm for you and post it.

That mat/frame sounds wonderful.

12-15-2002, 07:20 AM
As I said Im not very good with PSP ... hopefully you will get the idea...... I had some trouble with that arm ... so take this with a pinch of salt...... but I think what the trouble was/is that the arm generally is too long, especially for the angle you have.... so this is very roughly what I came up with ..... Ha! remember Jackie my 'I think Ive got one' and 'Take it Easy' (who could forget) .... I was having trouble with the hand on the bucket! - I got my DH to stand pretending to hold something...... well you have a DH :) ... I know he'd be more muscular, but you could use him for the angle etc...... I dont suggest he dresses in a tu-tu though * giggles :)

Ohh the other thing that gave me trouble is the perspective... as if you look at the length of the forearm that you and I have, then look at the distance of the foot from the wall? - I would of liked to have seen the same distance (just my thoughts - just came back in and shown this) .... and just one last one :) ..... would there of been a shadow from the bar?


12-15-2002, 09:42 AM
Love all this work on black paper, now I have to go see if I have any!

The dancers look great and the wide gold flat frame sounds beautiful. I think I've seen them advertised in American Art Review and called Impressionists Frames. They are more expensive but might be worth it. Hang on a minute and I'll look for a website.


Maybe one of these can lead you to a source in your area.

12-15-2002, 01:20 PM
Dark Shades ... the black paper I used is Somerset Velvet, lovely stuff, very heavy and gorgeous to use. I got it from John Purcell - UK supplier - 02077375199.

Thanks for the thoughts about the anatomy, and the PSP corrections, as the one of her hips/bum is particularly good, I think, and really helps. I will certainly have another look at that arm.

Yes, perhaps the bar would throw a shadow - I didn't have a bar, made it up!! Yuk, not sure I want to tackle a shadow. I might have to, tho, now you have mentioned it. It will irk me.

Not so sure about the distance from the wall thing - she was standing with her arm against a screen, as if at a bar, and the base of the screen cuts her legs exactly where it was, if you know what I mean. However, I did struggle slightly with the foot facing the screen, so perhaps I made it a bit short. Anyway, I will look again at that problem too. Luvy - you must be having a ball, seeing all the mistakes I have made!!

Doe - thanks for the links to framers, but I am UK based, and I doubt these would help me. In any event, the frames I was talking about are most certainly hand-finished - there were NO visible "joins" at the corners at all, which means that the gold leaf was done after the frame was put together. So they wouldn't be frames that one could buy, they are frames one could only order from a specialist framer.

Mikki Petersen
12-15-2002, 06:23 PM
Yes, yes! Just that little bit of highlight on the hip fixed the whole leg thing. I think Dark Shades got the fix on the arm too. I don't think you want to add any shadows though based on where your light source is for the other shadows.

I love this subject of dancers and think you were very brave to tackle them! Beautifully done.

09-27-2003, 02:03 PM
Thanks Jackie for taking us on your black paper experience. :)

Originally posted by jackiesimmonds
Here's one of my favourite pieces painted on black paper - I learned a whole lot from this, especially how colours sing out on black paper, and also how to offset the figure with more abstract areas.


oops, I tried just to post the link ... got the pic instead ... not sure how to do it, perhaps I can leave it to you.

09-27-2003, 02:43 PM
I am using the old Wow!! what beautiful results you are getting on the black. guess I will have to try it. .
Jackie can we get the Somerset? paper over here ??


09-28-2003, 04:36 AM
I think you can ... others have mentioned it....why not do a search on the net.

Black Canson is also good to use.