Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mixing Black with Watercolour


Water colour works in a different way from other mediums. Even after mixing colours in the palette, the pigments tend to separate instead of keeping a homogenous mix. When working wet-in-wet, this happens even after the paint is applied to the paper. The transparency of most colours also affects the balance. It means that strong pigments are given a lot of weight and that washes have a tendency to become muddy. Using black will make all washes look dirty, casting a layer of grey dust over everything. It is unrealistic to hope to paint vivid, clean colours if black is involved.

This not only applies to black paint but also to pigments that contain black. Any grey, such as Payne’s Grey, Davy’s Gray, Neutral Tint, some dark greens, and Indigo contain black pigment.

There are many combinations of colours that will give a much richer and cleaner black than black paints.

·        Alizarin Crimson & Viridian
·        Ultramarine & Burnt Sienna
·        Perylene Violet & Green
·        Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow & Ultramarine
·        Three primary colours: red, yellow and blue mixed will also make a black.

Replacing ready-made blacks with these mixes will lead to brighter colours and more life and depth in your painting.

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