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Black as Base...

A quote started it…“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.” Leonardo da Vinci

There is a lively discussion on Facebook right now about using black as a base coat over the canvas, before starting a painting….

I agree with Da Vinci and sometimes use black as a base coat even in Watercolour

What do you think? Is it a good idea?
Have you used black as a base coat in any medium? Oils, Acrylics, Pastel, Watercolour, Photography?
If not what colour do you use
?

Comments

  • Terri Maddock
    Terri Maddockover 1 year ago

    I especially like black pastel paper to work on – the colours really glow on top. It is easier to have the black already there for the dark areas of the work – you can add other dark mixtures of pastel lightly over the top. Using the paler pastel papers, the dark areas can be hard to establish unless using a very dark underpainting first in those areas. I have also tried a black primed canvas in an acrylic still life workshop which was interesting to use & did give some nice dark outlines, although it did take a lot more layers of paint to cover the black in the light areas.

  • I don’t think I’ve tried black pastel paper, but I certainly will…it sounds exciting…I paint back over watercolour and handmade paper as well as canvas, and use black pastel to add texture and act as a slight resist…thanks for the feedback Terri…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Ellen Keagy
    Ellen Keagyover 1 year ago

    Iǘe always preferred what I read most watercolorists believe, leave the whites. I´ve not tried black as a base color but now that I´ve read these..

  • Traditional Watercolour has always been a case of leaving the white of the page to be the white in the painting…that’s classic Watercolour practice, but if you want to transgress as I said in my recent audio clip (see the link in my last journal post or my FB page), you can go absolutely wild and try something different…thanks so much for joining in Ellen..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Lana Wynne
    Lana Wynneover 1 year ago

    I often start with burnt amber or licorice (very dark brown)..it depends on the painting. For light colored paintings I use lighter colors as a base…yellow ochre always as a base for faces. In general, I stay away from pure black and often mix it with other colors.

  • I don’t use pure black in the painting itself, but I do use the most intense black as a base coat on the support..I’m not fond of the usual gray, but I’ve also tried brown, beige, blues, orange, red and green on handmade paper..it makes it so exciting..thanks so much Lana…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Virginia McGowan
    Virginia McGowanover 1 year ago

    yes I painted black .blackboard paint , nice and smooth but a good tooth ,over [wrecked 425 grams Bockingford watercolour paper, also done onto board, then used pastels,on the board I then used # 4 Liquol to set pastels ,and then painted with oil paint.[Boxed In ] and [ Ballina Path] not sure if correct title . and no time to link. ………….but you can’t see the black anyway .

  • Blackboard paint sounds intriguing..I must try it…probably would be good over discarded paintings, then I would use pastel or acrylics on top…I think matte blacks work best though…thanks for the feedback Virginia…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Virginia McGowan
    Virginia McGowanover 1 year ago

    I think is is matte or was, I haven’t any left . I think it wasn’t cheap so I didn’t get another tin , my art teacher /friend used it on board, then painted pic with pastels sealed it with spray fixative, and framed them , He did a lot for restaurants , still life things. I just couldn’t get the pastel to not come off a bit when I touched it ,so I painted over mine with oil paint. Maybe he used a different fixative..I still have a board ready ,mdf /craft board 3mm I cut mine with a Stanley knife ,takes a bit of pushing into it method but I hate saws ….scary lol .I think it took a lot of pastel too. not suer if you know I usedthat board too and glue canvas on it, just a wood glue.

  • If you have some left then it’s time to do a new piece….right? :))

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 1 year ago

    I start with whatever appeals to me, as mood and subconscious thoughts are at work, and color/material choices are influenced by it. Sometimes I like drawing on black paper, and I do often tint my ground, but it’s not necessarily dark or black. And, whether it’s on the whole surface or select areas, there are times I work transparently and want a very light reflective ground underneath. No one can really argue that Da Vinci was a great artist, (and inventor!), but even when it comes to the methods of masters, there’s more than one way to do things!

  • And I like to transgress as I said in my last clip and break all the rules….the advantage of being a decorative painter first is acquiring all the knowledge required to create various effects…in fine art though a little is all that’s needed to get dynamic results…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Thanks so much Cindy..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 1 year ago

    I agree, the decorative arts like faux finishing, etc, are great experience. I am happy that I was more or less accidentally blown down that path early by getting into theater sets and later faux. I learned so much and developed speed and confidence in trying things that really are valuable as a fine artist, too. I’m not as fast anymore though, LOL!

  • Yes it was certainly invaluable to learn the properties of various chemicals and how they work together..I am planning to finally dissolve that section of my studio and all those tins and bottles of chemicals and glazes will have to go…they seem to be part of a long ago life…what I call BRB or before RB…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • JohnDSmith
    JohnDSmithover 1 year ago

    Hi Janis,…..You did not mention using photography,….But,..Here`s my in put,….
    I shoot all my photo`s in the Raw mode,…..Most of the time their very dark when I load them on the computer,…..I add light and color to them in my post work,….
    I would have to agree with Da Vinci,……He was one of the best,…..

  • I did not mention it as I did not know you could do it, but now I know that you can I am really intrigued..so you must explain your process to us, neophytes in the photography field as we are…thanks so much John…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • JohnDSmith
    JohnDSmithover 1 year ago

    Neophytes,…..Now your just trying to talk over my head,…..LOL
    The Raw mode is like using a negative in a film camera,…..If the image is not burned out with to much light from the camera`s exposure,…..The details of the image is all there,….You just need to lighten it up in the dark room (Post Work).
    The same with the colors,….Their all there you just need to let it out,….
    I know that`s much detail about shooting in the Raw mode,….but,…That`s the short of it.

  • I have seen the term used but did not know what it meant…I just use a Sony Cyber Shot to take photos of my paintings and upload them to the site, and that’s all I know…I do take pictures of my gardens and they generally turn out well, but one of these days I would like to learn more about photography…I have a vintage Olympus OM1 and photos I took with it (many years ago) have sold well on RB, but as you know I am a painter not a photographer….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • JohnDSmith
    JohnDSmithover 1 year ago

    If I could paint like you,….I would not worry about photography,……
    You have a lot of talent,…..and You seem to be very successful at what you do,…. and you always trying to improve your place in life,….That counts a lot,…

  • Thanks so much for the lovely compliment John…I know there will come a time when my hands and the brush won’t get along together and then I would like to develop my love for photography, but I hope that won’t be for a while yet…the brush is still paramount right now…

    – © Janis Zroback