And Black

Alright, I added black to my palette. There!  In addition to those other new colors  mentioned last week I’ve also added black.  I know, I know, ya never use black. “You can mix GREAT! darks with out using black”.  Right?    Right!.   But one can mix great darks using it too. Sargent used it. Velazquez used it. David Leffel uses it. Jeff Watts uses it.

And boy oh boy does Jeff Watts use it! I may be overstating  just a bit but sometimes it seems like every other trip to the palette finds Jeff digging into that huge pile of black. Jeff also puts his black right next to the white and normally has a little bit of gray mixed in between the two.

The detail above is from a 5×7 inch piece I did the other night. That dark color is mixed using black and bright red. Almost edible. It’s a combination I see Jeff using all the time and I did this little painting just so I could mix some of it.

I’ve watched, over and over again, Jeff ‘s Gesture Portrait  video. I’m trying very hard to emulate what I see him doing.  As best I can I use the same tools, color, brush work etc. so I can more readily get a feel for what he’s doing and his thought process. It’s working. I’m having a great time and I can already see it coming around to my way of application. As it should I suppose.

A huge perk from doing these things is the mixing of new color I’ve not gotten into before. Flesh tones intimidate me. At least they did until recently when I heard Mr. Watts describe the process. He says mixing flesh tones “is the easiest thing” in the world to do. Red, yellow and white. Any Red, any Yellow and White. I’d never heard it said. Go figure.

He’s right. It’s pretty easy.

Happy days!!



11 Responses to “And Black”

  1. Way to go!! Love it!! Keep going.

    • Hi Trixie!! I always love it when ya come say hello. Glad ya like this one. It’s tiny but reads well. I’m still experimenting with flesh tones. Hopefully I’ll get it figured out where I know more about controlling a mixture. Say Hey! to John!

  2. I love it too. I am anxious to see what you come up with next. I know that your talent is unlimited. Nifty stuff, Eldon


    • Mornin Peg, to bad you’re not here this morning to have some coffee.
      Next is a landscape using a little different color scheme than I’m used to and I’m trying out a different style of brush. Wish me luck.

  3. Love it! I use it too. I added black to my palette last year
    observing what happens to darks created over black, and
    light colours on black absolutely sing!

    Super portrait.

    Take care,


    • Hi Barbara, Black as an under painting sounds interesting. I think I’ll put some on a small canvas and let it dry and see what happens. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Thanks for breaking the black taboo — and I think it is about time- Robert Genn talks about the way Renoir used black regularly- I really love your painting-beautifully done!

    • Hi Sue, Thanks, Taboo is right. I’d been told not to use black when I was still in high school. It’s amazing how I’ve gone 40 more years before I actually questioned the practice. 🙂 Oh well, better late than never huh?
      And it’s adding worlds to what we can do with color.

  5. Vicki Barton Says:

    Eldon, It looks like you are making amazing progress on the new work! One of the first greens I fell in love with back some 25 years ago was made simply by adding Indian Yellow to black. That was in the 4″x5″ mini oils with red barns and hay fields phase. Actually they sound kind of fun! Have a great day and I’m axious to see your next “experiments”. Vicki

    • Mornin Vicki, Yeah. I’m just starting to see how I can use black but it looks like it could add a whole new dimension to the color I use and I think when it comes to mood it’s going to be very important. I have some Indian Yellow. I’ll mix some up and see what it does.

  6. Hi Eldon…yes I know long time no hear…Facebook…jeez! Anyway…great work and I also have started adding black to my palette. Jeff Watts is a force isn’t he? Your work is fantastic as always!! Love the brushwork and color…I am back blogging and thank you for wondering where I had been!

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