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  #1  
Old 06-11-11, 03:21 AM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Default Black E.T. - a funky color

I made several panels that I strated out with a solid black underpainting (using Kremer Lamp-black pigment). I let them dry in the sun really well and it was high-summer when I did them. I have found that black needs quite a bit of medium to temper so, as you can imagine, the were pretty 'fat' under paintings and don't seem to have cured yet. Maybe they will always feel a little 'fatty'.

Is this just the problem with black since it seems to need so much medium to temper or do any of you have any other techniques to creating a solid black underpainting that is not so 'fat' yet pitch black? I guess I could try adding some black to my gesso to darken it a bit first.

I have painted black e.t. underpaintings before but do any of you think there might be any problems down the road with black as an underpainting and painting lighter colors over it? Do you think I might need to wait six months for the black to 'settle' or dry more before painting over it?

Thanks,

-Silver
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  #2  
Old 06-11-11, 05:09 AM
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Spinel black tempers, behaves and dries to an egg shell sheen very much like titanium white.
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Old 06-11-11, 04:51 PM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Black E.T. - a funky color

I have found Lamp Black to be a problem for me too, but not black in general. Ivory Black performs nicely, and while it's a bit 'cooler' in color than Lamp, the addition of a bit of burnt umber or green compensates.
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Old 06-11-11, 05:26 PM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Thanks, I will give Ivory black a try as well. It seems to be much cheaper than the Spinel (though I am going to try that as well).

I take it that Ivory Black uses less medium to temper hence it is less 'fatty', right?

I want to make sure I get a black underpainting down that won't cause 'Lean over Fat' issues later.

Thanks,
S

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Originally Posted by mona View Post
I have found Lamp Black to be a problem for me too, but not black in general. Ivory Black performs nicely, and while it's a bit 'cooler' in color than Lamp, the addition of a bit of burnt umber or green compensates.
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Old 06-11-11, 09:40 PM
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All of my tempera paintings are in black and white. I use dry pigments premixed in 16 calibrated shades from white to very dark gray made from just titanium white and ivory black. The white and light shades temper easily and dry to an eggshell finish. As the shades get darker they temper less easily and dry increasingly mat. The light shades over-paint beautifully, but the darker, with their mat finish are problematic. I have not found that additional egg in an amount that I'd feel comfortable using of benefit. With spinel black all shades temper, behave and dry like pure titanium. I'd make the switch to spinel but it is significantly cooler in tone than ivory black.
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Old 06-11-11, 10:13 PM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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OK, Thanks. Is Kremer the only place to buy it? It is like $150 a pound there. I use lots of pigment.
Thanks,
-S

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Originally Posted by DLH View Post
All of my tempera paintings are in black and white. I use dry pigments premixed in 16 calibrated shades from white to very dark gray made from just titanium white and ivory black. The white and light shades temper easily and dry to an eggshell finish. As the shades get darker they temper less easily and dry increasingly mat. The light shades over-paint beautifully, but the darker, with their mat finish are problematic. I have not found that additional egg in an amount that I'd feel comfortable using of benefit. With spinel black all shades temper, behave and dry like pure titanium. I'd make the switch to spinel but it is significantly cooler in tone than ivory black.
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Old 07-11-11, 04:14 AM
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I did a quick search and couldn't find another source. I also looked at Kremer, which I haven't for a while, and was surprised to see that there are now four different spinel black pigments. While numbers 38 and 42 are indeed around $150 a pound numbers 42 and 43 are about $42. It has my curiosity piqued. Perhaps one of them is closer in tone to carbon black, and not bluish like the one I tried. It was the only spinel offered at the time.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:39 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Silver,

I'm a Mars black fan. It is an iron oxide, most often synthesized, although Natural Pigments offers a mined Mars black. It is warm in tone, which I prefer, and tempers better than the carbon blacks (which include bone, ivory, and lamp). The carbon blacks are all notoriously slow driers, need a lot of medium,and are generally cool in tone. You can glaze over cool with warm to alter its temperature, so that's not the problem for me. Mostly I wouldn't use the carbons because of the amount of medium they need and the subsequent drying rate. (But then again, Mona has had luck with ivory black...a good idea, Mona, to add umber, which warms the color temp and improves the drying time).

I wouldn't keep adding binder to a color to get it as saturated as you like - at some point you aren't tempering properly. As DLH says, it would make me uncomfortable. One of the drawbacks of tempera is that its refractive index is not as great as, for example oils - you can't get the darks quite as dark in ET as in oil (which is one of the reasons I varnish and glaze with oil on ET, to get more saturated darks, as I like a big, wide value range in my work).

Spinel black is the fastest drier as far as I know. It is also, from what I've read, considered the closest to true black, in the sense that it reflects back the least amount of any other color/absorbs more colors of the spectrum than any other black.

My favorite, Mars black, is fairly opaque. To get a really deep, saturated black I coat my panel first with Indian red, as it is warm and VERY opaque, really covers the white gesso. Then I alternate layers of Mars black with lots of transparent darks such as prussian, ultramarine, alizarin, viridian, burnt umber, with more Mars black layers than any of the others. I gently polish the surface with cheesecloth every few layers, which seems to help the tempering along and brings out the shine. At the end I can turn the temperature of the black toward warm or cool with a final thin glaze of one of the above glazing colors. Still reads as black, but the black I want.

Glad to read all this interest in black pigments, as opposed to that nonsensical line taught in most art schools that one should never use black pigs (even though ever great painter up until the Impressionists did!).

Koo
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Old 08-11-11, 04:04 AM
Silver Lining Silver Lining is offline
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Thanks for the detailed and great response, Koo.
What suppliers of Mars Black do you get your pigments from?
Also, as you point out, of the drawbacks of tempera is that its refractive index is not as great as oil. That being said, if you keep layering black on black (or for that matter any color on itself) doesn't it increase its refractive index? I mean at some point it will taper off but if you, say, put down many layers of black, won't you end up with a pretty rich black. I am not referring to what direction it may go (coor or warm) but just the saturation of the specific color.
Thanks,
S


Quote:
Originally Posted by Koo Schadler View Post
Hello Silver,

I'm a Mars black fan. It is an iron oxide, most often synthesized, although Natural Pigments offers a mined Mars black. It is warm in tone, which I prefer, and tempers better than the carbon blacks (which include bone, ivory, and lamp). The carbon blacks are all notoriously slow driers, need a lot of medium,and are generally cool in tone. You can glaze over cool with warm to alter its temperature, so that's not the problem for me. Mostly I wouldn't use the carbons because of the amount of medium they need and the subsequent drying rate. (But then again, Mona has had luck with ivory black...a good idea, Mona, to add umber, which warms the color temp and improves the drying time).

I wouldn't keep adding binder to a color to get it as saturated as you like - at some point you aren't tempering properly. As DLH says, it would make me uncomfortable. One of the drawbacks of tempera is that its refractive index is not as great as, for example oils - you can't get the darks quite as dark in ET as in oil (which is one of the reasons I varnish and glaze with oil on ET, to get more saturated darks, as I like a big, wide value range in my work).

Spinel black is the fastest drier as far as I know. It is also, from what I've read, considered the closest to true black, in the sense that it reflects back the least amount of any other color/absorbs more colors of the spectrum than any other black.

My favorite, Mars black, is fairly opaque. To get a really deep, saturated black I coat my panel first with Indian red, as it is warm and VERY opaque, really covers the white gesso. Then I alternate layers of Mars black with lots of transparent darks such as prussian, ultramarine, alizarin, viridian, burnt umber, with more Mars black layers than any of the others. I gently polish the surface with cheesecloth every few layers, which seems to help the tempering along and brings out the shine. At the end I can turn the temperature of the black toward warm or cool with a final thin glaze of one of the above glazing colors. Still reads as black, but the black I want.

Glad to read all this interest in black pigments, as opposed to that nonsensical line taught in most art schools that one should never use black pigs (even though ever great painter up until the Impressionists did!).

Koo
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  #10  
Old 08-11-11, 12:34 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Silver,

For years I got my Mars black from Kremer, a manufactured version. Here is the order info: Mars Black Brownish, Kremer # 48440.

I like that color, still use it, but I'm also playing with Natural Pigments natural Mars black, just to see what the differences are. That info is: Natural Black Oxide , Natural Pigments Rublev # 480-30B. I think so far I'm preferring Kremer's, which also happens to be a bit less expensive, I believe. In general its an inexpensive pigment.

Your colors will get more saturated to the extent you fully blanket that brilliant white gesso panel that can very subtly come through, surprisingly so, after many layers. But no, unfortunately the refractive index itself doesn't change no matter how many layers you put on. I build up my blacks with 30 or more layers of the various colors I mentioned, and its a beautiful color, truly a black - and I can give it some degree of shine (and thus increase its refractive index) a bit by polishing. But it becomes a different black - drops 1 or 2 steps in value - when I put a varnish on top. It the difference between a dry rock and a wet rock. The dry rock has plenty of rich color throughout (just like the many layers of a tempera painting) but that color looks different when wet.

The darkest values are affected the most by the whole refractive index issue: the value of a varnished yellow in tempera changes a little, a varnished red a bit more, a varnished black the most. I am not at all advocating for varnishing - we've had that discussion! I only mean to say that unvarnished tempera has a certain value range unique to it, and it will never be the same as the values achieved in oil.

Koo
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