Ah, now then, using white as a touch up and 'cosmetic' application on watercolour is one thing but what about black? There are loads of black watercolour products out there with Lamp Black, Payne's Grey, Indigo and Neutral Tint all containing black pigments. So where to start?
Learned wisdom is, of course, to steer clear of ready mixed black paints as they have a chalky, sooty appearance when dry. Mixing your own dark shades for the job is best but care must be taken to avoid 'muddy', nondescript colours. My early colour chart for neutrals and mid-tones formed a good starting point before moving onto darker, more saturated colours.
|Greys, Neutrals and Mid-Tones|
Most mixed without the use of black pigments
Some addition of Payne's Grey was used in the four mixes to the
bottom right but these were less, 'colourful' than the other mixes
Here to help are some tips from the best:
- Use a range of cool and warm yellows, blues and reds to mix black.
- Always work layers and washes from light to dark, the darkest to be worked with a dry brush, 'stippling' technique to avoid lifting previous layers.
- Combine Complementary Colours, e.g those opposite each other on the colour wheel, Red and Green, Yellow and Violet, Blue and Orange , (those closer to each other can also work well). Remember, the mix here is a Primary and Secondary colour.
- Avoid using colours with black pigment. e.g Payne's Grey, Indigo, Neutral Tint or Sepia.
These precious pearls of wisdom came from Paul Fennel SBA, Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan SWSBA. More top tips can be found at Artists and Illustrators: 20 Tips for Painting Better Botanicals
|Mixing blacks, using a range of cool and warm colours helped to|
get a range of dark shades from blues to reds
|The range of cool and warm Primary colours used|
|Gaynor Dickeson captured this beautiful|
watercolour study of
Secondly is a slightly more obvious 'black' flower, Tulipa 'Queen of Night'. I started growing these a couple of years ago and they really do make a statement in the front of a border mixed with white and pale pink tulip varieties. I wasn't sure just how much of a black flower they would be but the deep, velvety reddish-purple-black is delicious. Mine are emerging now but have a way to go before I can enjoy their luscious, sensual velvetyness.
When you start thinking about it there are loads of black flowers, fruits and of course, berries. One of my favourites is the berries that appear on the Tutsan, (Hypericum androsaemum). The gorgeously shiny berries go from green, to red, to black at the end of the season and add some welcome colour to the Autumn garden, and are great in flower arrangements. Bonus!
|Coral Guest posted this stunning |
example of Tulipa 'Queen of Night'
on her blog in 2008
Extraordinary depth of colour
and those highlights are just beautiful
|Turning red but they go black, trust me!|