Monday, February 13, 2012

On Gamblin's Chromatic Black Pigment

Sometime ago, I wanted to explore the use of black in drawing and redrawing shapes in my work such as the French Impressionists employed in their work.  At first, I used Ivory Black but did not like the intensity of the color in that it appeared too bold for what I was attempting.  In frustration, I wrote Robert Gamblin at Gamblin Colors and asked what he might suggest.  His response was to try their Chromatic Black, a transparent dark rated at lightfastness 1.  I loved the transparency of the pigment and was delighted with the results.
"Study of Grapefruit", 12x9", oil on panel

As time passed I eventually dropped my original idea but found that I thoroughly enjoyed Chromatic Black's (CB) versatility. As a result, I am now using it to tone many of my panels prior to painting as well as creating lovely warm and cool gray mixtures during the painting process. "Study of Grapefruit" (above) was painted on a CB toned canvas. Many of the colors within the painting have varying amounts of the transparent black added. The result is a lovely, moody image that represents the subject very well in the cool light of the Conservatory where it was growing.

The beauty of CB is that it is not "black" at all but rather a mix of chlorinated and bromated phtalocyanine and quinacridone red The color tints out to a lovely grayish mauve and is supportive to many of the more vivid color combinations found in nature. I've found that adding colors to CB creates beautiful subtle variations that are very pleasing to the eye.  It has become a most welcome and frequent addition to my regular palette.

Painting note: "Study of Grapefruit" was painted en plein air in the Conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor, Michigan on a CB toned Raymar Panel in the afternoon on February 13, 2012.


Sarah said...

Lovely painting, and interesting post.

Brian January said...

Excellent painting!