Sunday, January 4, 2015

Why Include Black & White on your Palette

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 The squirrel pendant was given to me by my daughter for my birthday last year. Loved it then and love it even more now that I know Squirrel will be my guide this year. I'll be wearing it more often and of course had to get it in the sketchbook!

Oddly enough, as you can see below on Dec. 30th, I felt the need to sketch squirrels....hmmmmm.
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I've also got me new color palette documented. Actually it's basically the same as what I'd been using for most of the summer and all of the autumn. I removed one of my greens, now that there is very little green in the landscape and replaced the Quin Crimson with pyrrole red deep.

I don't know if I could actually recommend this palette to you, unless of course you do a lot of nature sketching. I like it just fine but the majority of my sketching is nature so it's good for that. I know some of you are probably horrified that I have black and white in there.  What can I say. I like both of them, (bone black is really quite lovely) and I've never really been comfortable with the narrow notion of "transparent only" when it comes to water media.

I usually mix my own darks, and I actually treat black as its own color, which is why I like different kinds of blacks, they all have their own subtleties and undertones. Ivory black is my least favorite, although sometimes Bone black (which is in my palette right now) and Ivory black are the same any rate I like the Maimeri Blu Bone Black....I find it smokier, softer and a touch warmer than many other PBK 9 blacks whether they're called Bone or Ivory. There's also Lamp Black and Mars Black both of which are worth exploring.

Having white on my palette allows me to switch to opaque passages and sometimes that just what I want. The pale pinks of morning skies almost always requires that I mix a pink using white.  When I really get the urge to work opaquely I switch to my gouache kit or my larger box that has both watercolors and gouache in it.

Versatility is key if you don't want to drag around a lot of supplies, everything you take with you needs to have a purpose and ideally more than one thing it can do for you. For me black and white just seem to round things out. Having black allows me to work monochrome, add white and I can get a full gray scale. White mixed with colors gives me delicate tints for skies and flowers that I wouldn't be able to achieve otherwise. And small additions of either black or white to watercolors changes them and expands their range and possibilities.

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