Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vine Black: Black Pigment Series, Part 4

This is the last of a four-part series comparing black pigments.

VINE BLACK is also called Drop Black, Frankfort Black, Peach Black, Spanish Black and Blue Black. These blacks are made by burning grape vines, cork and other woods and vegetable products. The reason you don't hear much about Vine Black is that it has a reputation of being less pure and inferior to the other blacks. Peach Black was reputed to be the best of a bad bunch. They are bluish in undertone which explains why they used to commonly be called Blue Black. Nowadays colors sold under the Blue Black name are usually mixtures of Ultramarine and Ivory Black. Here's link to a company that still makes Vine Black: Natural Pigments.

Heard enough about black yet? No? Here are a few others:

FURNACE BLACK (also called Carbon Black) is almost pure carbon and makes a dense and intense black used in industrial coatings but less commonly for artist's paint due to a tendency to make 'streaky' tints. Produced by burning Natural Gas.

CHARCOAL BLACK is made from willow and is pure ground charcoal. As a pigment it makes a very poor paint and has been replaced by modern substitutes.


Theresa Rankin said...

I have just read the entire black series...and yes I do find it fascinating too! You have put a fantastic and knowledgeable article together here...and I have learned how many of the various blacks came to be. For myself, I use Ivory Black...but only rarely. I mix it with Cadmium Yellow Light to get a beautiful grayed green for the background of my still life paintings. Instead of black ( just a personal choice not a judgment by any means) I use a mixture of Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine Blue...sometimes adding a little Alizarin Crimson for all of my other work. Thank you once again for all of the knowledge and forethought you have put into your blog!

Peggi Habets said...

I'm glad you liked it Theresa. I love to read artist's formulas for their own unique "black". I often use Burnt Sienna and Ultr. Blue, with a little Quin. Red mixed in. I have been unsatisfied with it in large masses though and want to experiment a little. I think I'll try your Trans. Oxide Red and Ultr. Blue.

Manon Doyle said...

I'd never heard of vine black. I find it very interesting how they make these colors. I often use carbon black when I use acrylics. Great series.

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

Peggi, Thank you for your compliments on my portrait. I also used your portfolio concept. I used some leftover matboard and instead of paper inside I built up layers of mat board to keep distance from the piece and the outside folder. I made one for giclees for my collectors too. Your idea is great.