Tag Archives: Manet

Using Black Paint

I mentioned in my last post that I frequently like using black paint in my work. When I do use black, I don’t always use it to gray down a color, but sometimes I like the effect when I do. Some painting teachers will tell students to never use black because it is too intense.

Ann Hart Marquis-Temperamental-using black paint

Tempermental, acrylic and ink on canvas, 14 x 14 x 14 x 1.5 inches, 2015.

Some think that black pigment kills the color and should never ever be used for darkening colors or in shadows. In addition, it is said that the artist should mix their own black paint, and colors should be darkened with their complementaries.

The idea actually goes back to the Impressionists and the statements that Monet made about the use of pure black. He maintained that pure black is ” death of shadows” and that it dulls colors. It was believed that he abandoned the use of pure black completely although now through the use of modern science we find out that it’s not true. Monet obviously did not study the works of Manet, Matisse or Goya whose use of black is dramatic and compelling.

La danse-Matisse

La danse-Matisse

There is definitely some black pigment in Monet paintings. The stigma that attached itself to the pure black paint survived, however, and unfortunately it is still present till this day.

There is no absolute rule in painting for when premixed black is used versus a hand-mixed black. It depends on the artist’s preference and the intended visual effect. For instance, if I want a certain warm/dark brown black, then I would mix until I arrived at that shade. If, however I wanted a full/rich black, then I would select a premixed tube.

Any thoughts on the color black or painting with it?

Magenta with Orange—My New Favorite Colors

Over the years, my painting style and palette have evolved and grown. Fortunately, my first painting teacher considered herself a fauvist, encouraging all of her students to paint in vivid colors with lots of paint. She also encouraged us to paint with abandon and lack of fear and with little intellectualizing about the subject. That wild fauvist attitude didn’t really stick with me, but it did give me an appreciation and a love for color.

My first paintings on my own were earth-toned landscapes and trees. I painted many trees. I frequently used earth colors like burnt sienna, ochre, and umber, paired with nature-appropriate greens.

AnnHartMarquis_Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset. Acrylic on canvas, 11×14-inches. ©2006, Ann Hart Marquis

Here is Summer Sunset, one of my earlier paintings.




Recently, I gave myself the task of putting all of those earth colors away and got out the magenta, orange and yellow for a new series. I didn’t want to use any blacks like Manét or Matisse. I wanted my paintings to sing with color. I now realize that I have gone almost full circle, back to my fauvist beginnings.

Here is one of the first in the series. I have painted six and I must say that I am enjoying magenta, especially when paired with orange.

AnnHartMarquis_AnotherDay in Paradise

Another Day in Paradise. Acrylic on canvas, 20×24-inches. ©2014, Ann Hart Marquis

Have you dramatically changed your palette or the colors that you find yourself attracted to?