Painting Black on Black

I found this assignment a bit challenging. Why?

Here are the parameters:

  • Black canvas – I used black gesso on an already primed canvas 16 x 20″
  • All colors must contain black
  • The source was a black panther on a black background.

I changed the background behind the cat so many times. Finally settled on alizarin crimson with a dabble of black. As a cool color, it should recede to the back and allow the warm mars black to pull forward.

I wanted to make the background lighter but can’t decide on which color. Any suggestions?

One of my mentors suggested I play with mixing colors with black to see what colors I can mix. Now, before I clean my palette, I mix a few colors to see the possibilities.

Would someone hang a black painting such as this in their home or business?

Landing various brush strokes was a problem because it was hard to see with black on black. One of the skills I am developing is to not be “blendy-blendy” with paint. The goal is to allow the colors to mix optically, to stand out to create form and accent plane shifts.

I wanted this panther to sneak up and pounce out of the canvas.

I am not a fan of black on black. What do you think?


Mixing colors with black
Panther head detail

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