I wrote a blog post in 2015 Custom Watercolour Mixes - a question of Greys about creating various mixed greys, without the use of black or white pigments. Daniel Smith Art Materials created Jane's Grey - the lovely mix of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine - as a signature colour in 2019. From 2018, I've also been working with their wonderful chief chemist on some interesting mixed blacks. We looked at an earth grey as well, but as a three pigment mix it was rather complex. We also looked at a Red/Blue mixed black but eventually narrowed down to just two.
Jane's Black R/G (Red/Green) began last century when I mixed Anthraquinoid Red with Phthalo Green BS and discovered a fabulous range of colours from a deep green and deep maroon to a rich black. I love it when colours totally and perfectly neutralise each other! This mixing pair creates gorgeous fig, plum, aubergine, Perylene Maroon and Perylene Green hues - colours that are otherwise quite tricky to mix.
Over the years I modified this to use Pyrrol Crimson PR264 instead and created tubes of this colour as a premix for myself and my students. The neutral black created is staining and non-granulating, so can also be useful for tonal underpainting or wherever a rich black is required, without the deadening effect of black pigments.
|Various paint-outs of Jane's Black R/G in development|
|Jane's Black (Red/Green) in use on a fabulous building, now a cafe, built in 1695, and as a faded black for the windmill.|
The black created is also a neutral black, staining and non-granulating and not really distinguishable from Jane's Black R/G, but I would choose to use them differently so that the gradual adjustment to warm or cool the black can vary. This is warmed with an orange such as transparent pyrrol orange (or a red), and cooled with a blue - in this case Phthalo Blue Red Shade, though other blues will also work. I've used it in this painting of 'Stones, Kiama' though I could have used either black for this subject.
|New Daniel Smith colours - Jane's Black (Blue/Orange), Chrome Titanate Yellow, Iridescent Vibrant Raspberry |
and King's Royal Blue.