Black! Black! Black! Black I say, Black!

It’s un-be-lievable that it’s sooooo long ago since I wrote about my black, while I’m working on it day and night. Time to bring you up to speed. Well, almost up to speed. Here’s a short version of a few months testing and developing black paint. Part 1 of the story.

My own black pigment, is…

I’ve already revealed in my review of Black 2.0, that I have “my own black pigment”, which is more black then Ivory Black. But I didn’t told you what it was then, time to do that now. My own black pigment is made of … (hold your horses, I’m trying to create some suspense over here)… it… (annoying silence) … is (more annoying silence) … drumroll … … coal!
OK, I admit, you easily could have guessed that one yourself, if you know my work.

Coal from the mine of ZolderI planned for a long time to make paint with coal as a pigment, but it was the arrival of Black 1.0 and Super Base which finally got me into actually doing it. 25 Years ago, I visited the last Belgian coalmine during it’s last months,  and I took ‘some’ coal with me to use in artworks. I still have this coal, but the biggest piece is falling apart. Now I took the small pieces that came of, and grinded them in order to make acrylic paint. With Semple’s Super Base, as well as with ‘regular’ binding agents.


black - particles of coalblack paint tests with coal - anvblack coalpaint - anv

The first results where disappointing, but along the way I got myself a beautiful paint. Odd enough, more brown then black. Dark brown. Very dark when I combine layers, but brown.

Antracite, Super Base and Black 2.0

Next step: try the colour of the Antracite coal I bought. And thàt my dear, was black. Real black. Blacker then Ivory Black. So the day Black 2.0 arrived, I mainly rushed into my studio to find out if Black 2.0 was more black then my coalpaint. And yes, it was! Not much, but it was visible. The purpose of my participation in this #sharetheblack thing, is to obtain the blackest black possible for everybody (except for heWhoDoesntWantToShare his black), so my search for a darker version continued.

Unlike Black 1.0, Black 2.0 did not consist of a pigment and a binder, but came in a potion of directly processable paint. I could cry, because I had such great results with coal and the Super Base of Black 1.0, and maybe it was no longer for sale!? Besides that, Black 2.0 was too fluid for me. So I added coal to Black 2.0 to see if it became darker, and … yep!

Black2 versus coal - AnV

So I emailed to Semple to ask / beg if he continued to sell Super Base. And to report that his paint is even more black when you add coal to it. As I said, it’s the intention that any artist (except heWho…) has acces to a really black paint, so knowledge is there to share.

I got an enthusiastic mail back from a coworker, asking if they can use my photos and results, that they’ve been helping with a potential Black3 (Hurray!!). And if I had anything I’ve made with them?
Um, that’s for later, in part 2 ;-).

Update: you can read part 2 here

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