A Perilous Climb

A Perilous Climb

Oil on linen, 5″ x 7″

This is the latest in a series of black and white mountain paintings I’ve been working on recently, each one painted with a different kind of black. For this one I used Davy’s Gray Deep (PBk19, Williamsburg), which is made from powdered slate. It’s very transparent and not quite dark enough to be called black. I really like it for its unique working properties. Although the name “Davy’s gray” is used for a few pigment mixtures by various brands, Williamsburg is the only brand that makes it from just PBk19 alone so theirs handles differently. The white that I used here is a custom one that I made using a blend of titanium and zinc white pigments, linseed and walnut oils, and a generous amount of marble dust. I wasn’t measuring anything as I mulled the paint though so if I wanted to make it again I’d have to just guess.

Originally I painted a basic outline of the mountain with Davy’s gray brushed very thinly on the mountain and slightly thicker for the sky background. The darker areas of the finished painting are made from two layers of the Davy’s gray after the first layer had dried. Transparent paints have a lot of benefits and visual interest, but are sometimes hard to use if you make a mistake because the act of fixing the mistake may harm the transparency and that will change the way it looks. White paint is very opaque, so having to use some of that to fix mistakes or make changes ruined the transparency in a few places.

The other two paintings I made before this weren’t very interesting to look at though, so I probably won’t bother uploading them.

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