Painting on Black

Painting on black canvas is a fun exercise that pushes an artist to try new styles and techniques. The coating on a black canvas is often different, and possibly powdery. The stark contrast between the black background and wet oil paint can make the colors seem luminescent, which may be the desired effect for certain projects. I was happy with how this gorgeous bird turned out on black canvas. He’s called a “Painted Bunting“, and appeared one day out of the blue on our patio. Of course I had to paint him! A glowing vibrant painting effect was perfect to show off his vivid colors.

Painting on black canvas can be a surprising choice for some projects, making old standards fresh and contemporary. “Peaches in a Bowl” has an old school traditional fine arts look to it, with a twist. The glowing colors look almost chalk-like, yet this art was painted with oils. Changing our medium can lead to unexpected outcomes and (perhaps unintentional) renaissance.

This last example, “Miki’s Dragon”, illustrates when the medium is a perfect match for the subject. The project goal was to create a vivid red dragon that personifies the friend I was painting this for. A pediatric ER doctor, she collects dragons and was over the moon to see herself “as a dragon”. The dragon has her purple hair, is holding her initial M, and its tail is the medical symbol, the Caduceus. But, one of the most important elements is what was made possible by painting on black canvas- the fierce quality of the vibrant red, as it honors her strong spirit and captures her bold personality. I painted this art as a thank you gift, and when she looks at it, she is reminded of who she is. 

Oil painting of a red dragon

Experimenting with different mediums can lead to trying new styles and possibly even stumbling upon new methods, ideas, and techniques that will enrich our artistic journey forever. One creative venture leads to another. Do you remember “Eye of the Storm” from my previous blog about Painting Storms? That art was also painted on black canvas and I love the way our planet looks surreal through “glowing” colors. By the way, writing this blog has given me an idea for a future painting on black. This is how it is, when we expand our minds by trying something new… our imaginations are charged up and unstoppable!

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