My love of black & white goes back to growing up with black and white movies. The shadows, the lights and darks, the gray tones and the moods of these movies were fascinating to see and feel in the darkness of the theater. Without me realizing the dye had been cast and I was to become an artist. Here on this site is an assembly of past and present paintings all black & white. To start, I make my blacks sometimes using up to 6 different oil colors that when mixed together produce an amazing amount of different blacks. I stopped counting how many a long time ago.
Now it gets a little crazy and I am telling you the truth. Some time ago an artist who had an adjoining studio to mine knew of my madness for mixing colors to see just how far I could stretch or thin a color and still keep the integrity of tone. One day she walks into my studio handing me a large double plastic bag of a very special dry pigment, about a pound of it. Opening the bag to pear inside to see what seemed to be swirling sparkling smoke. I was looking into magic. She said “move very slowly in getting it out of the bag for the slightest of movement and it floats into the air like dust and will cover everything as it is lighter than talcum powder”. She said, close all the windows and fans in the studio so there is no breeze of any kind. I thanked her, she smiled back and said goodbye. The next day when I arrived at my studio and looked in on her she was gone, I never saw or heard from her again. It has been 15 years since I was handed this magical powder and have barely made a dent in the amount used with my black and white oil pigments. A mask is worn when carefully retrieving the smallest amount and gently put on my palette, a little too fast and it disperses over everything, even with all of this care when the bag is closed and my mask is removed I have pigment glistening all over my hands and face. If I were to have another ten lifetimes I would still have more then enough in my guarded “bag of tricks”.
So you ask, why do I go through all this? I do it for the endless shades of grays I seek in painting my black & whites. I do it for the magic that takes place; I do it for my passion.