black and white paintings forest stream
"Forest Stream” 40” x 40” ink, acrylic, charcoal on unstretched canvas

Black and White Paintings Give Life

Back to Basics: Black and White Paintings

One doesn’t think of landscapes being painted in black and white.  But what I like about painting in black and white is that it is about seeing the true shape of objects.  It seems to reveal more about the landscape than one painted in color.  The observation of things in the

 black and white paintings forest stream
“Forest Stream”
40” x 40”
ink, acrylic, charcoal
on unstretched canvas

photographic terms of the negative and the positive adds up to something different than what we normally see.  The scene becomes more apparent when you see only dark and light.   And it is easier, as a painter, to create balance in the composition of the painting.

Why Black Paint?

With that in mind my recent creative challenge is to use only black paint on a white background.  I have done so because black contains all colors. It is the most elegant and gives a sense of completeness. But it also can be the most intense. Depending on the placement, when black is incorporated into a white field of color it can bring into the space excitement or quietness. It can become aristocratic or base. Black paint is alive and gives life to the surrounding shapes and colors.

And nature seems to be a good place to use only black and white paint.  Landscape painting is what I started painting first.  My goal was to document the scene what I was seeing.  I wanted to capture what it looked like, as best I could.  But after doing a number of landscape paintings I felt a need to connect with the environment more.  So the paintings changed as I responded with nature.  The work  became more of a relationship with the scene.  With that the images became more raw and uninhibited – and for me, gave the experience a second life through painting that experience.  The black and white paintings seems to bring the painting back to the basic and these negative and positive, add up to something bigger.