So, here is the black dog study promised from yesterday. I am systematically trying to paint my way through fear thresholds. Black dogs are right up there and I will have to do several more studies before I can begin to feel a tiny bit more confident. It is because they are so very difficult to get right. I have had more wipers with black subjects than any other (white subjects are a close second).
The difficulty is how to model the form without the whole thing turning into a pool of sump oil. It is much less tricky in pastel, so I thought about how I would do it in pastel and tried to use a similar technique. Of course, pastels don't mix up together in quite the same - annoying - way as oil paint, but still …
I mixed my darks from pthalo blue and burnt umber with a touch of TOR - transparent oxide red. I did not use tube black apart from his eyeliner, pupils and nostrils. TOR is probably the magic ingredient really: I use the version made by Rembrandt. It stops everything getting very cold and dead. I increased the risk of that outcome by using a manganese blue underpainting, but the light on the dog's face was a very blue light (from the sky above him) and this meant I could rely on the underpainting for some of the translucent light instead of adding more colours to the mix.
I think this is a reasonable start to improving my technique with black subjects, but more work to do!