The Oil Paint Website


Oil Paints Black

How to mix oil paints to make black paint?
Artists' oil paints blacks are manufactured from a number of sources including:
  • carbon
  • charred vines and vegetable matter,
  • charcoal,
  • charred animal bones

Because there are so many materials that you can mix to make black oil paints, an oil paint artist cannot think that an oil paint black is black but that each oil paint black is different and each one mixes with white oil paint or other oil paint colors to make unique colors. The viscosity and drying rate of each of the oil paint black color is also different due to individual makeup of each color.

How to test oil paints black?

Oil paint artists need to test each oil paint black color so that they can place the color into their own category of warm or cool or strong or weak color as well as hiding power. Hiding power is the ability of the oil paint color to cover other colors when painted over them in a thin coat. To test the oil paints black color, do the following.

  • Place a small amount of each type of oil paint black into a larger amount of Cadmium Yellow Light.
  • Notice the different greens that result with each black oil paint.

Repeat the same test for oil paints black colors with Lemon Yellow instead of Cadmium Yellow Light. Record the results.

Then use the oil paint color Titanium White. You will notice the subtle differences in the oil paints blacks immediately.

What oil paint blacks are available?

It is important to test each oil paint black before using it because an oil paint artist needs to select the right oil paint color for the right task. Most oil paint manufactures offer only:

  • Lamp Black
  • Ivory Black (most common oil paints black)
  • Mars Black
  • (occasionally) a different oil paint black with a 'house' brand name