The Colors of Black - a Portraitby David R. Darrow
8" x 10" (20.3cm x 25.4cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
SOLD
Collection of J. Arce,
Jacksonville, IL – USA

About This Painting

Ever since I was a child, I thought it was odd that they called some people black and others white, red, yellow or brown — okay, I got the “brown” reference, but it seemed to me, at that young age, that we were all some variation of brown, anyway… dark browns, light browns, pinkish browns, yellowish browns, reddish browns…

As an artist I have always been intrigued by the colors I see in a dark-skinned person’s flesh, and enjoy the particular challenge of mixing those colors. Color Theory tells me that, in its most basic elements, color is a combination of the following things: the color of the light landing on an object, the spectrum absorption of the object, and the spectral reflectance of that same object all combined with individual color perception (it’s possible others see the same color differently than I do, which theoretically makes it a different color than I see).

Color Theory says that an orange, for example, has properties that reflect the orange range (red and yellows) of the available light spectrum but absorb all the other colors, and therefore our eyes only pick up the “orange light waves” that are reflected at us.

So, from an observational standpoint, and depending on the environment, some people (their flesh tones) reflect or absorb colors of the spectrum differently than others.

Wen painting this, I observed that there were very few mixtures that included actual white pigment, and many that included blues or purples to balance the golden browns, while much of the other color was absorbed deep into shadow. ◙