I graduated in May 2011 with a B.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in painting. The last three years in college I was not allowed to use the color black in my paintings. Even though, I tried to be sneaky and put it on my palette but, my Professor Eric Mantle-my mentor always caught me at it because you could see the color black being used on the canvas. The reason to not use the color black was to learn colors and mixing colors without losing the color completely. It was a very hard lesson to learn not use the color black. It taught me a lot about color and the color wheel. For instance, how would you darken colors without using black? First, Colors are defined as hues or pigments, hues are warm/cold colors (usually mixed colors) and pigments are the pure color. Primary colors are Red, yellow, and Blue. Now, back to not using black…I consider black not to be a color because black can easily cancel out any color. So, let’s say you want to darken a red color without using black, what color would you use? You can use green or blue because according to the color wheel red and green are complementary to each other (straight line across the chart) and the color blue is a triad color (triangle on chart). I know it can be very confusing at times studying the color wheel, but if you paint with color like I do and love mixing and learning color, it’s amazing what wonderful colors you can create and NOT use the color black at all. So, how would darken a lighter color, for instance yellow? You could use red, then it will turn orange then add blue…now brown is a color so, you could add brown to yellow to give it a darken hue. To really learn about color is to study the color wheel and play with the colors on your palette. Be careful when using oil paints because too much mixing can easily turn your colors to a nasty color brown. I have to say that I continue to NOT use the color black in my paintings, or I try not to. I do like using the color black on some paintings, it depends on my vision. For a helpful tool, make templates or squares of colors and write on the back (like flash cards) the colors you used to make that color. It does help create those colors over and over again and to learn the color wheel. I can say that I am a color guru now, because I can look at a color and know exactly what colors were used to make that color. Play with color! Good Luck! Have fun with it!