Nothing

Part of a strange group of internet artists, gathering in the chasms of hidden invite-only discord servers, our protagonist received a challenge. He was to create “Nothing”.

Thinking long and hard, the decision was made to paint a black hole using the medium this unlikely hero knew best: Water colors. From the vast hoard of paints, a work shall be created by slathering pigments on paper in a single go and it has to be as black as possible. But what black is the best black, the deepest, the richest, the vacuumest, the most Nothing?

This comparison is not fair, he knew, not all paper is created equal and watercolor is well known for avoiding real black blacks, seeing it relies on opaqueness for light and dark to be at play. What may be a perfect dark shadow in a landscape will turn out to be a dull blue, what shows as raven black hair is in honesty and isolation a purple.

And then there is the artificers themselves, selling this adventurer whatever wares they can. No matter the darkness promised, he was disappointed and elated alike upon discovering the real hue.

These here are his attempts at making the most of Nothing.

Hematite

At first, there was the disappointment named Hematite genuine. Not to much time was spend here, either it needs more attempts, different paper or more paint in general, the novelty of painting with ground up gemstone did not hold up. It would be amazing to say “Nothing to see here, move on.” but the only makes it worse.

Moonglow

While it can not be expected of a paint who’s name includes the word “glow” to be very dark, it is applied rather light here on an interesting hot press cotton paper by Daler & Rowney (discontinued now). Using either a cold press paper and more pigment should make it darker and it no matter how one looks at it, the colors are lovely for shadows and night scenes.

Schmincke came out with a line of super granulating colors. This paper is not even that smooth. None of the colors is very black. Glacier Black was the blackest of them and it leans more towards a cool grey. Disappointed, the challenged artist moved on, there has to be better blacks out there that are not Pbk6?

Lunar Blue

Lunar Blue by Daniel Smith is an amazing granulating blue-black, very good for night scenes and so delicious to work with. What this paint needs is an artist that knows how to do skies, clouds and seas. Unfortunately, the artist at work is not that person and the assignment clearly said “Nothing”, not “Sea Skies” so we have to move on, this princess is in another castle.

Shadow Violet

More and more, we reach into the shadows, with Shadow Violet and how much the hero loves what he finds. Out he comes, dripping with shades of purple, blue, red and black. If there was only one color he was ever allowed to use for any shading, this would be it.

Indigo

Now our hero was done, look at this blackness which seems to come from the deepest corners of space itself. The richest of Indigo took all the light, was made so dark that one got some doubt. This is a darkness that is not natural, this is a darkness that must contain…. Lamp Black, also known as PBk6. While mixed with Indanthrone Blue, there must be no PBk6 in this challenge. Too easy and too false. This Nothing is cast aside like it is Something and that is Not Good.

Jane’s Grey

A hero of old, her travels in the lands of color and mixing well known and documented, created this mix for easy use. Nothing but Ultramarine and Burned Sienna in equal quantities leaves us with a cool grey that is versatile for shadows, darkening in a natural way and by itself to give feel to a dark object which is illuminated by the light of the sun.

The hero said to himself, I am done, here is the most absent kind of “Nothing” I can do, I need to go home and rest. Submit my Jane’s Grey and hope for the best.

Upon packing his bags, mounting his sable horse and making himself ready to leave, a single tube of paint fell out of his pack. As in slow motion it tumbled down, on the rock and in the dust. The label turned upwards read “Sodalite”. He frowned, how did that get in his bags? Faint memories of the mentions of Sodalite bubbled up, from the depths of his tired mind came the words of Steve Mitchell who named Sodalite as one of his favorite colors ever.

“I must have bought that once and forgot about it, my palette was full after all.” He mused. And then his eyes opened for the truth.

Sodalite Genuine

His best Nothing was here.