So today in the studio we're going to be working on a very specific paint formulated by Ad Reinhardt. Now as you can probably see there's nothing exotic on the table, but there are a couple of very specific materials that you need for this week. Now first of all you must work in oil paint for this week. Really, to do this in acrylic is not going to fly, and you'll see why in a moment. So four different pigments that you need in artist quality tubes, preferably artist quality, if you have student quality, it's okay. This is Alizarin crimson, which is going to be our red, it's a cool red. This is ultramarine blue, which will be our blue. By the way, you can substitute cobalt blue if you want, Reinhardt did occasionally as well. And viridian is our green. And then finally, our black is going to be Mars Black, and this is quite important. Don't substitute a bone black for this, since the very warm quality of this Mars Black is going to be essential to create in a palette what we're about to do. Reinhardt's late black paintings among other things are amazing because of the very, very matte quality of paint that he was able to achieve. Now you may have heard a way to matte out your paint is to withdraw medium from it. Now, one way to do this would be to pile on some pigments, some raw powder and add just a little bit of medium to it and grind, and grind, and grind. And you could get that pigment to binder ratio so that the pigment would dry quite matte. Reinhardt did not do that because it was also very important for him to have a very even quality in the paint film which is to say, he didn't want some areas of the paint to be more pigment rich than others. And if you're working in that paint by hand, invariably you're going to have some parts that are more pigment rich than others. We're people, we make mistakes. It's very hard to do these machine quality precise techniques on a palette. So what Reinhardt does is he starts with that machine quality perfectly dispersed paint. Which is a function of big industry, in this case, Walter Rowney or Grumbacher, German company or Gamblin, an American company, very democratic here. Essentially, they have huge, huge paint milling devices that can run for months if need be to have a very, very uniform of dispersion of that pigment. And that is the reason we are starting with paint and not just pure pigment. And that will make more sense in a moment as well. So back in the Impressionist days, people like Camille Pissarro would attempt to get a matte quality in their paint, through kind of a similar idea. They would try to take the binder out of the paint. And the way they would do that is quite simple. They'd do something like this and then they'd go take a cigarette break or an absinthe break, or whatever they're going to break on and what's happening right now is exactly that. The binder of this paint is slowly getting wicked into this brown paper. They used newspaper or blotter paper which is kind of a waste of money, but is going to have the same effect. And even in this your right side of this little blob of paint, you can already see that, that paint appears matte. Now it's not dry, but it's matte, because so much of that glossy medium, that wet medium has already been absorbed into the paper over here. Well, over here is a big blob of paint, so it's still looking quite rich and luscious. But if I were to leave this for an hour, let's say and came back, this would be a quite matte handling paint, because I've taken so much binder out of it. But Reinhardt wanted to go further than that, he wanted to go a lot further than that. So, he did something a little bit like this. He would take three jars. Red, green and blue. The primary colors in other words and as you know, he's trying to pump up that value so dark, so low value, in other words, to make, essentially, chromatic blacks, the deepest primary colors possible. So, what he would do is add, actually I'll use this. Just a little bit of that primary color from the tube. So something like that, the size of a, well, in this case, a dime. And these ratios are not scientific, so don't worry too much. Gone. And to that he would add 10, 15, 20, 25 times as much Mars Black. Now clearly, the amount of redness, in other words, the amount of chroma in the resulting paint is a function of the ratio of Alizarin to Mars Black. So, what I did could be a starting point. If I didn't like it, if it was too red, I could add more black and vice versa. Now what he does is to add solvent and a lot of solvent. He would use turpentine, you maybe more likely are using mineral spirits, odorless mineral spirits. Zero toxicity kind of stuff. And what I'm doing is to fill that jar. So now, I have two colors of paint from the tube and a whole lot of solvent. Important that you have very tight fitting jars. Pickle jars, jam jars, paint jars, so that you can really close this because, our job now is to get that paint very evenly dissolved. So to help you, you want to use a knife or a chopstick or something and really get in there and mash up that bit of paint from the tube and really get it dissolved into that solvent layer of all that mineral spirits or turpentine. Mash it against the wall, against the bottom. In other words, if there's still a lump there, you're not doing a very great job. So, that kind of thing is more or less sufficient. And you'll see on my knife that it's a little bit lumpy still. I can probably do a bit better of a job. But you'll see where we're headed in a moment here. I'm then going to replace that lid very, very tight, and now, I'm going to shake the hell out of it. And this is a good time for you at home to take a cigarette break, because I'm going to be here for a while. You really need to shake these colors for at least a minute each. And really, the more the better. So if you want to get some exercise, do some calisthenics, shake some paint for five minutes, ten minutes, something like that. Really, what we're doing is taking that oil paint and really evenly dissolving it, evenly distributing it in that solvent phase. All right, in the interest of your boredom, let's say that was a minute, even though we're fudging it a little bit. I'm then going to open that and what I have is now something that is quite even and I can see it should be more even since I see a little bit of variation. You can probably even see that at the side of the jar right here. So, dark streaking but this one may need some more work. Fortunately, just like on the cooking shows, I've done another one. And after you have shaken them out you let it sit. Let it sit for a week and this is the reason why I'm suggesting that you start your Reinhardt paint preparation well before the week where we actually cover his work. Because it's going to take a couple iterations, a couple weeks for this paint to be prepared. Now because this has been sitting around for awhile, all that pigment has settled to the bottom of this jar. All that solvent has risen to the top. And what we've done, because this was so evenly distributed, is we've taken the linseed oil, the binder and a lot of it is now up on the solvent phase with the mineral spirits rather than down with this pigment sludge at the bottom. What we'll do now is hopefully not make a mess, but very carefully and I'll use chopstick or a palette knife as kind of a guide is to pour off that solvent phase. And what you can see is, I'm making a mess, is that it's relatively clear. It has a bit of pigment in there, but it certainly is not opaque. It's not a dark black, and I don't want to go to fast here because when I start seeing, now I'm starting to see those black drops. That tells me that I'm getting to the paint. And I'm going to stop there. What I have now is kind of a sludge, a slurry, if you will. The consistency of, I don't know, butter if you leave it out on a hot day, that kind of thing. Now I've done this once, I've done this medium extraction, if you will, once. What Reinhardt would do, because he did this for roughly seven years, is, by feel, he would test out the consistency of that paint, and it feels amazing. This is probably the most sensuous quality of paint you'll ever encounter. Because it has almost no binder in it. What I'm doing is I'm painting with pure pigment ever so slightly, a tiny bit of binder and then plenty of that solvent, that mineral spirits which allows me to have an incredible brushability, and incredible quickness in the paint application. So let's say that this is about right. I can tell you that to get that really, really matte, you need to repeat that procedure, probably three times. But one thing you're noticing already, is that this area of paint that I've painted out is already getting quite matte in the edges. And there's a little halo of medium and solvent kind of wicking out into the brown paper around it. I think you can see what I'm referring to here. And again, what's happening is that even that little bit of medium that's left in this paint, even that is now getting wicked into the brown paper and guess what? The same thing is going to happen when we work on canvas. Now, this is why I was kind of annoying, and insisted that you spend money on at least one brush, and it's a flat, the size, this is about the size that Reinhardt used, about two inches wide, two and a half, but what's critical is that it comes to a very, very sharp line. You can find filberts at an angle, that's really not going to do it for this, there are also rounds. Again, it's really not going to do it and you don't want to buy a crappy brush that's going to lose bristles, because then this flat line won't last very long on your brush. So this is the time to whip out that 15, 20, $30, $85 perhaps brush. The reason why is we're going to paint very sharp lines with it. What I've done is to take a square canvas and this is the format that Reinhardt ended up on. By the way, his were 60 by 60 inches square, this one is 14 by 14. And to divide the canvas into nine sections. Which is to say, a three by three grid of equal proportions. And I've done that in pencil and you can notice that I've primed this canvas. This is one you could prime it twice, if you wanted too. If you really wanted to get rid of that canvas texture, this is one where you can sand away the grit of the warp and the weft of the canvas if you like. My gut feeling is that Reinhardt probably did that, but nobody really knows. So what I'm going to do at this point is to decide on the composition and what Reinhardt would do is to work with a single color in the four corners of the canvas. A second color, in the middle of the top and the middle of the bottom. And a third color across the center. Which one was which changed and that's why all of these so-called interchangeable black paintings are actually not the same at all. But in this case you want to choose, okay, the four corners are green. These ones are red, blue across the center, for example, or some variation on those ideas. What I'm going to do now is just to demonstrate the painting of one square and this is the hardest painting that you'll ever do in this class for sure, perhaps the hardest technique that you'll ever encounter period. It's a technique that Reinhardt painted in for years, and years, and years, and got exquisite at it. The point of this exercise is not to make a masterpiece, not to make an immaculate Reinhardt surface. If you do, congratulations. It took me a long time to even get close to it. But I think even if you do a poor job which you might, don't worry about it, but take that as a way to appreciate Reinhardt's skill in making such an incredibly quiet matte and alloverly even surface. So what we'll do is to wet the brush. You don't want a lot of paint. In fact, you want a very small amount of paint. Because we're going to be depositing a very, very thin paint fill. So certainly, the last thing you do with your brush is to clean it on the edges of your jar. The name of the game is to be accurate and very, very fast. Because as you saw, the paint film is already becoming matte on this paper. The same thing is going to happen on canvas which means I can't rework this square for more than a minute, really. Because then you're going to start seeing tracks, you're going to start leaving brush strokes. And as you know, Reinhardt was anathema to them. So what I'm going to do is start working very quickly from the edges and I'm going to get my brush a little bit more workable, and then really try to nail that line working all the way up. Now Reinhardt was not totally precise. This kind of thing is fine by the way, no masking tape in other words. But get very very close to that line, and do the line first, since they're the hardest to do. The clock is ticking and your challenge now is to spread the remaining pigment very, very evenly, very quickly. And you don't want to see any brush strokes. And you don't want to see any white spots of ground peeking through. Done. You really gotta get out of dodge right then. By the way, the sides of Reinhardt paintings are always painted as well. So after the clock has stopped ticking, Or at least slow down a bit, let's refine these edges without going onto the surface and messing that up. And what we're left with here is one corner and one layer. And in this light as it's drying, you can start to see a couple tracks that I've invariably left. And I'm hoping that in shifting that light around, you can start to see a couple of these brushstrokes in this direction. However, the paint is still wet and they will fade away, and become increasingly difficult to find, as this dries and as we build this up layer after layer after layer. Sometimes, this would be done in two takes. Sometimes in eight takes and all numbers in between. Essentially, I would continue to layer this corner until I have something I'm satisfied with. Something very, very all over, something very even and something extraordinarily matte. When it dries by the way this paint sort of dries twice. Well, what the hell am I talking about? The first drying between quotes now is this, when it becomes kind of matte looking. But if I mush that around, it ain't dry. So it appears dry but it's not there yet because it's linseed oil, still there's a little bit of binder in there. And of course, that linseed oil is going to take a week or two to dry thoroughly. So I don't want to over paint this square again until that second drying, the true drying is complete and that's roughly two weeks or something on the order of that. Now if I were going to complete this painting as you will, I would continue working with that green and finish off those four corners. Perhaps, I do red in the two center boxes and then pull the blue, all the way across that center band giving me a composition in this direction, the center band will be there. So, really understanding that so much of Reinhardt's time is spent working on preparing his paints. The execution becomes almost this meditative idea, there's nothing gestural, there's nothing expressive about painting this way, it's almost more of like an experiment, or something like that. It's a very quiet type of painting. And one that I think you'll find very, very challenging but very rewarding if you find the time to really turn this into a practice. And realize that how I'm painting right now, flat is essential because you can imagine if a drip happened and ran down on an easel or something, well, that suddenly becomes a very, very loud gestural type mark on what should be a very, very quiet painting. So, the painting materials and techniques of Ad Reinhardt late black paintings roughly 1958 to 1967.