I have spent most of my painting life believing that I need to avoid using black, that blacks should be optically mixed from other colors. It has been a great excercise, but lately I've come to realize that something has been missing from my palette, and have slowly starting introducing black back.
So, having some unexpected nice winter weather, I decided to take advantage by making a few different varieties of black pigments. Both very simple to make, and obviously the oldest mankind has used.
At the art store, Bone Black is usually called 'Ivory Black', because in the past it was often made from Ivory. I've come to like this color, it's a lot cooler than I imagined, almost replaces blue, especially in flesh tones.
Lamp Black, is the build up of carbon on lamps, or especially on my propane burner when I'm brewing beer. To me, a very strong pigment, I have trouble working with this one, but it is much deeper and darker when that is called for.
So, I have learned that black is a staple on the palette for a reason, and I shouldn't resist such things on principle alone.