Last time, I shared my love of black velvet. The work of Odilon Redon, Lee Bontecou, and others inspires me, and my love of velvety, dark blacks emerges in my own work in various ways.
I love to take along my Lyra 9B water-soluble graphite crayon when I go out into the field. Applied dry, it give the sheen of graphite that we know and love from our first grade pencils. Add water with a small brush, and magic happens! You get the most luscious, velvety matte blacks! Yum!! Kroma and Opus now carry a similar product shaped like tailor's chalk that makes a beautiful wide mark.
The Black Pool drawing series (recently at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island) use these and every other black I have in the studio: gesso, India ink, soluble oil crayons, lthograph crayon, acrylic ink, ... (you get the idea).
I also love a black gesso ground, seen here in Shaman's Cave. It is so freeing to take a failed painting, or one I'm just bored with, and paint over it with broad strokes of black gesso to create a new start!