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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tips for Using A Limited Pastel Palette

'Autumn Splendour'     2.5x 3.5     pastel  
available for $18 with shipping click here

'Nantucket Dunes'     2.5x3.5      pastel

'Crossing the Meadow'      2.5 x 3.5      pastel

You really can paint just about anything with a limited palette!  In my post yesterday I shared a recommendation for a pastel set that is great for travel or painting on the go. I talked about the benefits of this little set of pastels. You can read my post HERE

Now I'd like to share some tips for using this limited collection of pastels. I always love a challenge so I decided to paint a few small pastels to see how well these pastels worked for me. I worked small on Uart paper 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  I was looking at three of my recent oil paintings for inspiration. Overall I am pleased with the flexibility of this set. Here are some tips:

Using the Holbein Stephanie Birdsall set of Pastels
  • You are not limited to the colors of the actual sticks of pastels. You can layer and blend them to make new colors.  It works best if you put down the darkest colors first. You need to use a light touch. 
  • Think of the sticks of color like tubes of paint. If you have experience mixing paint just think of what colors you need to mix to get the color you want.  For example if you want a blue-green for distant foliage, you won't find it in this set but all you need to do is put down a blue and layer some green. The two will optically blend to produce the Blue-green.
  • Be careful not to over-blend. This leads to muddy color. A quick light layer is best. Allowing the color underneath to show will produce a cleaner color that will be optically blended. The viewer's eye will see the new color.
  • Be careful when blending complements. They will neutralize one another and produce a gray. This is great for making grayed colors if you need one.
  • Make use of the white  and black pastels to change the value or how light or dark your colors are.  For example. I wanted a pale pink sky but the only pink in the set was a saturated bright pink. I put down this pink and altered it by adding yellow. It was still too dark so I layered some white to make the pale pink I wanted.  I did the same thing with black to make my green a darker value.

Sample Color Mixtures


Donna T said...

Excellent tips and great little minis!

Karen said...

Thanks Donna!

Vanessa said...

This could come in handy when you have to travel for workshops too! I planngin to go to my first workshop ever next June and keep wonderign how/what pastels to take.