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Friday, January 18, 2013

Exploring Hot Pastels...Review of Diane Townsend Hot Colors

'Here Comes the Sun'          8x10           pastel      ©Karen Margulis   $75 Etsy Shop
It has been cold, damp, dark and dreary here in Georgia.  I am dreaming of warmth and sunshine.  After five days of rain I would like a little heat in the studio.  Today I saw my box of Diane Townsend Hot set of pastels on the shelf and thought they would be just the thing to play around with.

I always enjoy doing a red or hot pink underpainting for a landscape filled with green.  I looked at this set and all of the wonderful reds and oranges and knew they would make a great underpainting choice. So I went through my pile of photos and found  a field of sunflowers.  Perfect!  Lots of green and a sunny reminder of summer.  So how did these pastels perform?

Underpainting using Diane Townsend Hot Colors pastels

I chose a paper that I made myself by applying clear gesso on a piece of watercolor paper. I wanted to have some texture and a bit of an irregular surface.  I began with a quick sketch of the basics shapes to give me an idea of the composition.  I applied several of the Hot pastel colors with the darker oranges in the dark areas and lighter hot pinks in the mountain and sky. I put in some lighter oranges in the areas where I wanted flowers.  I then rubbed the pastel into the surface with a piece of pipe foam insulation.

I am left with a nice soft underpainting that will work well with all of the greens and blues  I will be using. Not only does using the complements in the underpainting help make the greens and blues more exciting, these intense warm colors add a feeling a warmth and sunshine to the painting.

Diane Townsend Soft Form Pastel 'Hot' colors
 So how did I like the Diane Townsends?  I am a big fan!  They have become one of my favorite pastels along with my Terry Ludwigs.  These are the soft form pastels. Read what Diane has to say about them on her website  http://www.townsendpastels.com/soft-form.html


  • They are just the right consistency for covering large areas such as under paintings. I love them for skies!  They aren't too hard and they aren't too soft and crumbly.
  • They have some pumice in them so are a bit gritty.  I love the feel of this though and the scratchy sound they make on the paper. This does help them cover the paper and will even open up the tooth of a non sanded paper to make layering easier.
  • I am a big fan of the light values. They are my 'go to' pastels for sans and clouds but I really enjoyed using the Hot colors. They are richly pigmented  and include some unusual colors such as the fluorescent pinks and oranges. I have an idea for another painting with these yummy colors!
If you think you might like to give these pastels a try, Dakota Pastels has them on sale! http://www.dakotapastels.com/pages/softpastels-townsendsoft.aspx



4 comments:

Casey Klahn said...

Wonderful pastel, and very well blogged.

Karen said...

Thank you Casey. I appreciate your feedback!

Teri said...

Karen, really good post. I always get so excited about your pastel demos and work, but then turn around and realize I don't have many pastels. I paint mostly in oils. So my goal is to do more pastel paintings when I get back to my studio, sometime this spring. (I am stationed in Wyoming at the present with my husband while he works a project here.) Thanks for always seeming to have lots of energy and motivation. You are an inspiration to me.
Cheers!

pattisjarrett said...

"Here Comes the Sun" is nice to see during these dreary days. Love the richness of color in these, thanks for the link.