|'Morning Study.Winter' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
available by Daily Paintworks auction this week bid here
It's true, having a huge number of pastels won't make you a better painter. It is knowing how to use what you have that will help you make better paintings. The mistake many of us make is to think of our entire box/collection of pastels as our palette for a paintings. We end up using too many colors and our paintings have no color harmony. I have two suggestions to help you avoid color chaos.
- Decide on your color palette before each painting. That means thinking about the colors you will use and physically pulling them out of the box an putting them in a separate tray. I use a butcher tray but anything that holds the pastels and keeps them from rolling off the table will work. I start by choosing a few colors in a dark, medium and light value and then add any other color I think I might need for a specific element in the painting. Doing this has saved me form wanting to use every color in my entire box! I wrote a detailed post about my method here:http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/2012/03/great-studio-tool-for-better-color.html
|Great American Pastels Richard McKinley set|
- Try working with a limited palette chosen by another artist. There are 2 ways to do this. If you decide to purchase a set of pastels that were chosen by an artist such as the Richard McKinley set or my other favorite, Terry Ludwig's Arid Landscape set ...keep these pastels separate. I put mine in cigar boxes and label them. Challenge yourself to do some paintings using only these colors. When I am feeling blocked, I will take out one of these boxes for a challenge. If you don't have a big selection of pastels you will probably want to put them into your working box of pastels but at least try the limited palette challenge before you break up the set.
- Another way to do this limited palette challenge is to look at the work of an artist you admire and pull some pastels to make up their palette. Now paint with these colors.
Today's painting is a quick study done with the Richard McKinley set. I plan on doing more. I love this palette!