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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Can you Ever Have the Right Green Pastel?

'Dance of the Wildflowers'           24x36         pastel     ©Karen Margulis
I don't have the right green!  I hear this all the time.  I have felt this way myself.   I've decided that it isn't how many greens you have...it is more about learning how to use green. 

I don't stress about having the *right* green

Instead I've learned to work with the greens I do have. I find a green in my box that best matches the temperature and value I need. It doesn't have to match exactly the shade of green in my scene or reference photo!
When stocking my pastel box, all I really need are some warm, cool and neutral greens in a dark, middle and light value. I also need a few vibrant artificial looking greens for spices.  Whenever I need to paint something that has a lot of green, I take my greens and line them up from dark to light and cool to warm.  This helps me see what I have and to use the right temperature and values in my painting. For me it is easier to work with the greens when I see them all together.  It also is very helpful way analyze the greens you have to make sure there is a balance of warm, cool and neutrals and lights, middle and dark values.

 This system of pulling out my greens and lining them up has worked for me. I am usually able to find a green that does what I need.  I now have some more greens to add from my recent pastel acquisition.  I got a wonderful set of Terry Ludwig greens. It is a set of 30  Assorted Greens.

watercolor underpainting 

Terry Ludwig Assorted Greens
This set of assorted greens is the perfect balance of warm and cool greens with some darks, lights and neutrals.  I will be leaving these greens in the box and taking them out when I know I have a lot of greens to deal with. I don't ever remember seeing this set and it isn't available on Terry's website. You can get a set of 30 warm, cool or neutral greens or a set of 90 greens. But this set seems to be a mix.  This set was purchased by the artist in 2008 so perhaps it isn't sold anymore.  If you find it let me know and I will post the information here.

I'm sure that even with all of the news greens I've acquired I might feel that I am  lacking the right green for something. I won't worry though. I will just find something close....the right value and temperature and it will be fine!

Note to beginners:  practice discriminating between warm greens, cool green and neutral greens. Practice separating greens by value and temperature. Developing a discriminating eye will help you more than adding more and more greens to your collection. Too many greens can be overwhelming!


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, I love 'Dance of the Wildflowers', It's very soft and dreamy and I like the greens you used!

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, great post as usual :) but it brought up a dilemma for me, as I feel temperature blind when looking at all of my pastels. Is there a tip for distinguishing if a color is more cool or warm? I feel like I'm just guessing most of the time.

Thanks so much for creating such a helpful blog!

:) Riley