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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Warm or Cool? Which Green Pastels Do We Need?

'Into the Cool Meadow'             11x14             pastel         ©Karen Margulis
 The new box of pastels arrived just on time.  I had trouble deciding what to pick with my Terry Ludwig award certificate. I wanted them all.  I finally decided on the set of Cool Greens.  I don't really know why other than I liked them and I can always use greens.  Once I decided to get more greens it was hard to decide which set.   Did I want the set of 30 Warm Greens or how about the 30 Neutral Greens?  Do I need more cool greens?

I looked over my big box and decided I was low in the cool green category.  I was excited to try them out as soon as they arrived!

Terry Ludwig's Cool Greens
Usually when painting a typical landscape I will use a mixture of warm, cool and neutral greens.  Usually I am trying to create the illusion of distance so I use the cooler (bluer) greens in the distance and gradually use warmer (more yellow) greens as I come forward in the painting. I even will line up the greens in my tray so I can better judge how warm or cool they are.

But today I just wanted to use the cool greens. What kind of landscape is mostly cool?  I found the perfect overcast summer landscape in Grand Teton National Park with a foreground full of sage.  Lots of cooler greens here!  I had actually started this painting as a demo and never finished it.

The demo painting...not quite resolved
 I began by spraying the foreground with workable fixative so it would be easier to rework.  I had used some cool greens and some warmer greens in the original painting but I decided to layer some of the new TL's over them. Some were very close to what I had already used.  Where the new set really helped though was with the sage in the foreground. I loved using the blue greens and the minty greens to paint the sage. I also added some Lupines that I saw in the reference photo.

I love this new set!  I know it will be seeing a lot of action!  Now I need to get the warm greens!  And the Neutrals.  If you are trying to put together the right selection of green pastel here are some tips:

  • If it fits your budget you can't go wrong with Terry Ludwig's Full set of greens. I am going at it slowly...getting each set of 30 when I can afford it.
  • Evaluate the greens that you do have. Take them all out and try to separate them into warm, cool and neutral. Do the best you can. It helps you see the temperature when they are all out. Now see where you are lacking. You want a range of values as well as temperature.
  • Don't overlook adding the grayed greens or neutrals. Many beginner sets have very bright artificial looking greens. These are too intense if there is no balance with neutrals.
  • Be sure that you do have a few of these bright, artificial or acid greens....these will be goos for accents or punctuation marks. I refer to these greens as my spices...a little goes a long way!


David King said...

Thanks for the posts about greens Karen. People say I handle green well in my paintings but there's always room for other perspectives and more knowledge. I love green! Just one of many reasons winter is so hard on me. Soon I'll have to paint some "green" paintings in the studio for therapy.

Karen said...

Thanks David! I like green too and we sure do have a lot of green landscapes here in North Georgia!

robertsloan2art said...

In a small set it's possible to mute the bright greens easier than to punch up muted ones. You're right about the accent greens. They tend to show up, if I'm painting a bright green object like a leaf or melon, just at the penumbra between the deep shadow and the light.

I love that sage painting. The lupines were the perfect foreground touch. Violet loves green!

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA said...

Hello Karen..
Wonderful post on greens. Love the painting too.
I love using greens. And, I love Terry Ludwigs pastels which I usually use.
(have so many brands.)

Karen said...

Hi Sandy, Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I appreciate it! I have many pastel brands as well but always find myself reaching for a Terry Ludwig pastel!