|'Lap Warmer' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
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Layering pastels is like a fine wine.
Layering makes a painting lively and complex. Consider these two words we use to describe wine (from Sunset magazine)
COMPLEXITY. A complex wine has multiple layers of flavors and aromas. Each sip reveals something you didn't notice before. Complex wines are more fascinating than their opposites ― simple wines.
FRESHNESS. A wine that tastes clean and lively is often described as fresh, a sense that often stems from its natural acidity. A wine with too little acidity frequently tastes bland and dull, or flabby.
We can have a simple, bland and dull painting or we can have a fresh, lively and complex painting. It has a lot to do with the way we layer our colors.
|single color wine vs. complex wine|
How does layering pastels compare to wine? Consider the illustration above. In the glass of wine on the left I used one layer of pastel. It was a dark wine so I used black. I could have used dark red or dark blue. The important thing is that I have only used one layer of dark pastel. Dull, flat and boring!
In the glass on the right I used four layers of dark pastels, dark blue, green, dark purple and dark red. I layer them lightly and they mix and mingle and blend together. Click on the photo to enlarge and see the subtleties of the colors.
The glass on the right has more liveliness, complexity and interest. This is what I try to do when I layer my pastels. If I am building up an area....whether it is dark , middle, or light value.....I don't use just ONE pastel. I layer several pastels that are all the same value. This creates a much more interesting painting.
So next time you are painting....remember that glass of wine. Which would you rather drink?