This is because many of the starter pastel sets are heavy in the middle value range. They may have a few dark colors and a few light colors and always a black and a white. When it comes time to add to the collection, students will add darks but the lights are often overlooked.
I need my lights! You can't paint clouds or Queen Annes Lace or Snow without very light value pastels. And white is not an option for me. I rarely use a pure white pastel in my paintings. So what should you look for in a light pastel?
|The selection of Light Value Pastels used in this painting (this isn't my whole light collection)|
The subtle touch of color in these lights makes a huge difference in a painting. Pure white is a cool light and sometimes a bit of warmth is need in light areas of a painting. I will occasionally use a bit of pure white but always in conjunction with a more colorful light.
|detail showing the variety of lights|
Sometimes we are afraid to use very light value pastels. Maybe it will be chalky or pasty looking? So we don't go quite light enough. A colorful light used in the right spot can make the painting.
If you have trouble choosing light enough lights when painting try this tip:
Pick up a pure white pastel and hold it over your pastels as you look through them looking for the correct light. Use this white to compare how light your choices are. You can also squint as you look at your pastels and the Super Lights should jump right out at you.
My favorite Light value pastels are both Terry Ludwigs and Diane Townsend Soft form pastels. I usually just order them open stock. I don't have any particular number, I just look online and order what I think might work.
About today's painting: This painting is done on a home made surface which is Gator foam with a pumice surface tinted red-purple. This is the texture you see. If you want to paint snow and haven't given my Winter demo a try, check it out in my Etsy shop, link on the right.