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Saturday, March 08, 2014

How to Avoid the Long Lost Pastel Syndrome

'Spring Comes to the Mountains'            5.5 x 7.5         pastel on Pastelmat        ©Karen Margulis
 They are the illusive ones.  I would love to replace them but I don't remember the details....a warm peach, a medium mauve and a distant mountain blue. These three colors remain a mystery.  The mauve and blue are long gone. As the peach dwindles down to an ever smaller nub I continue my search. I find pastels that are close....but they are still not my long lost friends.

Perhaps if I had made color swatches or charts of each new pastel I acquired I might have better luck funding a replacement.  But I didn't always take time to make charts and the ones I made I can't find.  Lesson learned.

Making a Color Chart
When my latest set arrived I was happy to see a blank color chart inside the box. I got a great deal on this set of Great American Plein air set of 60 half sticks. I was anxious to try them but I made myself wait until I had a chance to fill in the color chart. The chart is now safely kept on my pastel shelf. And I was thrilled to discover some very close matches for my illusive colors! So at least now I will be able to replace them when needed.

I don't usually worry so much about matching exact colors. So I never really saw the need for a color chart.  I was happy to find something close. If I was low on a color I just asked myself what it was close to....was it warm or cool? Was it dark, medium or light? Intense or greyed?  This system works pretty well and it kept my palette from always looking the exact same.  

This approach is still the best way to replace pastels for me.  But sometimes we just have certain colors that we really love.  There may be colors that are close....but we still feel we need the exact match. Taking the time to make a color chart is worth the effort to help you avoid the frustration of a search for a long lost favorite!

'Down by the River'          5x7         pastel on Uart
click here to purchase $45
Both of today's paintings are done with this new set of pastels with no underpaintings.


Denise Rose said...

I made color charts for all my new pastel sets. Glad to hear it wasn't a waste of time!

Sandi G said...

I have never made a color chart ..thought about it , then I wondered ...if I don't have a preprinted paper,what should I put it on ?! A cheap piece of Canson or a white colorfix ,definitely not $ Wallis.
Love your blog Karen.

Necie said...

Dakota Pastels has MANUFACTURERS PRINTED COLOR CHARTS, DAKOTA HANDMADE COLOR CHARTS, BLANK COLOR CHARTS. I have the BLANK COLOR CHARTS so that I can add the colors I have as I add the to my collection. It came with glassine to place between each page.If you are it familiar with that company it is http://www.dakotapastels.com.

Nan said...

I learned to make color swatches after I lost a deep mauve and deep blue that I blended together for my black. Still searching for those colors but hopefully it won't happen again.