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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

What Can You Do with a Pearlescent Pastel?


'Jewel of the Tropics'                6x8             pastel           ©Karen Margulis
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I didn't expect it. But in the end I loved it.  That little piece of green pastel that somehow sneaks into my palette every once in awhile.  It is a deceiving little guy.  At a quick glance it looks like a nice mid value warm green. It is perfect for foliage.   As soon as it is applied to paper it's true nature is revealed.

It shimmers!  It is a like a gem. It is a pearlescent  pastel and it makes me smile!


a tiny piece of pearlescent pastel from Great American Artworks

As I layer this soft buttery piece of pastel it leaves behind a subtle shimmer.  The effect is more pronounced when the light hits the painting.  The camera seems to intensify the effect. It is actually more subtle in real life.

I love this little green pastel but it has to be used in small amounts. Like too much jewelry or cologne....a little goes a long way and too much can be overwhelming.  Here is a suggestion for using pearlescent pastels:

  • It is the element of surprise that makes a touch of shimmer special.  Rather than using a whole set of pearlescent colors in a single painting, break the pastels into smaller pieces. Now plant these pieces in your pastel box in the correct value and color area.  The next time you reach for a certain color and value you may end up with a little gem. It will add a nice touch of shimmer just where you need it!




Several pastel manufacturers make pearlescent or iridescent pastels including Sennelier, Diane Townsend and Great American Artworks. I have them all!  The green in the painting is a Great American. See the set on Dakotapastels.com. link here.

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