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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Quickly Tone a Support for Pastel Painting

'In the Half-Light of Dusk'        11x15            pastel            ©Karen Margulis
painting available $165 click here to purchase
Easy. Permanent. No Fumes. As soon as I read the label on the bottle of spray dye I knew it was worth an experiment. The bottle was given to me by a student awhile ago but I had put it away and forgotten about it. It is meant to be used for tie dye or dying fabric. My student was cleaning out her art supplies and thought I could use it. I don't know why I waited so long to give it a try!  What a quick and easy way to tone surfaces for painting.

I already had an idea for a painting and my support was on the easel. I was using a piece of mat board coated with clear gesso for some tooth. The surface was too white for my subject so I knew I needed to either tone the board or do some kind of underpainitng.

I was feeling lazy. A good enough reason to simply tone the board. I knew my painting was going to be mostly cool....the coolness of dusk at the edge of the forest. There would be lots of cool blue sage and dark cool pines. I decided that a red purple tone would work well with my palette.

Using spray dye to tone my support
The spray dye I had was a nice vibrant red purple. Perfect!  All I did was take off the cap and spray!  I sprayed the dye in the dark areas of the painting and I left the sky white. I loved how the dye left interesting drips and fine droplets. It dried within 5 minutes in front of my fan. It dried quickly and thoroughly. The red purple tone helped pull the painting together as it peeked through my pastel layers.

Now I need to get some more colors! Check out the S.E.I. Tumble Dye page on the SEI website. click here


MarilynW said...

Great idea. I really like it and will try it. I looked at the dyes and didn't see one that color. That is the perfect color for blues and greens which it what I do most. Thanks for sharing. Marilyn Witt

Anonymous said...

Great effect--nice to know.

Paula Campbell said...

Karen, I LOVE this painting! What wonderful colors! What about the tie dye spray being archival or acid free?

BJR said...

Have you ever checked out Lindy's Stamp Gang sprays?? I don't have any, but I've seen them used in art journal's, etc. They are archival, I believe...and they even come in sparkly colors...and also flat one's, with no sparkle. These are called flat fabios. A HUGE choice of colors. When I saw your nifty find, which worked awesome...I thought of the above sprays. They have a website. I continue to learn from you... thanks so much!