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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shake Things Up with this Fun Color Exercise

'The View in Yellow'             20 x26             pastel             ©Karen Margulis
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My new motto is "I shall not leave a pastel stick untouched" I will start at Brown and work my way through my box. The brown pastels in my box have been very lonely. They are for the most part pristine and untouched. I rarely (if ever) use brown. Today we got acquainted and it was fun.

Do you have colors you rarely use?  Go look inside you pastel box. Are there any pastel that are still in their wrappers? Any still in one whole piece? Any that look brand new?  Make a note of these colors. Now how about the pastels that are the smallest....the ones you tend to pick up and use in every painting. Make note of these colors. Get to know your color bias and plan to get to know new colors.

I have a fun exercise that will challenge you to try new color palettes!  Read on for more:


A painting by Andree Thobaty inspired my color palette

  • Make yourself comfortable and pull out some art magazines or art books. Browse through them looking ONLY at the colors in the art. 
  • When you find a painting with a color scheme that gets your attention, tear it out or bookmark it. 
  • Once you have a few selected go through them and choose the paintings  that have colors you never use. (think about those untouched colors)
  • Paint: Use the colors in the painting to do your own painting of the subject of your choice. You are only using the magazine reference for the color palette....not the painting subject or style. It is best if you look at the painting and select the pastels (colors) that you see and pull them out of your box.
  • TIP: Choose a subject that is nothing like your reference so you wont be tempted to copy the image. Turning the reference picture upside down will also help.

close up of my marsh
I loved this exercise because it introduced me to the pleasures of colors I rarely use like browns. It also allowed me to interpret a motif I have painted many times in a new way.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Painting notes: This painting is done on dark brown Canson paper with Terry Ludwig pastels 20 x 26

4 comments:

Eileen Sullivan said...

What a wonderful exercise! It will be interesting to see if I can finish a painting without sneaking in red-violet somewhere!

Alecia Schmitz said...

Great exercise!

robertsloan2art said...

This sounds like so much fun! I've got to try it sometime.

I'm like you, I hardly ever use my browns or grays - almost every painting I prefer the saturated sticks and clean spectrum tints and shades. But sometimes I get the itch to try those different sticks.

I used to hate the color beige until I got a Siamese cat. From then on, there was no color I didn't like. My cat has every hue and value of brown and gray that I have in my pastels, so it would be so easy to do him in a muted, natural color range.

Love today's paintings - you got so much lively sparkle in those browns on the top one. It's great to mix it up sometimes!

Lyn Evans said...

Great thought because it now occurs to me that I go through greys and lavenders at a great rate of knots in my thunderous cloudy skies. Pinks on the other hand are the pristine ones. Thanks for that.