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Sunday, December 07, 2014

My Favorite White Pastels

'A Walk in the Park'               12 x 12               pastel              ©Karen Margulis
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I never use white pastels. Well.....maybe sometimes but very rarely do I ever use a pure white stick of pastel in a painting.  I just got a chalkboard and chalk (for fun) and it reminded me of how chalky a pure white pastel can look. I prefer colorful lights.  When something is supposed to be white like clouds or snow I first look for the colors that are present. White things reflect the colors that surround them so they rarely appear pure chalky white.

When I am faced with painting something white I reach for my favorite light pastels...Diane Townsend Soft pastels. These lights are almost white but lean towards a pale color.  I call them 'Almost Whites'.  I actually love Terry Ludwig, Sennelier and Schminke Almost Whites but I seem to reach most often for the Diane Townsends. I like the ever so slight gritty texture and how it they sound scratchy when using them.

A collection of 'Amost Whites'. The pastel on the far left is pure white for comparison

I don't use a specific color name but when I am low I just order open stock. I like to keep a pale (almost white) version of each primary and secondary color on the color wheel....red, blue, yellow,orange,violet and green.  Basically I want a warm and cool light.

The next time you are painting something white and reach for the pure white....stop and look for the color. Choose a pale light instead of the white. Reserve that pure white for the highlight if it is even necessary.

If you are thinking about painting snow this winter I invite you to look at my Winter/Snow pastel demo download. You can read more about it in my Etsy shop here

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

These are great! I first ran into near whites with the Art Spectrum ones, they have twelve, warm and cool versions of six each and some were tucked into a box of Art Spectrums that I bought.

They solved another problem at the time. I was just starting out, didn't have many pastels or many tints among my pastels. So I was constantly using up the white lightening colors and having more whites eliminated the problem of the white wearing down super fast. I could also lighten with the right hue of near white if I wanted to preserve color intensity in the layering.

I have some Townsend Terrages and love them, the texture is very beautiful. Thanks for a great article!