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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Why You Should Try Your Unused Pastels

'Mystery on the Marsh'               19.5 x 25            pastel             ©Karen Margulis
They sit in the box untouched. Pristine pastels surrounded by their well used neighbor colors. Why don't these pastels ever have the joy of being used in a painting?  Why do they always miss out on the fun? These pastels are just as good as any other in the box....they just happen to be an unliked color.

Yes we do tend to have favorite colors and colors we never use. We claim we don't like them. Even if we are one of the few who love every color in the box we probably still use some colors more than others.

Recently I took a look in my box and realized that I had an abundance of Brown pastels. Brown as in Crayon box brown. All of these brown pastels were pristine. Even my favorite Terry Ludwig pastels sat untouched....if they were brown.  I didn't like brown. I though brown was dull and boring. I avoided brown. If something was supposed to be brown I would use purple or blue or anything that was more colorful than brown.

But I have changed my mind. I have decided to embrace Brown. There are times when brown really works. I realized that brown often is just a dark value yellow and I really like yellow!  I challenged myself to use brown in a painting. I took it a step further and painted my yellow and brown landscape on a piece of brown Canson paper.  Forcing myself to use brown helped me see the beauty in it! Now I look forward to using those wonderful browns!

Try This:  Look in your pastel box and see if you have any pristine, unused or rarely used pastels. Why haven't you used these colors?  Challenge yourself to use them in a painting. Embrace your new color!


Sue Marrazzo said...

so NICE! Love the mood.

Karen said...

Thank you Sue and Dorothy! I appreciate your comments!

Adriana Guidi said...

This is really gorgeous with the browns! Love it!

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA said...

Wow Karen!! Thank you.

I do that. I look at colors that are as fresh looking as the day they arrived. Because I don't get around to using them.
This post inspires me to pick up those colors and use them.
LUV the painting!!!!!!!!

Hélène said...

Finaly ! What it takes is talent ! And your surely have a lot.

Québec - Canada

robertsloan2art said...

I love this painting! It's utterly gorgeous. I do remember going through a similar process of recognition, because I am that guy that loves all the colors and has to have the biggest box possible to choose from.

A long, long time ago I wondered why cool colors and browns wore down so much faster than fiery warms. I wasn't doing many florals or sunsets but was doing plenty of landscapes with blue skies and summer greenery with water. So I satisfied myself it was a matter of how much area I did with certain colors, not whether I needed them.

Only to find much later on that sometimes a blazing orange is a better knock back for a green than an earth orange, or makes a beautiful olive.. using them in combination makes even the most garish colors work gorgeously.

Great story about the browns. I didn't like them as much as saturated colors either, but I also went to doing portraits and at that time was doing fast not very layered sketching. Having variations of them for different complexions was convenience, so that got me over brown aversion.

Then that got cinched when a friend gave me that six week old cream and brown kitten with the blue eyes. Brown and its tints are beautiful.

Rodrica Tilley said...

Who knew a "brown "painting could have so much mystery and charm. beautiful.

Catherine Selinger said...

I am inspired by your ideas on using brown, and your beautiful painting. But what can we do with ALL of those disturbingly neutral grays? The ones without any discernible hue whatsoever. I have so many of them already and never use them. Can you help by doing a blog post on how to use grays sometime? Thanks as always, Karen!