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Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Art Challenge: The Many Moods of Green

'I'll Take the Path on the Right'           8x10            pastel          ©Karen Margulis
Green. You either love it or hate it. Sometimes painting with green can be a challenge. With pastels it seems we never have the right green. No matter how many greens I have collected I am always searching for the right one. And even though I have a lot of green pastels how do I know which ones to use?......Which ones are warm? Cool? Neutral? And how about all of those vivid artificial or acid greens?

It's green overload! What is the solution?

Terry Ludwig Pastel 90 piece Green Set.....this should do it!

The solution isn't to keep buying greens. The solution is to get to know the greens you have! Take them all out of all of their individual boxes. Play with them. 
  • Group them by value....put the dark ones together, the light ones and middle values ones in their own piles.
  • Try to group them by temperature....which ones seem cool (more blue) Which ones seem warm (more yellow) Which ones are hard to tell (probably neutral) 
  • Group the artificial greens together....these are the vivid, intense artificial looking greens (spices)
  • Make some marks with the greens to see how they look on paper. Remember that they will appear different depending on the paper color and what they are next to. (simultaneous contrast)
Make notes about which greens you seem to lack. Now you won't just buy random green pastels you will buy green with a purpose. 

After you experiment and play with the greens in your collection, paint a very green landscape. Remember that in a typical landscape the cooler greens (and lighter) will be in the distance and they will gradually transition to warmer greens in the foreground. There are always exceptions but this is a good general truth.
Take the challenge to the next level and paint the same scene but vary the greens to create a different mood. Perhaps turn a sunny day into a gray moody day.

If you'd like some tips on using green in the landscape have a look at my pdf demo available for $6


robertsloan2art said...

Great article! Good photo of the Terry Ludwig 90 greens set. There are also some wonderful greens in Mount Vision's lineup, including a wide range of saturated and unsaturated ones.

It's got some gaps but it's very strong in the yellow-greens and neutral greens and the near-turquoise distant atmospheric range.

I sometimes think that has to do with the popularity of northern landscapes, when I'm drawn to scenes in equatorial regions and animals like bright green parakeets that don't read true in olive unless I mute the entire painting.

Still, there's hope, maybe he'll do 14 Vivid Greens someday like the Sunset set.

Tim Moore said...

I love green and some say i always use too much!..most likely do, or at least maybe they are seeing a wrong green i should not have used?..rainy day today, so maybe i will use it as an excuse to do some sorting..great article.

Cagley Art said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and information on using green pastels. I very much admire your passion, knowledge and your expertise. I will continue to follow you!