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Saturday, August 15, 2015

What Can you Paint with a Starter Set? Trying Unison Pastels


'Busy Meadows'                11x14                pastel               ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting here $165
I'm not usually a fan of starter pastel sets. They are often too limited. Very often they consist mainly of middle value pure colors. Some sets I've seen have some very intense artificial looking colors. It is difficult to use the starter set alone to complete a painting. So what can you paint with them?

Starter sets are a great way to try out a brand of pastels. But think of them as building blocks or additions to your pastel collection. Consider the pastels in these sets as spices....use these colors to add pop or a finishing touch to a painting.

Before adding the finishing touches. Painting is on Uart 500

Unison Pastels makes a very nice starter set of 18 pastels. I couldn't resist this set when I saw it last winter at a local art expo. I like Unison pastels but don't have many. It is always nice to see the colors in person and the expo price was right! This starter set has the usual bright middle value colors but it also has a few nice grayed colors.

It would be the perfect set to use to add some spice to my Colorado wildflower painting. I came across this painting during my studio clean-up. I remember finishing it and not really liking it but I didn't know why.

Now it was clear why I wasn't thrilled with it. It seemed flat and dull. The flowers were fading into the background and there was no depth to the scene. The painting needed spice.... and some bumblebees!

Unison 18 piece starter set

  •  I used the Unison set to paint the spices. I added some blue to the mountains to push them back. 
  • I used a firm touch with the red pastels to create more definition in the flowers. I did the same thing with the blue flowers. 
  • I used the greens to paint some distinct blades of grass setting up a feeling of space.
  • Finally I painted a few bumblebees to add life the the painting. I remember these summer meadows to be busy with bees. They added just the right touch!


close up detail
I enjoyed using this set for the final marks. Unison pastels are firm yet go on soft. I especially enjoy the fine lines I can achieve with the sharp edge. My next challenge will be to take the papers off the sticks and break them in half. I will then challenge myself to paint something only with this set. It is this kind of experiment that helps me understand the limitations of my palette.




1 comment:

Teri said...

Hi Karen - love this post and your bees are cute and believable! So glad you had a great time on your trips this summer.