|'High Tide' 12x18 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I have hundreds and hundreds....(maybe thousands :0 ) of pastels and yet I just ordered a few more. It seems we can never have enough. But we really don't NEED as many as we WANT. Sure, it is nice to have every color available to us but we can paint a good painting with a very limited palette.
The key is Value. As long as we have a range of values from dark to light we can paint anything. It might not be the exact color palette we would have liked but the painting will still 'read'.
Here is an exercise to help prove this idea. I allowed myself just 17 pastels for a painting.
|17 pastels comprise my limited palette|
- I limited the value range for a simple marsh landscape to just four values: dark, light, middle dark and middle light.
- I choose just four pastels for each of the four values. I selected the pastels primarily by value. I did select some warms and cool colors in each section but this was actually not planned. I was trying to choose random colors.
- While the colors I chose were somewhat random I did try to choose colors that might work for a green marsh. Being limited to 16 pastels made it challenging.
- I selected one extra pastel for my spice. (the bright yellow-green)
|Painting with a plan = a more painterly painting|
Before I began the painting I did a small black and white thumbnail sketch. I wanted to simplify my subject into a few masses and assign each shape a value. This made it easier to decide where to place my 16 colors....darks went in the dark shape, lights into the light shape, etc. It was as simple as following a map.
An interesting thing came of this exercise. I did two paintings with the same 17 pastels and even with this limited palette I was able to create two different looks to this same marsh.
|'High Tide II' 12 x 18 pastel ©Karen Margulis $165|