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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Whisper and Shout....Making Marks with Pastels

'River Crossing'                 18x24               pastel               ©Karen Margulis
available $450
"It sounds like you are no longer whispering" a student observed as I worked on this demo. It was a great observation. I was no longer applying the pastel with a gentle light touch. I was forecfully pushing the pigment into the paper. I was no longer whispering with my pastel....I was shouting.

At the start of the demo I stressed the importance of applying the pastel with a light touch. My focus is on remembering that the right touch is a light touch. Applying the pastel with light whispering strokes will allow for more layers and more interesting build up of color.

Whispering Mark
Most of the marks I make when painting are with this light touch. I pretend like I am painting with a feather....if I press too hard the feather will break so I keep the pressure light. A light touch allows the colors underneath to show. Our eyes can then blend the colors to make an interesting passage. Look at the photo above....the light layers of blue allow the purple underpainting to provide interest.

Sometimes a light touch is not enough. Sometimes a heavier touch is needed. A shouting mark is called for.

A Shouting Mark
 As my student noticed, I had shifted from my whispering marks to more powerful heavy marks. These are marks applied with heavier pressure. The paper underneath is no longer visible.  I use a heavier touch only when I know it will be the last layer or mark in that part of the painting.

Heavier marks can be done at any stage in the painting but they are typically my finishing marks....done at the end of the painting . Shouting marks often create harder edges. They are often my spices....marks of an intense color, or a darker or lighter mark and often near my focal area.  When I make a mark with a heavier touch I make sure I make it with authority. I shout!

Mark making in pastel is like brushwork in oils....we all have our own unique personal calligraphy. I like to whisper and shout with the side of my pastel. What types of marks do you like to make?


tres said...


jojo said...

très intéressantes ces démos avec de bonnes explications ;merci KAREN