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Friday, October 30, 2015

A Must Have Pastel Set for Autumn Landscapes

'Sheltered'               8x10               pastel                  ©Karen Margulis
available $145
I needed a reprieve from yellow. I enjoy yellow but two weeks of painting yellow trees left me seeking something less brilliant. I needed some soothing colors. I knew just the set to take off the shelf. I have a few special sets of pastels that I leave intact in their original boxes. I take them out when I know they will be a good fit for a subject.

The Terry Ludwig Shades of Nature set was just what I needed. It is the perfect set for the calm and soft colors of an overcast Autumn day. 

Not every fall landscape is screaming with color. It is true that on a bright sunny and crisp fall morning or afternoon the colors can be vibrant and technicolor. Everything screams for attention. It is one of the reasons why fall is a difficult season to paint well.

My Terry Ludwig Shades of Nature Set available at www.terryludwig.com

 I like the challenge of painting a colorful fall landscape but I also like to paint the quiet fall days. The days when the colors are soft and muted. The days when the ground is carpeted with wet and fragrant leaves and the cool air hints at the winter cold to come. This quiet landscape is equally challenging to paint but the Shades of Nature set make it easier. This set of 30 pastels has a wonderful assortment of the quiet neutrals that we need for the landscape. 

The underpainting is an alcohol wash on Uart 400 with a 305 Nupastel
 For today's painting I challenged myself to use ONLY this set of 30 pastels. Since there isn't a really strong dark in the set I decided to make my underpainting be the darkest value of the painting. I used a #305 spruce blue Nupastel and did an alcohol wash on Uart paper. This gave me a rich dark base for the lighter muted colors in the Shades of Nature set.

I developed the painting with a light touch so I could preserve these darks. I was pleased with the variety of neutral colors in the set and how they allowed me to interpret my photo. They were just the right pastels to give me the break I sought.

reference photo
TIP:  While the Shades of Nature set can certainly be used on their own the true value of the set is to use them in conjunction with other more vibrant colors. They will then provide the quiet spot or rest that vibrant colors need in order to pop. 


Susan Williamson said...

Your painting is f*%#+ing GORGEOUS! Terry Ludwig is gonna be swamped with orders for this set after people see your painting.

robertsloan2art said...

I can just feel the muggy damp of your overcast day in the wetlands! It rings true, brings back a visceral appreciation of autumn. Those days are either miserable or wonderful depending on pressure changes, some happy memories return with this painting. So perfectly atmospheric! Great solution to no deep darks in the set.

Ludwigs are wonderful pastels, soft and expressive. That block shape invites a painterly look, it's like using a large flat brush. Great idea! I'm always tempted by the brights but sometimes the muted colors have their day!