Saturday, December 26, 2015

Painting Snow with Almost White Pastels

'Almost Winter'     11x14      pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
I never use white pastels. Well.....maybe sometimes but very rarely do I ever use a pure white stick of pastel in a painting.  I recently bought a chalkboard and chalk (for fun) and it reminded me of how chalky a pure white pastel can look. I prefer colorful lights.  When something is supposed to be white like clouds or snow I first look for the colors that are present in the surroundings. White things reflect the colors that surround them so they rarely appear pure chalky white.

When I am faced with painting something white I reach for my favorite light pastels...Diane Townsend Soft pastels. These lights are almost white but lean towards a pale color.  I call them 'Almost Whites'.  I love love Terry Ludwig, Sennelier and Schminke Almost Whites but I seem to reach most often for the Diane Townsends. I like the ever so slight gritty texture and how it they sound scratchy when using them.

A collection of 'Amost Whites'. The pastel on the far left is pure white for comparison

I don't use a specific color name but when I am low I just order open stock. I like to keep a pale (almost white) version of each primary and secondary color on the color wheel....red, blue, yellow,orange,violet and green.  Basically I want a warm and cool light.

The next time you are painting something white and reach for the pure white....stop and look for the color. Choose a pale light instead of the white. Reserve that pure white for the highlight if it is even necessary.

If you are thinking about painting snow this winter I invite you to look at my Winter/Snow pastel demo download. You can read more about it in my Etsy shop here

1 comment:

ferrelli said...

I want to say a big Thank You for surprising me with a painting I had won! I received it a couple of days before Christmas and put it under my tree. It was a wonderful gift to open it Christmas Day when my family was gathered to celebrate Jesus's birth. I love the landscape! I am a watercolorist (4 years) and I've been following your blog for some time. I appreciate that you talk on your blog post about how and why you have done certain steps in your paintings. I have learned a lot by just reading your explanation and then thinking how I can apply it to MY painting. The use of the "spices," as you call them, have been particularly helpful. I look forward to reading your blog every day as it never disappoints.