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Friday, March 11, 2016

How Many Green Pastels Do You Need?

'Fairyland'         8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $125
You know you want them. More Green pastels! And if you are a fan of Terry Ludwig pastels you surely covet his 90 piece set of greens. But do we really need to have 90 green pastels to paint a landscape or anything else green? Before I answer I'd like to share my 'green pastel' story.

Terry Ludwig 90 piece set of greens
I was fortunate to discover Terry Ludwig pastels soon after taking my first pastel class. I quickly bought a small set to replace my Rembrandts. One small set was soon followed by another. Every opportunity I could I added to my collection. (sound familiar?) For some reason though I avoided the set of green pastels that Terry is famous for. Even the smaller sets of green seemed overwhelming. And the set of 90.....sensory overload! I couldn't imagine ever needing so many greens!

Looking back now I realize that I just wasn't ready for all of those greens. I wouldn't have known what to do with them. I didn't understand warm and cool and neutrals. Green was green. I was happy with just a few. I have learned so much in the last 11 years of painting. A few years ago I treated myself to the 90 piece set and I haven't regretted it for a minute!(and wish I had gotten them sooner)

Instead of being overwhelmed by all of the green choices....I have actually learned more about using greens. By comparing one green to another and using them in a painting I started to see the difference. Not all greens were the same and I could see the subtleties. Having the 90 piece set and keeping them separate from my other pastels has taught me how to use green more effectively. I didn't know how much I really needed them!

Reusing a failed painting for today's green forest painting
So how many green pastels do we really need? As many as we can afford. I suggest making sure you have a variety of both warm (yellow greens) and cool (blue greens) and neutral (grayed down greens). You also need a variety of values.....light, dark and mid value greens. Finally you need a few 'spicy' greens...pure intense greens for spice. Don't skimp on your greens and your landscapes will be richer.

Convinced?  Now is the time to add some Terry Ludwig greens to your collection. They are 20% off this week! See the website for details and the extra goodies included in the sale. Click here.

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

I keep having mixed feelings about this set. The idea of 90 greens is wonderful and I love the diverse values, but some of them look like oranges, browns and blues to me. I use a slightly different color system and need to have pure chroma greens for mixing and scumbling, while even the brightest Terry Ludwig greens are a bit muted. If I want to knock back a red with it and get the zing of pure chroma in the scumble, a brownish-green isn't going to do it.

They are nonetheless tempting. The pictures are sometimes a bit confusing too. It might help if I could see them in person. I'd probably get the full set - but I'd also find it easier to pick out favorites when I trim an assortment down to a 12 color wheel and tints and shades. I think of muted colors as extras, convenience colors with the exception of a mid value gray-violet that turned up in my first set of Rembrandts and rapidly became essential to every subject. Sometimes you don't know what colors are important until you've used them!

But that set has always been an expensive, supreme temptation. So are the 30 color Blues and the whole 60 color Vibrants set!

Some of this is inspiration, the saturated hues are what inspire me no matter how much I'll mute them by the time I'm done.