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Monday, April 25, 2016

My Secret Plein Air Weapon

'Take Me to the Meadow'        5x7        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $75

I didn't expect it. But in the end I loved it.  That little piece of green pastel that somehow found its way into my travel pastel box. It is a deceiving little thing.  At a quick glance it looks like a nice mid value warm green. It is perfect for foliage. As soon as it is applied to paper its true nature is revealed.

It shimmers!  It is a like a gem. It is a pearlescent  pastel and it makes me smile!

a tiny piece of pearlescent pastel from Great American Artworks

As I layer this soft buttery piece of pastel it leaves behind a subtle shimmer.  The effect is more pronounced when the light hits the painting.  The camera seems to intensify the effect. It is actually more subtle in real life.

I love this little green pastel but it has to be used in small amounts. Like too much jewelry or cologne....a little goes a long way and too much can be overwhelming.  Here is a suggestion for using pearlescent pastels:

  • It is the element of surprise that makes a touch of shimmer special.  Rather than using a whole set of pearlescent colors in a single painting, break the pastels into smaller pieces. Now plant these pieces in your pastel box in the correct value and color area.  The next time you reach for a certain color and value you may end up with a little gem. It will add a nice touch of shimmer just where you need it!
  • I am now going to refer to this little piece of green pastel as my secret plein air weapon. Without fail, a touch of the green shimmer in my plein air studies give them an added special touch.

Several pastel manufacturers make pearlescent or iridescent pastels including Sennelier, Diane Townsend and Great American Artworks. I have them all!  The green in the painting is a Great American. See the set on Dakotapastels.com. link here.

'Desert Sparkle'         5x7       pastel
available $75

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

That's exactly how I love using iridescent or luminescent media - in their proper hue and value as accents. I discovered this in watercolor with Daniel Smith Luminescent watercolors but the pearlescent pastels are awesome too. I have the pearlescent Pan Pastels and they are a bit darker than their respective Tints, which makes them great for shading as well as that touch of sparkle.

Reading it, I thought your piece was a Sennelier, glad to know GA has those too!