|'Simple Pleasures' 12x12 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
The Question: In response to my recent post about painting white flowers by gradually adding lighter values on top of cooler darker values a reader asked "Is it easy to put the darker colors over the lighter ones? Don't you get a blending effect that tones them down?"
My Answer: Great question. It is accepted pastel practice to go from dark to light. But you can easily get muddy toned down passages if you stir up and physically blend the layers together. The key is to layer the pastels without physically blending them. It is important to pay attention to your TOUCH...how lightly or heavily you apply the pastel.
- If you apply the pastel with a light touch and whisper the light over the dark you won't disturb the dark and cause the layers to physically mix. A light touch allows the lighter value pastel to sit on top of the darker layer. If you push down too hard or go back and forth over an area the layers will blend together and the lights will get darker. The right touch is a light touch!
- Sometimes I will use a very heavy direct mark. I call this a shouting mark. If you make a swift and sure mark of light over dark it will remain light. If you go back over the mark it will mix and get muddy. Make a mark and leave it alone!
In the quick video clip I am putting my lightest value in the flower. I already have established my darker values of peach and green and cream. I want to 'turn on the lights' by adding the warm light value.
- I begin by LIGHTLY layering some of the light pastel. I use a light touch to allow the darker values to peek through but not physically mix. You can hear the light scratching sound of my whispering. I am using a Diane Townsend pastel with has pumice and makes a scratchy sound.
- Next I want to add some finishing marks of a light value. I use a shouting mark and leave it alone. This heavy mark stays pure because I don't fuss and overwork it.