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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Do You Have Grass Box?

'Memories of the South'       12x18       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $165
I don't know what I would do without my grass box. I know my marshes and meadow paintings would not be as interesting. I know that it wouldn't be as easy to create painterly grasses. Keeping a grass box is a new habit of mine but I don't know what I was waiting for!

What is a grass box you may be wondering?  It is a small box of pastels that I use exclusively for painting the finishing touches in any marsh or meadow painting. Any landscape that has grassy bits can be a challenge. If you paint too many grass blades or make them too thick and regular you risk creating a fence of grass. A grass fence is a visual barrier. It can prevent the viewer from entering or moving back into a painting. A grass box makes it easy to always paint lyrical grasses.

My collection of grass pastels along with a small banker's clasp used for scratching grass marks in soft pastel passages.
What is in my grass box?

  • Some harder pastels such as Nupastels and Rembrandts. These pastels have more binder than softer pastels so they make a crisper mark.
  • Some harder Russian pastels given to me by a friend. These harder and round sticks make wonderful painterly grasses.
  • A variety of earthy colors for both green and dried grass. I add to this box when I find a grass color that I can't I've without!
  • A few 'spicy' greens...greens that are intense for those special bits of eye candy.
  • A metal Banker's Clasp that can be used to scratch grass marks into a passage of thick pastel.
Having a box of pastels that work well for those finishing marks in a grassy area is a useful tool but it also helps to practice making effective and lyrical grass marks. You may be interested in my blog article on painting grass here:http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/2016/02/more-on-painting-grasses-with-pastels.html

Painting Notes: This is one of the demo paintings I did for my recent workshop with the Piedmont Pastel Society. It is on Uart pastel paper with an alcohol wash underpainting.

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

This is so cool! Makes sense to me to set up specialized small sets for subjects you know you'll do often, like grass in any landscape not snowy really. Also the assorted harder pastels for grass textures. Are the harder Russian pastel rounds Yarka? I used to have a 180 stick box of Yarka pastels, which Blick categorized as artist grade then changed to student. The palette was frustrating without strong reds and yellows and purples but had wonderful blues and greens and earths, wonderful lot of tints - it's just that reds and yellows and oranges tended to go only to a tint and not to full saturation. Earth reds but lack of bright scarlets or magentas.