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Thursday, September 21, 2017

When Color Takes a Back Seat

'Drama on the Marsh'          4x6        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
Why didn't I think of it! I had a great question from a reader who asked if I tried doing a black and white painting on Uart Dark. I didn't. With pastels sometimes we are so focused on color that we forget about the subtle beauty of a simple black and white image.  I was waiting for a private student to arrive so I decided to try a quick black and white study.

I keep a small box of black, white and gray pastels. The grays are what I call ash gray....made from black and white. They are not the wonderful colorful grays found in some pastels sets. These are the typical grayscale grays. I use them to illustrate how using darks, lights and grays with COLOR will lead to more interesting paintings. They would be perfect for my little study!

a variety of black and white pastels

I selected a moody photo of clouds over a marsh. It would translate well into black and white. There was a good range of values and shapes. The black paper gave me a head start because I didn't have to fight the paper color to get my dark shapes solid and cohesive. If you look at the painting you can see the paper color in the bottom left corner. Click to enlarge.

see the paper color in the bottom left corner.
After I finished the black and white study I painted another version this time using the local colors I saw in the photo. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the black and white version. Having to choose only value and not worry about color freed me to play with mark making and enjoying the process of painting.
Another version with colorful darks,lights and grays


Linda Kriegel said...

What a great idea! Black and white pastels on black paper! I need to try this as well. Beautiful!!

BJR said...

Just as a bit of info...i saw someone on a Ustream show (Janet Young) use polychromo pencils on Uart paper. She picked up some "mixing powder"with a pointed pastel tool, and blended the colors together. Worked beautiful (but seemed a bit tedious??)

Annabel said...

Simply stunning!