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Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Quick Way to Test Color for a Pastel Painting

'Follow Where it Leads Us'          12 x 18           pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $195
 A painting should begin with a plan. I have a few steps involved in my planning stage. I admit I sometimes skim over some of them but lately I have added a step that I won't skip. It is all about the color!

Color can be chaotic without thought and planning. 

Some artists are fortunate and  have a finely tuned sense of color.  They instinctively know just which colors to pick up. They make interesting and harmonious color choices seemingly without effort and without preplanning.  I admire that ability but I don't like to leave color to chance. I don't want to get halfway through a painting and become lost in the pile of pastels that is growing on my easel tray. I don't want to deal with color chaos.

Now I don't have to take my chances with color anymore. I make time to make a
 COLOR NOTE STUDY.

Quick color notes
  • Color Note Studies are small scraps of paper (preferably the same paper/color of the painting) They are not detailed mini paintings.
  • Color Note Studies are simply marks on the paper that represent the various elements in the painting.  They can be a very loose abstracted series of marks.
  • Color Note Studies allow the artists to see how the colors selected for a painting will look together and their approximate relationships. 
  • The studies save the artist much frustration and saves pastel. We can visualize how a color palette will look before experimenting on a bigger piece of paper. Experiment on a tiny piece!
Today's painting was a demo for a private class. I was painting from a photo of a summer meadow filled with pink flowers. My concept was to turn the meadow into a fall scene with yellow flowers. The color study notes helped me see if my color choices would work for my concept.

Try This: Make a commitment to do a color note study for your next painting. Decide in advance what your palette will be and test out your choices on a scrap of paper.

Would you like more lessons on color? 
Consider joining my Patreon page. We will be exploring color for the month of March. I will share video demos, step by step photo demos and weekly color challenges. You can cancel at any time and once you are a patron you have access to all of the previous lessons and videos. At $4 a month it is a great value. Here is the link to check out the page. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

This kind of exercise is fun even for people who like doing intuitive color. Looking consciously at what I do intuitively can hone that reflex. It's not instinct, but it feels like it. The more I learn about color, the better those choices become - and if my usual practice is to flip open as many boxes as possible and choose what that painting needs while it's in progress, it's still a good thing to try different practices.

Also I noticed that any preliminary versions will improve a painting. Notans, value studies, color studies - those can all wind up improving the final version. If I worked large I'd probably do the whole gamut of preliminaries first, because of the investment of time and body energy into the final painting.

Also, color notes like that can be cool little minis by themselves. You can do different versions of them and that's fun.