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Saturday, March 03, 2018

Have You Painted in Black and White Lately?

'Meadow Spirits'       9x12      pastel      ©Karen Margulis

I was vacuuming the studio when the cord knocked over a box of black and white pastels.  Upside down.  All over the floor.  I wasn't even planning to keep them.  They were the black, white and gray pastels that came in my Diane Townsend pastel set. I figured I wouldn't be painting with black and white so they were going to the storage shelf.

As I picked the pastels up and put them in the box. (only one casualty)  I began to see the possibilities.  I love black and white photography so why not a black and white painting? 

Diane Townsend pastels
I did a black and white thumbnail sketch and chose four pastels. I picked a dark, light, a middle dark and middle light. I also threw in the black for accents. I used a piece of gray Canson. I am loving this paper!
I was pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoyed painting with these 4 pastels and learned a few lessons.

Black & White painting with Value Thumbnails

  • I thought I would miss using color. After all one of the things that we are most drawn to as pastelists is the color!  But I found it was one less thing to worry about. By removing the issue of color and color choices I was able to focus on the painting itself. 
  • Without color VALUE was easier to see and to judge.  I only had to deal with four values so it made it easier to simplify the painting.
  • Without color I was able to pay more attention to EDGES.  Where would I use soft edges? Where would I add more detail and sharper edges.
  • It was easier to understand atmospheric perspective without color.  I had to make use of tools other than color to create the illusion of depth....such as lighter values and less contrast and detail in the distance.
I plan to keep my black and white and gray pastels. I enjoyed this little experiment and I will be painting with them again!

What's Happening on Patreon this Week
We are beginning our exploration of the wonderful world of color! Our weekly challenge is to paint something in black and white. Head on over to my Patreon page to find out why! ($4 subscription pledge but worth it:)) www.patreon.com/karenmargulis

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Oh that's fun! And that proves something I've found out a long time ago. There's no such thing as "ugly colors you won't ever use." There comes a point those colors are the right ones. Love the painting and the concept.