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Friday, May 01, 2020

A Good Reason to Blend your Pastel Paintings

'Above and Beyond'                 8x10                 pastel                ©Karen Margulis
available $165
 Do you need a good reason to blend your pastels? If you are like me and have been taught to never blend you might like to know there are times when blending is a good thing!  Unless I am doing a wet underpainting I ALWAYS blend the first layer of my painting. I use a piece of pipe insulation foam but any blending tool does the trick. After blending the painting looks fuzzy....all edges are soft and everything is out of focus like the photo below. 

My out of focus underpainting

Everything was there. The value structure, the color harmony, the composition. But something was missing. I needed some clarity and the best place for the clarity would be my focal area. I wanted the viewer to travel around the flowers like a bee and then notice the beautiful water and distant land. 

I gradually added clarity to the painting. To finish I used a soft light value pastel and pressed very hard. In fact so hard that I broke the pastel! But the effect was perfect. The chunky marks on the flowers now contrasted nicely with the smoother pastel application on some of the out of focus flowers and the sky.

Contrast attracts your eye! Having soft blended areas next to thicker pastel marks creates contrast and becomes a magnet for the viewer's eye. Blending does have a purpose in a pastel painting!

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