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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Mini Demo: Pastel on Black Artagain Paper

'Cross Country'        2.5 x 3.5       pastel       ©Karen Margulis
I didn't expect it. But I like it. I have used black paper for pastel paintings in the past and liked the way it made the colors pop. It can be dramatic.

 I didn't think to use black paper for painting snowy landscapes. Wouldn't they be too dark or muddy looking?  But quite the opposite happens. The black paper and the white pastel is a fantastic combination. The contrast can be bold and exciting.  

Here is a demo of a small pastel (2.5 x 3.5) on Strathmore Artagain paper. 

 I begin with a light drawing to place my horizon and main shapes. I use a Nupastel. I choose a color that will be easy to cover. I tested the Artagain paper with Nupastels, Terry Ludwig, and Diane Townsend Soft form pastels. All work well. The trick is to be decisive about your marks. The paper is slick so you don't get many layers or chances to get it right!

 Next I mass in my dark shapes. These are my darkest pastels and see how they look lighter on the black paper?

Now I block in the sky and distant trees using some light purples and blue-greys. I start to break up the tree shapes with the light sky color.

Next I move on to my snow shadows. I use warm blues to cool blues and make one layer of pastel using  quick, bold marks.

Time for the light snow. I use pale yellows in the foreground and a dull pale pink in the distance. No layering, just put down a mark and leave it alone.

Next I paint my cross country skier. I use two blue pastels to paint the jacket and pants and a red pastel for the hat. I use a piece of compressed charcoal to put in the ski poles.

Finishing touches: I add more branches to the tress and put in more sky holes. I add a tiny touch of orange to the hat. I add a couple of touches of color to the trees. Can you spot them?

The finished mini

These paintings are all available in my Etsy shop. Sunday night is the drawing for an 11x14 enlargement of one of my minis. Every mini purchase gives you an entry!

Click here to see what is still available:

 If you are looking for something to do this weekend and would like to try painting a winter landscape consider downloading my Winter demo for $6. Avalailable in my Etsy shop Here


Sheila said...

Great tutorial - Thanks! i have yet to really work with pastels, it is so interesting to see how you work. I do see the colors in the trees... very cool. This is such a lovely piece!

robertsloan2art said...

Thanks for another great tutorial. I love the effect of black paper with light and bright pastels on it, they shine and shimmer!