Dark toned Strathmore: a striking backdrop

I've gotten pretty fond of my Strathmore plum-toned pastel paper. When I first began using chalk pastels, I was afraid of the darker-toned papers. I knew that I would have to keep a cool head while using them, because the whole point of dark paper is to add striking lights to create your painting while leaving the tone of the paper as one of the values. This means using restraint, which is not something that comes naturally to me.

Since I've had trouble concentrating lately, forcing myself to stick to a simple subject with limited use of color gives me a good set of guidelines as I work. This is why I turn again and again to Ancient Egyptian pottery-- I can focus on shapes, lights, and darks, without getting too emotionally attached to what I'm painting. Art should be emotional, right? For me, not always. Painting with my head rather than my heart is good discipline, and usually produces a nice result.

I called this piece "Majestic," because this particular pot had a strong presence in the display at the museum. I used the lightest yellow possible to create the lights on the plum-toned background. A little pinkish-red and hot orange warmed the piece up a bit. There wasn't too much smearing involved, as I'm still enjoying a broken color phase in my work.

"Majestic" 9 x 12 Chalk pastel on Strathmore paper
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