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Thursday, August 22, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Pastel: Color!

"Beach Stroll"
9 x 12 Pastel on Paper
Click here to view details
It's a little easy to get drunk on color when using pastels.  When I first took pastel classes, it was difficult for me to stick to values when beginning a painting-- I always jumped into the bright colors (and quickly ended up in trouble).  Even now, if I'm having difficulty getting into painting mode, I can just open a box of brightly colored pastels and feel instantly inspired.

"Mermaid" 9 x 12 Pastel on Paper
Click here to view details
Pastels come in a wide array of bright colors, and you don't have to do any mixing (although you can blend the colors if you wish).  Pastels hold their strong colors without fading for a long time, and there's no need to worry about cracking or drying out over time as there is with oil or acrylic.

For me, the color sets the mood for a painting.  I know I can always use my trusty pastels to convey whatever mood I'm expressing with a small combination of brilliant colors.

Do you like beach-themed artwork?
Check out my Nautical and Beach gallery!

Monday, August 12, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Pastel: It Looks Great Over Watercolor!

"Abstract Flower" (View 1)
6 x 9 in. Pastel on Watercolor-Toned Paper
In the previous post, my number 10 reason for loving pastels was that they can be blended with water (chalk pastels in this case). 
Now for number nine: You can use it over watercolor!
Another great technique for working with pastel is to tone some paper with watercolor, and create a dry pastel painting on the toned paper.  I did this in the piece above, using green watercolor on paper before working in the red, purple, and yellow-green tones with pastel. 
Some tips for using watercolor as a surface primer for a pastel painting:
Vary the tones and values of the watercolor, so it creates an interesting background for your pastel.
Make sure the watercolor has plenty of time to dry completely before you start working with the pastel--otherwise you run the risk of ripping your paper.
Higher quality paper will hold up better under the combination of watercolor and pastel, and gives a softer effect when complete.
Don't forget to tape down your watercolor paper before you tone your surface!
"Abstract Flower" is a painting that can be turned in any direction, so I haven't signed it--once it's purchased, the buyer can choose which way the painting will be presented, and I'll sign the bottom right hand corner of the piece then.