I do not like February. By the time February is upon us I am in desperate need for the warmth of the sun, and the color green. Which is somewhat ironic, because I don’t really like the color green. I like it in spring, but by the time summer gets here, it is everywhere.
And it is so hard to paint. I don’t know about other mediums but in pastel, the colors that exist in nature – the foliage – don’t match the colors of the pigments that are used to make pastels. Mainly, they are too cool, or “blue,” compared to what we find in nature. One way I work around this is by putting blue into my shadows to help the greens feel warmer.
There are four basic “laws” for working with pastel.
- Work Hard to Soft
- Work Dark to Light
- Match Your Values
- Match Your Temperatures
To get our colors to feel right, we focus on rules 3 & 4. Rules 1 & 2 focus on the particulars of working with pastel. Matching your values refers to getting you darks dark and your lights light. Think about painting a portrait. Imagine that you are painting a person who is wearing a hat on a sunny day. Depending upon the placement of the sun, if you don’t get the white of the eyes dark enough, it is not going to read well. You have to forget that the white of the eyes are “white” and paint what you see. I recommend forgetting the colors of everything and then painting what you see, or maybe what you feel. As you paint, ask yourself, if you are painting a sunny day, do your lights and darks say “sunny day?”
Then I focus on Temperature. Notice in the Four Basic Laws that “match color” is not listed. And that is a good thing because the particular colors really don’t matter. As I explained earlier, I tend to put blue in the shadows and yellow or oranges in the lights, if that is my vision.
Well, it is still February. To cope, I foresee a trip to the desert part of the botanical gardens. And I started a new not-so-green summer scene, from a photo reference of course.
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~ Twyla Tharp