The Pastel Palette Method

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Day 12 My Book: "The Pastel Palette Method" The Layers of Pastel as Glazes of Color

Pastel as Glazes of Color

The definition of glaze is a verb which means to fit panes of glass into a window frame. I want you to think of glazing as laying colored windows of glass over your surface. Remember that you can see through glass. Any color can be transparent or opaque. Whether you can see the colors underneath is the difference between transparent colors and opaque colors. Glazes are the application of transparent colors.

Now is the stage of the sequential application of glazes after the initial color layer. This is where you will begin to darken the darks and increase the color saturation of your painting. With every mixture on your pastel palette, you will be applying more layers to your painting. Remember to build up your darks and mid tones slowly. Adjust the shapes and how those shapes relate in edge work to their adjacent shapes. Just as the coast line of land on the ocean, make sure you get the topography correct. Are the borders hard or soft or both? Observe this aspect carefully along with color, saturation and value. You will gain accuracy in your painting by matching closely to your model (or photograph).

You want to cover the entire pastel painting with color because much of your decisions about color and edge work are going to be relative to other parts of your painting. Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, stated: 
“The chief consideration for a good painter is to think out the whole of his picture, to have it in his head as a whole... so that he may then execute it with warmth and as if the entire thing were done at the same time.”

I agree that this philosophy helps both in the accuracy of your painting as well its cohesiveness. You do not want your painting to be a collection of parts such as a nose mouth and eyes but one organism that is affected by light and air all at the same time. Trust me this will make a sound difference in your artwork over time.

Keep your related color mixtures on your pastel palette together; your warm mixtures, your reds, oranges and golden colors in a different area than your cool colors, the blues, greys, and greens. Just as you would mix oil or acrylic colors on your palette, you want to keep them clean and not muddy. Muddy happens when too may colors are mixed together either intentionally or unintentionally. Another way to keep your colors clean is not to use the same triangle for different mixed colors that you will be applying to your painting. Work the painting to the stage that you see here. The colors are beginning to darken and the shapes are more refined. Tomorrow we will begin the middle game of our portrait using the "Pastel Palette Method".

“Study of Vermeer”   (work in progress)
Pastel on Masonite Board
Timothy John-Luke Smith

Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 11 My Book: "The Pastel Palette Method" The Initial Layers of Color

Initial Layers of Color

After the drawing and the under painting steps are complete, it's time for the initial step of the color portion of the “Pastel Palette Method”.  

When you start the color portion of the painting you want to find the local colors of your subject. This would be the “flesh color” for example of your portrait or figure. I am not asking you to find that color in a pastel stick as done traditional with pastel painting. In the “Pastel Palette Method”, just as an oil painter does, I want you to mix the colors on your palette.

With your hardest pastels, such as, Cretacolor, or Rembrandt brand, I want you find two to three sticks of pastels and rub them next to one another on the sand paper of your “Pastel Palette”. Next, you will take one of your foam core triangles and mix the rubbed pastel colors together on the sand paper to mix the desired “flesh color”. This is how you will mix any two or more pastel pigments on the “Pastel Palette”. You may now go ahead and apply the mixture of the local color on the under painting. I gentle scumble the color onto the surface until there is a light glaze over the desired area of the painting.

Repeat this process throughout your painting. For example, find the local colors of the hair, the clothing and background. Mixing the colors on the “Pastel Palette” and applying them with the foam core triangles is a more exact way to apply these initial layers of color. Here is an example of what the initial layer of color over the under painting should look like:

“Study of Vermeer”   (work in progress)
Pastel on Masonite Board
Timothy John-Luke Smith

It is the very thin application of transparent color that allows the under painting to show through. This is the perfect base to gradually and slowly apply more color. Remember pastel is best when used in glazes as opposed to thick applications of powdered pigment. Tomorrow we will go further with application of color.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day 10: My Book : "The Pastel Palette Method" The Importance of the Under Painting

The Importance of the Under Painting

It is my contention that a solid, light line drawing followed by an under painting is crucial to create a pastel painting with a strong structure of both line and value. In art history the under painting was also known by different names. The word grisaille is one term that was used during 19th Century France at the ateliers and academies. I had also heard the phrase “dead color” used when referring to an under painting.

Here is an example of an under painting or grisaille done by the French Master, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

La Grande Odalisque
Jean Auguste Domique Ingres

When executing an under painting it is very important to adjust the values to be 2 values lighter than the finished painting will be; 2 values lighter on a scale from 1-8 with number 1 being black and number 8 being white. This is because when you glaze color over the under painting the painting will darken slightly with each layer. Remember that it is always easier to darken something than to make it lighter in painting.

I like to use Higgins Waterproof India Ink, for the under painting on the marble dust treated panel. My preferred method is definitely with the airbrush. With the airbrush you can slowly work up the values, gradually getting darker until you get to the desired value. Here you will also be shading the forms of the subject. You may also use the India Ink with a conventional paint brush employing a water color technique; in both cases you will want to gradually work from light to dark. This example below is the look when I feel the under painting is ready for the color stage. Notice that the values are lighter than the finished piece will be and the major shading and modeling of the forms have taken place.

 "Prosephone in Autumn"
The Under Painting Stage
Timothy John-Luke Smith

In the next chapter we will explore the initial color layers of our pastel painting using the “Pastel Palette Method”.

Day 12 My Book: "The Pastel Palette Method" The Layers of Pastel as Glazes of Color

Pastel as Glazes of Color The definition of glaze is a verb which means to fit panes of glass into a window frame. I want you to t...