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