Day 14 My Book : “The Pastel Palette Method” Now for the Softer Pastels

The Pastels Must Get Softer and Triangles Change
Now we are getting deeper into the process of applying the color onto our surface using the “Pastel Palette Method”.  After several layers of pastel, the process of using the harder pastels and using the foam core triangles are no longer effective. There is now more pastel pigment on the surface and you must paint with softer pastels going forward. At this stage we will gently apply the softer pastel pigments with the foam triangles. These foam triangles are able to load more pigments and deposit them over the harder pastel already on your painting. This is economy of surface in action.
This is much like painting in oils and the technique of fat over lean. The same principle is at work here. You need to progressively apply softer pastel over the harder pastel. I want you to begin to use the pastel brands such as Holbein, Windsor and Newton, and Art Spectrum at this time. These brands will cover the existing pastel pigment on your painting rather easily. The mixing of the pastels on the sand paper is the same; However, the difference is that you are using the foam triangles and not the foam core triangles. You’ll notice the color just flows off the foam triangles with more ease and authority than that of the foam core triangles. Take your time with the application of pastel.
With these softer pastels you are layering, progressively, darker in the darks and lighter in the lights; while making sure that you are working the whole painting together. Refine the shapes as you paint and continue to look for the subtle edge play of hard and soft borders. This the lion’s share of the painting process. Below is where the painting will be during this stage.

“Study of Vermeer” (work in progress)
Pastel on Masonite Board
Timothy John-Luke Smith
Be concerned about the relative temperature and values of the colors. Is the dark in her pupil lighter than the shadow behind her ear?  Is it lighter than the shadow under her nose? Make these comparisons and you will find the correct ones. Colors are either cool or dark. In the same way as values, compare the colors of your subject to find the proper temperatures. 
Moving around your painting will help you to create a painting that has unity and structure. Tomorrow we will explore getting to the lightest lights and the dark accents and when to use the packing peanuts.

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