Covering Large Areas of Color
“Study of Vermeer” (work in progress)
Pastel on Masonite Board
Timothy John-Luke Smith
When working with the “Pastel Palette Method”, there comes a time when you want to work with pastels in the traditional sense. Sometimes applying the pastel on the surface with the pastel stick is actually best. One time time this is definitely true is when you are covering large areas of color such as a background.
Using the pastel stick directly on the surface is vastly more efficient for large areas. You don’t need to be exact in large areas and the triangles would take too much time to cover them. In this instance you would simply find the pastels that would make the colors that you would need and then layer them until you have the desired color and value. The next step is where the technique differs using the “Pastel Palette Method”.
Earlier in this book, I mentioned the particular packing peanuts that you can squeeze into different shapes; we will be using them to blend the colors of the background. The packing peanuts can be used on their side to blend large swaths of color or squeezed into points to blend tighter and smaller areas and along the edge of your subject.
This blending into the surface will also produce a smooth area of color to match the rest of your painting. It will create the perfect “block in” of the background and define the contours of your portrait or figure. You will have an exact background in a relatively short time. Once the background is in place, we will once again, be using the foam triangles and the sand paper palette to apply the pastel to the surface. This will help to vary the edges of your figure or portrait against the background. I will explore the subject of hard and soft edges later in this book.