Pastel Tutorial: #9

Square Tetrad: Four colors equidistant on the color wheel.

Marigolds on fire! This key is Red-Orange  (it could also be orange or even yellow-orange)

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Look for a composition which gives you just enough info, not too much. It would take days to do every flower, every petal, every leaf… Gauge  your drawing to the amount of time you have and your intention.

Use a viewfinder!

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Square tetrad hues for this piece are cross complements: Red-Orange, Blue-Green and  Yellow, Violet.

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After making a line drawing with  light gray pastel pencil, begin with the background first. So, I’m looking at “negative space”; the space in-between things. Incorporate the entire palette into the space, warming it where the subject is close to light and cooling it where shadow creeps in, using tints for lights and tones for shadows.

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In this approach, work from the background to the foreground. Foliage sits in the middle ground and is cool with some highlights.

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Because the ground of the paper is the general hue of the marigolds, you need only pay attention to the highlight and shadow in the flowers.

Here see yellow highlights and a shade of red for the low areas, use violet, in addition, to shade. Because violet complements yellow, it will  make the highlights on the flowers “pop”.

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Here a touch of color, there a touch, everywhere a touch, touch…

Violet in flower shadow:

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For the final pass, reinforce the contrast, pushing darks to make flowers “pop” spatially, and emphasize backlight to enhance silhouette.  Fill in areas to “close out” distracting marks and color. Keep in mind temperature. By placing cool violet in the shadows around the flowers you can  push the space back, which compels the flowers  to advance.

This depiction reinforces the “personality” of marigolds; they jump out and grab your attention. Not a subtle flower. Even their sent is very strong.

Thinking about your subject/object in terms of “personality” can often help you decide on a color scheme and direction.

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Vocabulary

  • Square tetrad
  • “pop”
  • “close out” (the grain of the paper)

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