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Color Study in Pastels

posted Apr 8, 2014, 5:32 PM by Kathleen Peters
In all of my work with fiber - and in anything creative, really - the area I feel I would like the most improvement is in choosing the right color to make my work come alive.  Sue Pearson is a friend of mine who is very talented with color - and she does amazing still life pastel paintings.  After several years, I finally got the chance to take her class so that I could glean some much needed color theory.  

I had a blast learning some tricks from her.  Last fall I took my first class with her and learned the basics of blending colors.  I made my oldest son a painting of a red breasted nuthatch.  


And then I went on to do a pastel painting of painted trilliums for my daughter in order to learn about shadowing.  Oddly enough, I didn't realize that shadows are more than just a darker color of the object.  For example, sometimes on a green leaf, adding some red will deepen the shadow and liven up the picture.  Take a look at how the white petals actually have shades of purples and pinks to show the shadows and delicacy.



This winter, I took a second class with her.  In this class, we focused on light and reflection.  Since, I had done a painting for my older two children, I decided to make a painting of a fruit bowl for my youngest.  He seems to do nothing but eat fruit, and apples are his favorite.  The picture here is not quite finished, but you can see how I spent extra time depicting the reflection of the window on the fruit.  And notice how some surfaces reflect more crisply than others.  I used some of the skills I gleaned from the first class also.  Notice how the green grapes have just a tint of rust on the shadowed sides.  And see how the yellow apple has pink in the shadow, while the table cloth has hues of blue from the reflection of the bowl.  



In the past, I have learned that sometimes a break from fiber can really enhance my fiber once I get back to it.  I am now looking forward to trying some of these techniques in felt!



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