View Full Version : Darkest Browns

10-25-2018, 11:06 PM
Which maker of soft pastels makes the darkest brown that don't go grey?

I'm working on Uart dark 500 paper.

I paint horses and two of mine are very dark brown horses. I have NuPastels and many Terry Ludwig including his Intense Darks I and II. The dark browns go grey.

I also have the basic Sennelier and the Plein Air Sennelier sets.

Any tips are appreciated.


Donna T
10-26-2018, 07:46 PM
Hello and welcome to the forum! I'm not sure I understand what you mean by your dark browns going gray ... do you mean they are more neutral than you want? I didn't realize that UArt made dark paper so I'm wondering if the paper color is influencing your pastel colors in a way that is making the pastels appear more neutral or less intense. Maybe your dark browns would look richer and browner if they were placed on something lighter than black so they would stand out more? Sorry I'm not being very helpful. I struggle with browns. Some lean toward blue and some lean toward red. Maybe there is no true brown. :rolleyes:

water girl
10-26-2018, 09:48 PM
If you are close to an art store that carries single sticks, you can play with the colors on different colored or textured papers.

10-27-2018, 09:34 AM
To clarify, Uart dark paper is not black; it's just dark, like a charcoal.

I'm working on a painting that includes horses. Some browns work well, but when I go to a darker brown (over a lighter one), the color doesn't get darker AND stay brown. It goes grey instead. I'm sorry if that's not helpful; I don't know of another way to phrase it.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. :)

Donna T
10-27-2018, 10:14 AM
Some browns work well, but when I go to a darker brown (over a lighter one), the color doesn't get darker AND stay brown. It goes grey instead.

Oh, I think I might know what's going on. Usually when we layer a lighter value pastel over a darker value we get a neutral or gray or muddy effect. Starting with your darkest color and then adding lighter ones on top might allow you to keep the brown that you want. I looked for help on Karen Margulis's Painting My World (http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/search?q=+mud) blog and found this in a post about purposely making grays in order to paint clouds:

" Whenever you mix the complements together they become grayed so any three colors are bound to create mud...I mean gray!"

This might also be going on with your browns since they are made up of blends to begin with. A brown with any amount of green in it layered over a brown containing red, for example, will become more neutral or gray because the red and green complements are mixing. I hope any of this might help you get and keep the browns that you need.

10-28-2018, 10:01 AM

Thank you. That was really helpful. I knew that with pastels it's darkest to lightest, but I didn't realize the greying effect would happen. :)