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mrking
06-12-2007, 12:56 AM
I have a set of 48 Koss, a set of 15 NuPastels and a box of 30 Rembrandts coming in the mail.

However, I am finding when I find a reference photo that I would like to try that I don't have the colour range for it.

My question is.... when you first started out, or possibly even to this day, do you buy unboxed pastels according to what you want to paint?

IE. Did/Do you go into a store with your reference photo and choose the colours you need?

Mike

M Douglas
06-12-2007, 02:29 AM
Hi Mike
I started out with the large (96 I think) set of NuPastels, added some Rembrandts and am now working on getting more of the softer pastels. Here is a link to Dakota's website showing pastels in order of softest to hardest. http://www.dakotapastels.com/index_softpastels.shtml You will want to gradually build up a collection of both. When painting with soft pastels you layer your hardest ones first then add your softer ones on top. Quite often I go into the store with my reference photo to match colors.

Melodie

sjb
06-12-2007, 10:33 AM
Mike,

I started with a 48 set of student-grade Alphacolor pastels. That got me started, then I started adding Rembrandts and Senneliers to fill in areas where I didn't have any colors. But then I got a set of 96 Rembrandts (Landscape palette), and I don't worry much any more... :)

Someday, if I start working with portraits, I might do the same and get a portrait set.

Simon

Bringer
06-12-2007, 11:52 AM
Hi Mike,

It wouldn't be the first time that I go to a store with a photo and try the pastels on it :-)

Best regards,

Josť

DAK723
06-12-2007, 01:39 PM
Yes, have gone to the store many times to get a few colors that I need for a specific painting. You may find that somewhere around 100 pastels are a good minimum number to have if you really want to match colors.

You may find that matching colors to a reference is not necessary. I have just completed a few flower pastels and, even though I have about 25 greens, I found that I could still not match the color of my reference for the stems and leaves. But it didn't really matter - the colors I chose were close enough, and more importantly the correct value.

And of course, you can always blend and mix your pastels on the paper to get colors you don't have, although the big advantage to doing pastels (as opposed to oils, watercolors or acrylics) is the ability to have a pastel for each color and avoid mixing!

Don

artist_pw
06-17-2007, 02:46 AM
Hi:

From going to the recent IAPS conventions and workshops, it seems like a lot of pastel artists who I really like mix their pastels up and will use any of them at any time. That sort of made me feel a little validated, because it seems like I have a natural tendency to do that.

You might try some scumbling or other pastel mixing on a test page - I usually like that anyway, and try to let some visual mixing occur rather than going for the spot-on color.

Also, if you have some photo editing software where you have a color picker (usually it's an icon like a dropper), that will allow you to bring up a photo, and click in any area of the photo and get the exact color that is there. Then on another blank page, you can switch tools to like a paint brush (usually, when I'm trying to analyze the color like this, I use an airbrush tool), and then 'draw' a little swatch). This can really help me see what the actual colors are - of course, you have to allow for the color on the monitor and if you print the test swatch colors, the printer might be a little off, but you can really tell if a color is warm, cool or really pretty neutral. (Corel Painter that I got with a Watcom tablet shows the color and the gray balance in a way that it's really pretty easy to guestimate the value.)

If you have any questions about how to do this, let me know, and I'll post some photos. Hope this helps, and gives you some ideas.

nana b
06-17-2007, 02:04 PM
Paula, I would be interested in how you do that. It sounds pretty interesting and sounds like it would help a lot!:wave:

nana b

artist_pw
06-17-2007, 07:00 PM
Hi:

Sure. I'll try to make an article here that will be more step-by-step, but in the meantime, if you have any nice software that has some tools including a color dropper that allows you to pick up a color from a digital photo and a drawing tool, and can have two files open at once. Your first file will be your reference photo, and your second file can be a blank, and once you've picked the color from the reference photo using the dropper tool, you can then switch over to a drawing tool, and in the blank document, draw a swatch of the color. I've been using Corel Painter that came with my Watcom tablet, and for any selected color, it shows what the color is from a rainbow wheel, and then a triangle to show the relative balance between white, black and chroma - so you can really judge the value and the relative cool or warm of the color. Of course, you have to realize the color from the screen or printer might be a little off, but it should at least give you an idea that's somewhere in the ballpark. In a pinch, you could use Microsoft Paint, but you would probably have to make a screen shot of with a blank file and your reference photo and cut and paste that into a new Paint file because it only allows one file to be open at a time.

Here are my demo photos - the reference photo is from a section of a snapshot I took during last week's wonderful workshop with Albert Handell and Anita Louise West. I am trying to see views of smaller, more personal types of landscapes and switch over to make watercolor underpaintings that have more delicate applications of pastel. This reference photo was taken in Shawnee Mission Park in Kansas, in the Walnut Grove section of the park. There's a really nice little winding stream going through the area.

The first image shows the Corel Painter software with the ref photo on the left and a blank file on the right.

The second image shows the section of the photo where I picked various colors inside the red circle. If you look closely at the lefthand side, you can see one of the colors was already selected - a sort of very cool green.

The next photo shows that color after it was drawn in the blank file using the airbrush tool. If you look at the color window, you can see where this color is on the color wheel - it is more white than black, and the pure color is really on the edge between the green and the blue.

The next photo shows several colors, and the color wheel shows one of the other colors from the swatch file, as the last photo.

Hope this helps and gives you some ideas.

nana b
06-18-2007, 12:30 AM
Paula, thanks a lot. I tried it and the colors don't look true. Your's did so I don't know what the problem is. I will try again later.

nana b

Deborah Secor
06-18-2007, 01:05 AM
I know what you're referring to, Paula, and I do it in my program, too. It's pretty interesting to click over a section of a photo and see the color so clearly isolated, only to click virtually next door and see its companion color. It makes you realize that you can use any of a number of colors to complete a painting, none of which is the exact 'right' one!

Hope you don't mind if I return this thread to an old-fashioned way of planning color. Aside from the idea of only having a few colors available to use, I assume Mike is struggling to decide which colors to use. I teach my students a way to plan colors that often results in a nice painting.

Here's the photo I used.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jun-2007/23609-pansy_pots+.jpg

And my color plan, with a littel test painting to one side.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jun-2007/23609-DSCN7150.JPG
The piece of paper this is on is 6x9", and you can see the painting is only half of that. It's been toned a neutral dark gray color. I challenge my students to find three major colors in the photo they're using: the predominant one, in this case the red-violet swatch at the bottom on the left hand side, a secondary color, here the orange swatch, and a third color that you could use to complete the painting, which is the blue-violet swatch. They're to lay out the painting with these three colors, completing up to about 75% of it using only these. Then they can select several other colors, making smaller marks around their larger swatches. I want them to keep the little test painting loose and colorful, not struggle to make a perfect little painting. The idea is to end up with a plan for the three most important colors, and maybe 10 other colors you see in the photo. Paint fast and loose, just experimenting with colors.

You can paint the same photo using a different set of colors, of course, so that the whole look comes out differently. I encourage them to try different color plans if the first one doesn't please them. This way they choose what they want to use before making the actual painting, thinking through the process ahead of time.

You might give it a try--you can then use your photo, and this color sketch with the color plan next to it, so that you don't fumble around looking for the 'right' colors and end up making mud or wasting a lot of pastel! If you've already made a plan you actually have more freedom to play with the techniques needed to achieve the look you want.

Hope that helps... wish I had more time to show you, but come take a class sometime! :D

Deborah

artist_pw
06-18-2007, 01:44 AM
Hi:

That's correct Deborah. It's completely likely that we'll never have all of the pastels to match every possible color (even though, we all seem to quest for that ;) ). This is just a way to see some of the general colors in the photo, and you can always adjust them any way you want. They may not look quite correct isolated from their surrounding colors in the swatch file based on the photo (and always keeping in mind the screen or printer different with real life) but that's how you can see really see them sometimes, and based on this thread, it sounded like it might be easier to do for some folks so they would have bigger spots of the colors they might be trying to match. I also thought it would be good to try to get some of the possible colors, and then make samples where you might try to mix your colors to make an area where you could allow visual mixing. Hope this helps to just give you some ideas. :)

mrking
06-18-2007, 03:05 AM
Deborah,

If I am ever in New Mexico I'll be knocking at your door. Class or no class. :)

I opened a few photos and applied what you have shown, pulling out colours to initiate a pallet.

Wow, I pulled up some images and the different colours I was able to pull out threw me.

The colour blue always surprises me, it shows up most everywhere. Deep red as well kept popping up. Colours like raw umber, burnt sienna, etc. turned up in pretty much all the photos. No wonder those are widely used pigments! So cool.

Thanks for the advice, this way of analyzing a pict for a pallet will come in very handy. As well as save me $$ on buying pastels! :D

Mike

nana b
06-18-2007, 08:18 PM
Paula, I think your idea is really going to help me! Thank's so much for sharing

And Deborah, I'm for sure going to try your idea of planning for colors, what great help you two gave!

nana b

Pabs
06-30-2007, 09:22 AM
I admit I slipped up, and, like many a beginner bought a few sets of cheap pastels - a landscape set, a protrait set etc. Then, after so many poor works, got rid of them and bought a wooden box set of mixed W&N's. No specific reason other than it's what the shop had, so I bought them. Later on I went back and got just a cardboard set of the same, just to give me two sticks of each of the colours I already had, plus around half as many again new colours. Make sense?
If I have not got the exact colour, I just use the next nearest, after all, it's my work and no-one is really going to argue about a total colour match, (well, not that i've met yet anyway). That gives me a total colour count of around 60, which is more than enough for me.
Regards,
Pabs

MarieMeyer
06-30-2007, 11:44 AM
Hi:

Sure. I'll try to make an article here that will be more step-by-step, but in the meantime, if you have any nice software that has some tools including a color dropper that allows you to pick up a color from a digital photo and a drawing tool, and can have two files open at once. Your first file will be your reference photo, and your second file can be a blank, and once you've picked the color from the reference photo using the dropper tool, you can then switch over to a drawing tool, and in the blank document, draw a swatch of the color. I've been using Corel Painter that came with my Watcom tablet, and for any selected color, it shows what the color is from a rainbow wheel, and then a triangle to show the relative balance between white, black and chroma - so you can really judge the value and the relative cool or warm of the color.

Paula,

In the program that you use (or in any others you may be familiar with) can the program describe the colors you've picked out using color notation systems like Munsell, RBG, Pantone, CIE L*a*b, etc?

Snowbound
06-30-2007, 04:07 PM
Deborah, I like your approach, and your example is great! I use a similar approach, but usually I just use a bit of leftover paper to lay out my color scheme, whether painting "live" or using a ref photo, and lay out my composition on the paper with charcoal. Yours seems a more systematic way of going about it.

Mike, I also don't worry about having every possible shade. I can't see that it is necessary at all. A good range is all I have or feel I need. When I want different colors, there are many techniques I can use with the pastels I have, and those techniques make me a better artist. (I use the same bit of paper to experiment with effects.) I've never bothered with trying to get an exact color match, but rather try to capture the essence of my subject through shape, color mass and relationships, shadow, composition, etc.

Dayle Ann

artist_pw
07-02-2007, 02:37 AM
Paula,

In the program that you use (or in any others you may be familiar with) can the program describe the colors you've picked out using color notation systems like Munsell, RBG, Pantone, CIE L*a*b, etc?

Hi:

I haven't seen any specific notation for the color, but I haven't needed to look. I just use Corel Painter, and I couldn't find anything specific for the selected color. I can save the swatch file as a jpeg and maybe open it in some other software that I have that might be able to give me the info on the color, but I don't know which one right now. Sorry about that - what software are you trying to do this in?

chewie
07-02-2007, 11:58 AM
as for getting a larger range, just try buying the largest half-stick set you can find, of a GOOD brand. trying to fight with poor materials will only frustrate you in the end.

and deborah, that is a super example/lesson! i'm bookmarking it, its a keeper. i've got the plan to do a few small color plans with various combos just to see what will happen. love that idea, thank you!