View Full Version : Favorite Pastel Colors

12-01-2002, 07:50 PM
I know pastel color palettes are the same as with other mediums, but I was wondering if some of you have a favorite color palette of pastels that you go back to time and time again. Which are the pastels that you use up and have to replace over and over?

Landscape... Portrait.... Still life.... etc. ?

12-01-2002, 08:12 PM
What an emotive question!

I'll lay odds that every reply will be differerent.

As I paint mainly landscapes, my palette consists mainly of ultramarines, indigos,sap greens, olive greens, green greys, ochres, naples yellow, silver white, cream white, warm greys, paynes grays, violets, raw siennas, burnt siennas, red greys. Plus various reds.

Plus lots of others that I use ocasionally, but can't recall!

12-02-2002, 01:17 AM
I know none of the color names and none of those numbers! I just scan the box and pick up something to use!! LOL

I did find a neat wooden box to use for plein air that works well on my french easel! It was designed for watercolorists...but works fine for pastels too.

12-02-2002, 05:00 AM
How that palette would change, Johnnyred, if you lived in the Med, or in one of the hotter areas of the US. Certainly wouldn't work for the Grand Canyon either. It is a really English landscape palette.

Ilis the asnwer to having the "right" pastel is ..... have LOTS!!!

12-02-2002, 08:32 AM
Thanks Jackie! Yep, it is a typical English landscape palette. For the hotter countries I'd need more siennas (raw and burnt), yellows and as well as a more vivid variety of blues, blue-greens.

Looking at the Autumnal paintings from the USA, if I went there to paint those, then I'd need a lot more reds, yellows etc. Not quite the dull browns we get over here!

So the answer is as you quite rightly state - get lots of pastels, but of the right hues for the work you intend to do. No point in taking out lots greens and pale blues to the Med in Summer, for example, is there?

12-02-2002, 09:15 AM
Phyllis --

Jackie is right! Lots of pastels in many colors and variations.

But having said that, I tend to use up my pale colors such as the pale pink and lavendars. These I use for my white. Also the "black green" that Sennelier makes and Terry Ludwig makes -- this one is used for my black. Being from the southern US I use up a lot of greens -- and I am just about to order Terry's complete green set. So if I use a lot of greens, then it stands to reason I use a lot of purple and red (of many variations) to supplement those (useful in the shadowed depths of those oak trees). Don't use many of the oranges, even painting the fall scenes. Do use a lot of yellow ochres, though! I am just now learning to use the aquas and blue-greens for shadow areas and distant trees in the landscape. As I said, and Jackie said -- Lots of different pastels needed!!!

Oh, by the way -- we are in the process of Terry planning a workshop here in Atlanta in probably August or September next year. It is a joint venture between the Atlanta Artist Center and the Southeastern Pastel Society. Try to put it on your calendar to take the class.

I realize if I lived in a different part of the work, the palette of colors would change dramatically! When I paint scenes from Jamaica, my greens are there, but they are quite different from the southern US greens.

What are your favorites?

12-02-2002, 10:53 AM
I agree the best thing is to have tons of pastels, but I think Marsha told me what I'm asking for. All of us have different flavors and different types of work, but haven't you looked at someones work saw that they favor some colors over others and thus those become their signature colors? Johnny... I agree they might change with the territory and subject. Soooooo true.

When I took a pastel class with Marsha, I did notice that she used lots of pinks for her whites. I'm assuming that Marsha might use up that almost white pink before she used up some of the other colors and so she would have to replace it more often than others. I think it's fun to explore why we "use up" certain colors on our palette before others and learn why artists that we admire do this or choose certain colors over others. :)

12-02-2002, 11:40 AM
I think more than anything, I look for the color that I see. This is especially true in portraits. And even then... I seem to be missing that particular color and end up blending a combination of colors.

What has amazed me is the amount of a dusty pale green I use in painting portraits. It's not uncommon to find an olive complextion that just needs that greening out to neutralize things.

I'm also especially fond of a an orangey ochre that I use for a base on my medium light color value. After that I can warm/cool/lighten/darken it anyway I choose. I'm certain it's a Rembrandt but I'm afraid I'll never be able to tell you the number - until I go to the store in the next few days to replace it. (Thanks for reminding me).

I've also learned that I use fewer and fewer light colors than I had expected. Perhaps it's the lack of snow in these parts.


12-02-2002, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by bnoonan

What has amazed me is the amount of a dusty pale green I use in painting portraits. It's not uncommon to find an olive complextion that just needs that greening out to neutralize things.


Wow, I would have never thought to use green..but then I have never tried a portrait. Glad to know this It's amazing what color can do for us, isn't it. :)

12-03-2002, 04:46 PM
I find I go through my darkest and lightest colours most quickly, - my very lightest shades which are used as white substitutes, and the very darkest almost blacks. Theres a very dark Art Spectrum green that I use lots for my darkest darks.