View Full Version : Pastel Color Charts

02-28-2003, 01:32 PM
Does anyone make color charts with their pastels??? I mean mixing the pastels to see how they look together??? Or do artists just do that on a sheet of paper while they are working on a specific painting???

I am having a hard time determining what is a warm or cool color. I watched Jackie Simmonds video last night...and she had a wonderful section on color theory....but I have a hard time...especially in the blue area....knowing that ultramarine blue is a warm, colbalt is a cool blue. The other colors I can pretty much tell. I am tired of making mud on my paintings!!! So, I thought I would try a color chart...by mixing my colors together on a neutral piece of paper...to see how they blend together.

Am I thinking of this correctly???? A warm red and a cool blue will produce a muddy violet...or even a brown?????

HELP!!! I didn't put this in color theory because I wanted it specifically for pastel artists.

Thank you!!!

02-28-2003, 03:58 PM
When I work on a painting, I use a small area on the paper to test my colors to see how they will 'fit' into the overall scheme. I will usually put the color that a new color is going to go alongside on the test area too, to see how the two look together.

The funny thing about charts is...they don't always fit the scenario of the painting. For instance, ultramarine blue is usually a warm blue because of the red undertones, but I often use it in a 'cool' shadow area. Purple will look warm next to red...but cooler next to blue. Hope I'm making sense!

Color temperature is about relationships. Painting plein air has taught me that every daub of color has a relationship to all the other daubs around it! and as they all fit together, they relate as a whole. When I don't get a daub right...it sticks out of the painting like a sore thumb...LOL....but I'm learning!

02-28-2003, 05:57 PM
I KNEW that you would know what I was talking about!!! Thanks for your help.....I guess it is all relative. I noticed that Jackie leaves an ample space around her painting to test colors. I will start doing that....it all depends on your daubs of paint around it. Makes perfect sense.....and here I thought that I would have to memorize.....Cobalt Blue is cool, U Blue is warm...etc, etc.

Thank you ever so much...you are an inspiration to us all!!!

It was 40 degrees here today....I can't wait to get out and paint!! I had to work today, otherwise, I would have been out there!!!

Keep paintin,


03-02-2003, 06:05 AM
Been away for a few days so missed your first post, or I would have said EXACTLY what Carly said!! Colour is a funny business; although it is reasonably simple to put down an individual colour square on a piece of paper, and CLASSIFY it as a warmer, or a cooler, say, blue (as with the Ultra and Cobalt example), that classification can change when that colour is placed next to another colour.

To get the warm/cool thing into your head, take a look at a colour wheel again. Blues which move towards purple, and then red, on the colour wheel, are SAID to be warmer blues. Blues which move towards the green part of the wheel, are SAID to be cooler blues.

But you MUST make allowances for the surrounding colours when you are actually working on a picture.

One important thing. I doubt that it is the warms and cools thing that is causing you to create mud. To get really well away from so-called MUD, just be careful of putting complementary colours on top of each other and mixing them up like a pudding with blending. It can work to have hints of a colour's complementary pair sparkling through cleanly and separately in your work, but when you BLEND an orange with a blue, or a red with a green, you get a murky brown. THAT is what you need to avoid.

Hope this helps. Do let me know if you have other queries.


03-02-2003, 12:06 PM
Hi there,
Just a small thing to add. The Pastel Journal MARCH/APRIL 2003 has an article about color that you may find helpful.

Like the others, I leave an area (typically at the bottom) of my painting to test out colors in advance.


03-02-2003, 05:04 PM
I think I was making this color thing harder than it is to understand. Thank you very much!! I have started another painting with these principles in mind...and watched your video tape again Jackie.....it is wonderful!! I always had trouble with light and shadow...and your tape made it CRYSTAL CLEAR!! It is sure nice putting a voice with your responses. I now read your responses and hear your beautiful English accent!!

I am also starting to leave room on my painting for color testing...that is an EXCELLENT idea!!

Well back to my painting!!! Just got done with blocking in my color....and I must say....my colors are electric now!!! Not the same old MUUUUUDDDDDDD!!!!

Thanks everyone!!!