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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hopkins

Paint watercolors like using pastels?

Karen Margulis is my favorite pastel artist. She does "amazing" landscape work using pastels. She (most of the time) uses a watercolor under-painting to get rid of the paper color. Pastels don't need that white color.


So, I had the thought of picking my colors the same way she does when she grabs her colors for a painting and only use those colors. Add neutral or white to tone down or up a colors value.


This morning I sorted all brands into 97 different "potential" colors that I currently own. Some colors are duplicated but are of a different manufacturer.

Normally when she does a painting she will grab 20 to 30 different colors to paint a painting.


One of the tools she uses to make sure her colors are analogous to each other is this color wheel below:

Look at your reference photo. Decide what you want as the dominant color (what is your focal point color) then use the colors that appear in the dominant, adjacent, complement, and discord(s) colors and your painting should be harmonious! The discord colors are usually the color you use to add some eye candy "spots" of color that you want the viewer to see "around" the focal point. Just a couple of dabs of color here or there.


I was watching Paul Clarke do some paintings this week (my next project) and he used some pastels to add a few flowers to his painting... Sly devil...


Wish me luck! I will report back how it went.

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