Chalk Pastels 2: Color Theory For Dry Media
Chalk Pastels And Paper
Safety Supplies (gloves, Mask)
This is the color wheel, a continuous circular rainbow. The different colors are called “Hues”.
A single Hue, such as pink, can be light or dark. This is the “Value” of a color.
“Saturation” is how vibrant a Hue is. High Saturation is vivid, low is dull or neutral.
Complimentary colors are opposites on the color wheel. Mixed together they make neutrals.
Yellow/purple, blue/orange and all opposites on the color wheel are complimentary colors.
Neutral means brownish or grayish. The most neutral color is gray. All colors mixed make a neutral.
Red, yellow and blue are considered the “Primary Colors” because you can mix them to get the others.
You get “Secondary Colors” when you mix two Primaries together. They are green, purple and orange.
“Tertiary Colors” are those in between each Primary and Secondary color, such as yellow-green.
Your pastel set likely has the primary and secondary colors. We can make most colors we don’t have.
When you mix two colors of paint together, you can blend the pigments thoroughly.￼
A pointillist painter like Seurat puts different colored dots of paint next to each other instead.
This is part of his most famous painting, made entirely of dots.
“Optical Color Mixing” is when your eyes “mix” together dots of different colors next to eachother.
That’s what happens when you layer pastels. You see the distinct colors, they are not fully blended.
Here I’ve layered yellow and blue. We definitely see the effect as green...
...but we also can see the separate specks of blue and yellow. This makes the colors vibrate.
If you have a small set, you can make the in-between colors. The layered colors look more exciting!
You can even make browns and neutrals from bright colors.
A purple pastel compared with two different combinations of magenta and blue. I like the mixes best!
The color of the paper showing through also contributes to the optical color mix...
...like in this gorgeous pastel by Margaret Evans. (From Instagram @margaretevansart)
In 1 & 2 we understood materials, safety, and optical color mixing. Now let’s create pastel art! (3)
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Adding Color To Pen And Ink Tree
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