Trying out soft pastels

pastel painting Blacktail Plateau Drive in Yellowstone National Park May 13 2019 copy
“Distant Light”, 6×8 pastel on paper

I definitely was not looking for another painting medium to buy. But several oil painters I admire talk about how much soft pastels hooked them when they tried them out, and my curiosity got the better of me.

I do see why they enjoy them! I like that I can put down color directly, and layer to build new colors. My set is very small, and rather than fall down the hole of endless pastel colors I’m seeing what I can do with the colors I have. I think this will help me develop the ability to choose colors based more on value and temperature, and how they relate to each other in context, and less on trying to match something exactly. Or put another way, use the colors I want to use, not the ones I think I should use. Since this is something I’d love to develop in my oil painting as well, it seemed like a fun way to push that direction.

I’m excited to see how the pastels and oils influence each other! If nothing else, they’re really fun to work with.