Pastel Technique: Once You Go Blue, You'll Never Go Black


Before I publish my work-in-progress dissertation condemning the use of the "color" black, I thought I would share progress on "Daybreak on Marton Field" and the deep shady portion of the painting in the foreground.

Trying to keep my pallete toward the blues and greens portion of the color wheel, I chose a deep blue, bold pastel to work the darkest shade of the foreground. No black. The blue is so intense it looks like it has been smeared on a piece of glass covering the painting:


Then I took a dark value green blue to start conveying the strokes of tall grasses in this shady area:



Next step is to continue to soften the blue by applying my dark green in different directions: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, creating a cross-hatching effect.


At this stage, by darker shady portions of the grasses are in place. I will (next time) add lighter value greens to build depth in these weeds.


Here is the reference photo: