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Liquid Gold - Pastel Painting with Unison Soft Pastels

Master Colorist, Lyndelle Stonick Demonstrates her Method of Painting with Unison Soft Pastels

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"Liquid Gold"
12 in.x 16 in. Unison Pastel Artwork
by Lydelle Stonick

photo reference

To create my painting, "Liquid Gold", I start from a photographic reference and work on a textured 12"x16" surface with my deliciously soft Unison pastels.

Step 1

First, I lay in my drawing. It's not important that it be accurate. I start with a warm ochre color that is similar to my subject.

Next, I begin filling in my dark areas using a warm reddish brown. I then switch to a lighter value, which offers some lovely rich red tones for my trees and reflections. My intent is to fill in the white paper with darker color to build on, layering lighter values.

Step 2

At this stage, things start to look abstract. Remember I am not detailing, just refining.

Once I am finished blocking in my under-painting, I work from the top of the paper so that I do not have my light sky colors dragging over my dark forested areas. I start with my sky, using light lavender, some light blue into the mid sky to warm it up, and a nice light ultramarine
blue to create more depth. I use a dark blue green combined with a light blue for my pine forest with a medium violet blue to soften and mute the distant trees on the mountain top. The same blue green I used in the pine forest works great for the shadow on my house.

To articulate the landscape, I introduce more saturated colors and establish greater contrast with fall tree colors by using light salmon, red earth, dark orange ochre, an intense yellow-orange, and sunlight yellow. For shadows I use red and blue violet shades to give them a little more punch.

The river has both warm and cool blues in it along with dark green for some of the rippled areas. A cool brown is great for the tree reflections.

Step 3

At this point I feel that it is time to balance the cool water colors with the warmer trees. This I do by using red earth, orange, and a medium yellow to pull out the lighter sunlit yellow -oranges. To vary the intensity from background to foreground and to cool and neutralize the shadow areas, I predominately use a lighter red violet.

It is important to note that I am only using the pastels to blend and not my fingers. Fingers can remove and mix the pigments so much that the painting will look lifeless if over done.

I now need to clean up, articulate and redefine. This is the delicate "fine tuning" that either makes or breaks a painting. To tie things together, I make subtle changes using a soft blue violet shade to lighten the sky on the horizon, around the tree tops, and highlighting rocks in the water. Light yellow works well on the rocks to cool and mute. A medium red earth tone adds a nice touch to the bushes and trees. To finish, I use a warm neutral white for the rapids.My painting is complete!

Lyndelle Stonick

Lyndelle Stonick, a master colorist, painter and pastelist, won her first award at age ten. She is an internationally recognized, award winning artist and art professor with 30 years of experience. Lyndelle acts as juror, lectures, conducts workshops and has helped many students to success. She is president and founder of USPA, United Society of Pastel Artists. Visit her at www.lyndelle.com

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