Monday, July 20, 2015

Fingers, pastels and bridging

Fingers and pastel 
I am asked many times about how often my fingers are in the pastel. This is a tricky subject for pastelist. Many abhor all finger use. Some use fingers and tools to smooth the pastel. No absolutes for me, I simply do whatever works.
Smooshing the pastel around with your fingers can create beauty. Or sometimes you can unintentionally make dead passages- places that have lost the crystalline vibrancy of pastel. I use my fingers mostly in the bottom layers of my paintings. It is how I will move the pastel. And sometimes I "bridge."
What is bridging? When a large change in color temperature is needed your paintings can benefit from a more gradual transition. To do so you need to select colors that move the eye along the color wheel to the desired next stop. It makes a more appealing transition. For example, in this field painting, the bridge from the warmer grasses to the cool tree shadows travel from a melon color, to more pink and purple then going over to blue and green. Some colors are in the layers and some are more present.
Try it some time and see how it feels.

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