playing with colour fields in pastel, harmonious and complimentary colours

Colour field experiments in pastel on pale grey paper. Golds and blues. Vivien Blackburn

Colour field experiments. Pastel on grey paper. Blue, Violet and Gold. Vivien Blackburn
These small pastels - just over 5 inches square, were pure 'playing' with colour interaction - taking complimentary colours and making vibrant little squares of colour as the complimentaries zing against each other.
The second one hasn't photographed very well - the magentas are much more glowing in reality than they appear here.

Colour field experiment in pastel on grey paper. Greens and Russet. Vivien Blackburn
The last one makes me think of apples and autumn, the middle one of beaches on one of those deeply vivid blue days and the first late summer harvest time.
They were done with Inscribe pastels, which is a very cheap brand but really nice to use and with a wide colour range, I use them alongside my Unisons.
I do love the vivid colours of pastels and the kind of marks they make - that lovely mix of softly diffused and blended colour with rough marks put down and left untouched - such an expressive medium :>)
Do you use pastels? what kind?



Mainly Unison - and I love the blue one!
vivien said…
thanks :)

Unison for me too - but I always have have the Inscribe ones as well (though these belonged to the college) as they do some beautiful colours and they are lovely and soft and not at all expensive.

All my pastel brands are mixed together and separated according to colour.

I think they are ideal for someone testing out whether or not the will like pastels.
Casey Klahn said…
These abstracts are delicious! I love them all, Vivien.

Did you use a kneaded eraser to pick up some of the green? Diane Townsend taught me to lift out with tools (paper towel, tissue, eraser, etc.) as a way to not finish too early and to add texture, depth and content.

Not that these beauties need any changing - they are just wonderful. Do I hear a little bell ringing?
vivien said…
little bell ringing would be nice Casey!

and thanks :>)

I do often use a kneaded eraser or the little battery operated erasers to draw back into things but on this occasion I didn't - the drawing back into colour is usually very important in my work.
dinahmow said…
I was going to write an emphatic: "No! I make a dreadful mess."
Then I read the comment about colour swatches being a nice way to test the water. Hmmm...maybe I should be more open-minded.
Ann said…
Your work is always such a treat - I really like all of these - just gorgeous rich color!
I've not heard of Inscribe pastels. I've got mostly Rembrandts and NuPastels jumbled together by color. But I've had them all a very long time and should probably upgrade my collection :)
Robyn said…
These are beautiful, Vivien. They'll lead to something bigger I bet. I love the look of golds and yellows in particular on grey paper. I'm very excited lately about using coloured papers as a change from white - even for watercolours.

I have Faber-Castell Polychromos and Ferrario very soft Italian pastels plus Stabilo Carb-Othello pencils - and it doesn't matter which I use I just don't have what it takes for pastels. Makes me very sad when I look at what you, Casey and Katherine can achieve.
Chris Bellinger said…
I like the Purple/Bluey one with the Gold background best, my sort of coloure, you still have not said whether you are right or left handed, perhaps a bit of both?
vivien said…
Chris I'm right handed - but can draw left handed as well - as you saw :>)

Dinah the colours of pastels are so lush - do have a go! and yes, they are horrifically messy :>( and a nightmare to frame

Ann the Inscribe ones are quite cheap - not a 'good' make but the colours are lovely and they are velvety to use

Robin I was thinking of doing some of these for Nina's Polychrome themed book. (don't tell her!)
Lor Lor said…
What lovely luscious colours! I'm enjoying using pastels for the first time, but I bought pre selected sets of Winsor and Newton soft pastels. However, the Unison pastels look positively addictive!
harrybell said…
I've mostly used coloured Conte because they're small and can be carried easily outdoors in their little plastic case, but now and again I've used Inscribe. The box of Unison I bought on a trip to their factory several years ago, is still in pristine condition - they look so lovely I haven't dared disturb them!
vivien said…
Unison pastels are gorgeous and velvety Lorraine - and how Harry can leave his unused I just don't know!!!!

Harry please use them!
Lindsay said…
I have an old set of nu-pastels that have mostly collected dust due to occasional use. You are making me re think this. These are rich and I love how you use just a touch of one more intense flavor of color for interest and movement.
vivien said…
oh do dig them out and have a play Lindsay :>)

I'm sure you know how to clean them with ground rice?

just put some ground rice in a plastic bag, pop your pastels in, shake it well - and voila!!! out they come clean and gleaming brightly :>)
Lindsay said…
Ok, rice and "dusties" here I come. Thanks.
harrybell said…
I promise to get those Unisons out real soon now, Vivien.
vivien said…
Great Harry :>)

and enjoy your sparkly new looking pastels Lindsay! (must be ground rice, not rice grains)

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