Gail Sibley, Red Onion, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 500, 5 x 6 in

Take One Small Set Of Pastels (Terry Ludwig In This Case) And Then…

You know I’m always on about the benefits of limiting your palette. When you’re starting out in pastels, the choice (and price!) of soft pastels can be overwhelming so I always suggest beginning with a small set of quality soft pastels. Play around with that set, get to know what the pastels in a limited palette can do, and then start adding sticks as you find your way. Starter sets are definitely not going to have an ideal range of colours and values but they are a good place to start. So I thought I’d practice what I preach and show you a number of pieces created using only the pastels from the Best Loved Basics set from Terry Ludwig.

Best Loved Basics Set from Terry Ludwig

Best Loved Basics Set from Terry Ludwig

There are 14 pastels in the set and some are more muted than I would normally choose to use. Reviewing the set, there are three blues varying in values from mid-value to light. Lovely! But there’s no dark blue. There are two greens both on the olive-y side – one dark and one mid-value. There’s an ochre colour but no pure yellow. There’s a lovely red, a peach, and an orange-y earthy colour. There’s also a very light creamy colour and a light mauve-y grey.  And finally, there’s a warm dark beige-y colour which I think I’ve only used once.

Here’s the colour range shown on Canson Mi-Teintes paper:

 

Colour range for Best Loved Basics from Terry Ludwig

Colour range for Best Loved Basics from Terry Ludwig

 

Let’s look at the set in terms of values and then temperature.

Best Loved Basics by Terry Ludwig - showing value range

Best Loved Basics by Terry Ludwig – showing value range from darkest on the left to lightest on the right.

Best Loved Basics by Terry Ludwig - showing temperature range. Definitely a set filled with warmer than cooler colours.

Best Loved Basics by Terry Ludwig – showing temperature range. Definitely a set filled with more warm than cool colours. Even the cool colours are on the warm side.

 

Over October, I’ve been participating in the 31 pastels in 31 days challenge (read more about it here and join us in the Facebook group to see how everyone’s doing!). When pressed for time, I’ve done small pieces, mostly using this set of pastels to challenge myself despite the time crunch. I want to show you those pieces to see what can be done. They’re all done from life.

Let’s have a look:

Gail Sibley, Nectarine, Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis Belgian Mist, 2 3/4 x 5 in (Day 4)

Gail Sibley, Nectarine, Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis Belgian Mist, 2 3/4 x 5 in (Day 4)

Gail Sibley, Pear, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 400, 3 x 5 1/2 in (Day 7)

Gail Sibley, Pear, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 400, 3 x 5 1/2 in (Day 7)

Gail Sibley, "Martini in Waiting," Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 600, 3 1/2 x 6 in (Day 10)

Gail Sibley, “Martini in Waiting,” Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 600, 3 1/2 x 6 in (Day 10)

Gail Sibley, Fading Sunflower, Terry Ludwig pastels on Pastel Premier, 8 x 4 in (Day 12)

Gail Sibley, Fading Sunflower, Terry Ludwig pastels on Pastel Premier, 8 x 4 in (Day 12)

Gail Sibley, Lime, Terry Ludwig pastels on Pastel Premier (Day 20).

Gail Sibley, Lime, Terry Ludwig pastels on Pastel Premier (Day 20).

 

Gail Sibley, Red Onion, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 500, 5 x 6 in (Day 17) with pastels used and thumbnail

Gail Sibley, Red Onion, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 500, 5 x 6 in (Day 17) with pastels used and thumbnail

 

I also have two video demos that I’ll place below. Since they are also both still life, I decided to show that it’s possible to use this set by Terry Ludwig to do a landscape. So yesterday, quickly working from a photo (a challenge for me as I much prefer working from life!), I painted a small section of the Pont du Gard in France.

 

Gail Sibley, Pont du Gard, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 280, 11 x 6 in (Day 24)

Gail Sibley, Pont du Gard, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 280, 11 x 6 in (Day 24) showing pastels used.

Certainly it was a challenge painting the aqueduct using only this very limited palette but I wanted to show that with layering and looking and being open to not simply copying what’s there, you can still create pastel paintings with very few pastels!

 

While working on this post, I also remembered I’d tried a self-portrait last year when I first received these pastels by Terry Ludwig. It’s not perfect but I’m pretty amazed that I only used pastels from this set!

 

Gail Sibley, Self-Portrait, Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis paper, 12 x 9 in

Gail Sibley, Self-Portrait, Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis paper, 12 x 9 in

 

Working on pieces with the constraint of a limited palette may not be what you would have imagined doing but it will certainly expand your technique and your understanding of colour and value. The trick is in having a light touch and in layering!

Here’s a photo taken of the 14 pastels with various colours layered over others randomly (but attempting to keep close to a similar value). I hope it shows you the possibilities!

Pastels from the Best Loved Basics set by Terry Ludwig showing layering.

Pastels from the Best Loved Basics set by Terry Ludwig showing layering.

 

And here are the demo videos as seen on YouTube (the plum demo I just uploaded today):

 

(You can read a bit more about the creation of this pastel here.)

 

(You can see more on this pastel here.)

 

 

So I challenge you!

 

Do you have a small set of pastels? Why not try a few pieces only using those pastels? Make sure the pastels are sorted into values – that’s the most important thing to do to set yourself up for some success.

Let me know how it goes!!

 

Until next time,

~ Gail

 

 

PS. Today is International Artists Day. Did you do something to celebrate it??

11 thoughts on “Take One Small Set Of Pastels (Terry Ludwig In This Case) And Then…

  1. Nancy Malard

    Gret work! Unfortunately I long for the day when Ludwig will at last be sold here in Europe where I live, but one can choose a small set from the many on one’s disposal. I use Sennelier, Schmincke and Art Works. I found your blog in Pratique des Arts, I love it.
    Thanks!
    Nancy Malard

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Yes Nancy, choose any set and try this challenge. I have many sets and will probably continue to do this challenge with the others especially if it’s useful to subscribers 🙂
      One day perhaps Terry Ludwig pastels will be available in Europe. I think for now though they are a fairly small operation. Why not write to them expressing your wish?!

      So glad you found my blog!!

      Reply
  2. Sandi Graham

    I just took photos of the Terry Ludwig Basics Set and I’m going to put them all back in the box(I had them in with the rest of my ludwigs by color and value)
    I’m looking forward to trying that limited palette and rearranging them as you have. I also plan to try layering over one another to see the colors I will create.
    My plan : get the colors arranged, trying your ideas , practice the layering to see my color creations, decide on a small subject, take a photo, do a thumbnail or two, pick the paper, try the painting and eventually post. I think I will learn a lot! Thanks Gail.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      I had to chuckle Sandi at the trouble you are going to to recreate this challenge! I will very much look forward to hearing how it goes. You certainly have a definite plan! I hope you’ll report back here 🙂
      And yes, you WILL learn lots!!

      Reply
  3. Laura

    Gail, this post was absolutely inspiring! Thank you so very much, I plan on studying it more carefully. I love the voice overs on the video, very helpful. The work is wonderful and it’s great to see your progression as you transparently challenge yourself in front of the world!

    Reply
  4. ChrisD

    Terry Ludwig pastels have fairly recently become available through Jacksons Art, London. By all accounts, in comparison to other pastels here in the UK they are rather pricey, but personally I do rather like square-ended pastels and will save up for some….they look nice, just wonder how “soft” they are in comparison with, say, Unison or Daler Rowney? I love doing small pastel pictures, now I’ve got itchy fingers after seeing these! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for writing.
      I’d say Terry Ludwig pastels are softer than Daler Rowney and fairly close to Unison in softness.
      I’m glad this post has got you itchy to get going on your small pastels!

      Reply

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