Tag Archives: Terry Ludwig pastels

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.

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Limited Palette: Highlights added, plum forms further refined, pattern on bowl quietly indicated, bowl's cast shadow enhanced, single stem added. And after 35 mins, it's done! Gail Sibley, "Backyard Plums, Terry Ludwig pastels on UArt 400 grit paper, 6 x 6 in

Push Your Creativity with the Restriction of a Limited Palette

I was on a deadline today – a post was due to be published! I wanted to show you a progression through one of my paintings. Problem was, I didn’t have anything to share. So I needed to get creative quickly. I set a timer and chose a limited palette by using a starter set. I decided on Terry Ludwig’s Best Loved Basics because I knew it contained a deep purple and I was going to need it since I’d be painting plums. Once I got started though I wondered how in the world it would be successful – I was missing colours I felt I needed!! But I didn’t have time to waffle about so I got stuck in and embraced the restriction of the limited palette. Have a look!

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Using White Paper For Pastelling

I have done a few pastel demo videos now, all of them on toned Wallis paper. A question I’ve been asked is, Why don’t you use white paper? and What would the pastel painting look like on white paper?

I have taken these questions to heart and decided to do a demo on white paper even though it’s not my usual surface colour. In the demo, I use, for the first time, Terry Ludwig’s set of 14 Best Loved Basics – the company’s uber starter kit. When I first looked at these, I was surprised and a little bit anxious, if I’m truthful, because there wasn’t the usual saturated colour selection I’m used to, for instance, no bright yellow, orange, or green. But I was up for a challenge! Here’s the result.

 

 

So let’s have a closer look. First the set-up:

White Paper blog: The set-up of bowl and fork on a green background

The set-up of bowl and fork on a green background. You can see how orange the bowl is and how bright the green.

 

Next the thumbnail.

White paper vid: The thumbnail sketch, pen and ink, about 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in

The thumbnail sketch, pen and ink, about 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. This delineates the three main values: light, middle and dark

 

So let’s look at a few progression pieces:

Vine charcoal sketch on Wallis white paper

Vine charcoal sketch on Wallis white paper

Pastelling on white paper: Three values beginning to show in early layers

Three values beginning to show in first layers

Pastelling on white paper: The pastel all blocked in and value areas settling in to what they should be

The pastel all blocked in and value areas settling in to what they should look like

The final piece after 35 minutes of pasting. Gail Sibley, "Orange Bowl, Red Fork," Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis white paper, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in

The final piece after 35 minutes of pastelling.
Gail Sibley, “Orange Bowl, Red Fork,” Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis white paper, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in

And just for fun, the final piece in black and white. Gail Sibley, "Orange Bowl, Red Fork," Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis white paper, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in

And just for fun, the final piece in black and white.
Gail Sibley, “Orange Bowl, Red Fork,” Terry Ludwig pastels on Wallis white paper, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

 

The combination of the softness of the Terry Ludwig pastels and the sanded texture of the Wallis paper allowed layers to be built up thus eliminating most of the white specks of paper showing through. Where you can see them, I rather like the sparkle that the white paper brings, for instance in the shadow side of the bowl.

Here are the photos of the Terry Ludwig set:

Pastelling on white paper: Terry Ludwig pastels - 14 Best Loved Basics

Terry Ludwig Pastels – 14 Best Loved Basics. Box cover

Pastelling on white paper: Terry Ludwig pastels - 14 Best Loved Basics. The pastels circled are the two I didn't use

Terry Ludwig soft pastels – 14 Best Loved Basics. The pastels circled are the two I didn’t use

 

I love the name of this set of pastels – Best Loved. It doesn’t have the name “starter box/kit” or anything like that. Instead, it appeals to our emotions. And this is typical of the way Terry works. For instance, while at IAPS conferences, I have received free samples. (You can see a whole piece I did from this selection of IAPS samples by clicking here.) Terry (and team) also posts artwork by others created with his pastels on the company’s Facebook Page. It’s through this generosity that we not only come to love his pastels but also the man himself.

I was curious as to how this selection of pastels came about – how were the colours chosen? I put the question to Marie Ludwig, President of the Terry Ludwig Pastels. Here’s what she had to say: “The Maggie Price Best Loved Basics, a set of 60 pastels, is the set we most often suggest to new pastel artists just getting started with the medium. We became aware this set would be a price stretch for those new artists and decided to create a small set geared toward them. Terry selected the 14 pastel colors and values he believed would be most useful for the new pastelist.” So there you have it! A fabulous beginner set for sure.

 

Limitations, counter-intuitively perhaps, enable you to grow as an artist. A limited colour selection, working with colours not usually in your palette, these things will lead to creativity and progress. I leave you with this quote (substitute the word ‘artist’ for ‘writer’):

 

pastelling on white paper: Neil Gaiman quote on the value of barriers

 

That’s it folks! Tell me, do you use white paper? If so, why? I’d love to know how you use the white paper. Let’s get a discussion going!

Until next time,

~ Gail

 

PS. I recently did a pastel self-portrait using the same set of 14 Best Loved Basics. Watch for that coming soon!!

A completely abstract pastel and how I got there!

 

Whoo hoo!!! I have taken all my new pastels in to be framed for my solo show which opens 16th May 2014 at Gallery 8 on Salt Spring Island. Let me share a piece, an abstract pastel, that will be in the show.

 

I have been working on a series of pastels called ‘Vertical Landscapes’. As the title suggests, they are all vertical rather than the more expected and traditional horizontal format of a landscape painting. They range from fairly realistic through to more abstract (click here to see the fairly abstract pastel Landscape Tapestry and here to read about The Ginkgo Tree). The one I will show you here started off with nothing in mind, just colour! And interestingly, the colour choices for this piece came from the few Terry Ludwig pastels that I own.

I love the colours and feel of Terry’s pastels but knowing they would be difficult to obtain in my home town of Victoria, BC (not to mention that I have a whole heap of other pastels anyway!), I have held firm and not bought any at the bi-annual IAPS convention, well, mostly held firm. All of these pastels were gifts, and mostly from Terry himself, generous soul that he is. And so I am happy to have created this painting using only his pastels!!

 

1. The Terry Ludwig pastels I used

1. The Terry Ludwig pastels I used (and all that I have).  Isn’t that heart adorable?? I cheated a bit because I didn’t have a warm colour except the dark claret pastel so I snuck in a pink Great American…. Terry has some amazing pink/fushia/magenta colours. Unfortunately, I don’t own any 🙁

 

Here’s a look at the sequence of my abstract pastel:

2. First step - get some pastel down on the mounted Wallis paper!

2. First step – get some pastel down on the mounted Wallis paper!

So where to go from here? The Landscape Tapestry abstract pastel has a high horizon so what about a low one? I rotated it and had a look.

3. I rotated the start to see what I could see. I decided as much as I wanted to try a low horizon (even doing sketches of possibilities), in the end, I preferred it the other way around.

3. I rotate the start to see what I could see. I decide as much as I want to try a low horizon (even doing sketches of possibilities), in the end, I prefer it the other way around.

4. Taking more pastel, I began layering and also covering the entire surface. I began to sense the movement in the piece

4. Taking more pastel, I begin layering and also covering the entire surface. I want to retain the feeling of movement in the piece.

5. Have a look at it in black and white. I decided I need to introduce more value contrast. You'll see this happens in the next stage.

5. Have a look at it in black and white. I decide I need to introduce more value contrast. You’ll see this happens in the next stage.

6. I have the sense of a road going off into the horizon so I exaggerate that in the sweep of the pastel stroke. I also add more dark and light values (see the black and white below).

6. I have the sense of a road going off into the horizon so I exaggerate that in the sweep of the pastel stroke. I also add more dark and light values (see the black and white below). I begin to feel that I need to stop the movement right off the paper hence the calligraphic squiggles at the bottom.

7. You can more easily see the wider range of values from dark to light in this black and white photo of the pastel.

7. You can more easily see the wider range of values from dark to light in this black and white photo of the pastel.

8. I decide to straighten up the curving strokes, retain the curve in the road but creat the road itself with vertical strokes. I realize I also need to solidify and simplify the whole before I can say it's finished.

8. I decide to straighten up the curving strokes, retain the curve in the road (let’s just call it a road for now) but create the road itself with vertical strokes. I realize I also need to solidify and simplify the whole before I can say it’s finished.

9. The pastel is finished! I simplified all the squiggles at the bottom and also brought in some darks to keep the eye wandering around the piece (and not out over the edge!).

9. I continue to emphasize the vertical strokes. I simplify all the squiggles at the bottom and also bring in some darks to keep the eye wandering around the piece (and not out over the edge!). The abstract pastel is finished! Love love love those Terry Ludwig pastels. I now ‘get’ why everyone raves about them!

 

 

For me this abstract pastel gives me the feeling of driving through the forest in the rain. What do you see? What do you feel? What’s your story about what’s going on? I’d love to hear!

Please share this blog if you think someone else would enjoy it.

 

Thanks for spending your time with me 🙂

~ Gail

 

PS. Off to Salt Spring Island tonight to see Gallery 8’s Symbolically 8 show. Of course I am curious about how my painting will be received. It’s not a pastel but if you are curious, you can read about it here.