Still Life with Chalk Pastels - Step 5
TECHNIQUE: You now begin to introduce color to the still life in a series of layers, applying the brightest layer first, the next brightest second, and so on towards the darkest. At this stage a layer of yellow was applied to the exposed areas of paper on those objects whose colors ranged between yellow and green.
NOTE: Once you apply an area of color, gently soften its edges to subtly blend it into the light and dark tones.
Still Life with Chalk Pastels - Step 6
Building up the color - 1.
TECHNIQUE: A layer of green was carefully blended into those objects which had a greenish hue. Applying the green on top of the yellow gives the color a luminosity and complexity that you do not get from using a single color.
NOTE: As you blend the various layers of colors over the light and dark tones of the objects, you will notice that those colors begin to take on the underlying tones of the object. The success of this technique largely depends on those colors that you choose for the dark tones at the start of the still life. Always test your colors before you start the still life to see what range of tones they produce when mixed.
Still Life with Chalk Pastels - Step 7
Building up the color - 2.
TECHNIQUE: Next, a layer of light and mid blue were softly blended into the background and foreground respectively.
NOTE: When the mid blue is blended over the underlying dark tones of the foreground, it does not achieve the same depth of tone as the dark green shadows did on the apples. This is because the blue is more opaque than the green. Such variations have to be adjusted and balanced out once all the colors have been applied.
Still Life with Chalk Pastels - Step 8
Building up the Color - 3.
TECHNIQUE: Finally, the bright reflected colors on the silver cup and the neutral grey of the large vase on the right were carefully blended to complete the basic colors of the still life.
NOTE: As the color of the still life has been built up one object at a time you often get an inconsistency in the overall unity of the work. This is generally seen in variations of tonal contrast across the work, usually due to the different opacity of colors or lapses in your concentration and technique. Either way, this problem has to be addressed in the final stage of the work.
Still Life with Chalk Pastels - Step 9
Balancing the tones and colors.
TECHNIQUE: To complete the still life we adjusted and balanced the tones and colors throughout the work to achieve an overall unity in the composition. This was done by subtly changing the color of certain objects and cautiously using black to balance the contrast of tones across the work.
NOTE: The color black is used for the first time in this still life. The dangers of overusing black cannot be emphasized strongly enough. It must be used discreetly and with great care as it all too easily overpowers the other colors.