Alzofon Art Institute


Design Two Pastel Sets of Eight Colors Each


The owner of my local art supply store asked me to recommend two sets of eight Unison pastel colors for portrait and landscape painting.

Well, that's a challenge!

The first lesson is, you can never have too many pastel colors. While a limited palette in oil painting can produce extraordinary results, pastel becomes lush with lots and lots of discrete colors laid side by side.

The second lesson is, if tons o' colors are not available, what few will suffice, and why? Read on for the answers, according to me.

I created a few criteria to make the job more clear:
  1. The sets should be "complete."

  2. The colors should not repeat between sets.

  3. Omit frills such as rare colors in landscape and ready-made skin colors in portrait.

  4. The artist will blend colors to get desired result: To use sets, artists must have some color mixing skill.

  5. The choices should address the difficult decisions, not the obvious ones.

  6. Sets should carry different attributes: Landscape should be oriented toward atmospheric perspective, day lighting, and most commonly painted subject matter. The portrait set should be for close range views, diverse coloring, and both artificial and natural lighting conditions.

The next three pages explain my thinking in creating the two small pastel palettes:

Portrait Set -- click to example from here!

Landscape Set -- click to example from here!

Portrait & Landscape Sets Compared

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This page last updated: May 28, 1996