All Hallow’s Eve and a Painting Challenge!

Bethany Fields pastel artist

Happy Halloween! My childhood delight of a day.  All the imagination, magic, and fun is infectious! My kids are so excited and their costumes are ready. The candles are waiting to be lit in our pumpkins and the neighborhood is a buzz of anticipation. This day means fellowship and neighborly friendship, greeting strangers with delights and joy. I love it!

I can’t help but be in the mood for a Halloween painting. This little piece (about 12×5) was done on a scrap piece of Uart paper (400 grit). I used just a few dark charcoal and light pastels, which was a fun challenge! Using them to create shifts in value allows for a simple and yet effective landscape.

As artists, we’ve all heard “value is more important than color” many times. It’s a vital and important skill to have firmly under your belt! I have found that most students don’t use enough darker values in their landscapes – preferring to go more mid-tone with no contrast. This is especially evident when converting our paintings into black and white and seeing how the colors meld together.


So….why not take out the color altogether? Today I challenge you to create your own black and white scene using just charcoal and a few grey/light pastels.  This beautiful medium is perfect for creating hazy, misty shadows and deep dark woods.  Using just a few true black/white/gray pastels will teach you so much about value and the way they form shapes on your support.  The added bonus will be having a few references to then turn into full-color paintings.

If you don’t have any charcoal or grey supplies, here are a few things I use here in my home studio:

I would love to see your work!  Email me, post here, or if you’re on Instagram use the hashtag #bfpastelchallenge – I’d love to share some of your paintings here on my blog.


Have a safe Halloween everyone…Hope you get lots of treats!




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By | 2017-11-14T13:49:18+00:00 October 31st, 2017|

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