From Plein Air to Studio: Maintaining a Color Palette


Tobi Clement’s setup with value sketch and color story

“I select a palette of colors, then work quickly in a space I leave to the side of my value sketch to create a harmonious color story that connects the sky and earth planes — note: I work directly on my pastel paper,” says Tobi Clement. “Here, I also left space along the bottom for testing colors and marks in the following stages of my process. I start with strong colors for the first layers, knowing that as I build layers my colors will become more subtle. I try to imagine the colors that are behind what I am actually seeing and build those big shape colors back to front. I also consider the colors that are in the sky and how they impact the earth plane. I gather the selected pastels into a small Rubbermaid container and arrange them in the order that I am going to apply them. Corn grits keep the pastels clean and protected. When it’s time to go home, I tuck the container into my backpack and the colors are ready to go when I return to the piece back in my studio.” 

Clement’s container of selected pastels

Learn countless more plein air pastel tips and techniques at this year’s Plein Air Convention & Expo in the Smoky Mountains! With a special pre-convention workshop by pastel master Aaron Schuerr.


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