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Achieve bold lighting with pastel colors

Achieve bold lighting with pastel colors. In the cold light of dawn, flames ignite a hot air balloon. Warm-colored squares like a fiery patchwork blanket glow against a blue-gray sky. The rainbow envelopes of two deflated balloons lie in the grass. Their baskets turned upside down to reveal their dark interior. The picture suggests a suggestive before and after. The empty balloons unfolded on the floor, and the balloon straightened, its heated mass lighter than air. James Kasperek remembers this morning as a time when he faced his fear of heights. The year before, he and his wife had received a balloon ride as an anniversary present; he had finally found the courage to flee.

When he saw the balloon light just before the initial day, he obtained some photos of the scene for the arts, including First Riser. I was a little apprehensive when we got to about 3,000 feet. But the feeling when we went down again, floating a few hundred meters above the fields, was incredible. Getting in a hot air balloon was a brave move for someone afraid of heights. Kasperek’s painting style is also bold. Apply pure colors with bold, bold strokes on dark paper. The resulting pastels have strength and immediacy that contrasts in a medium often known for gradients, layered colors, and soft edges.

Design, light, and color

Kasperek’s work covers various topics, from landscape to still life, from figures to flowers. I don’t concentrate so much on the topic but more on design, light, and color. Whether he paints poppies, foxgloves, or daylilies from his perennial garden shows these interests; golden trees along a road in autumn; long blue shadows on a snowy hill; or the repeated white spots on the faces of the cows lined up to graze.

It’s easy to see how his skills for his career as a designer influenced his pastels. Kasperek works full-time as a senior graphic designer at a large defense company. Even so, he still finds time to paint himself regularly. While the work in design is very creative, the constraints and constraints of business needs can be quite challenging. Deadlines can be tough. I feel blessed to have both types of art in my life. It is very rewarding to see art projects, both business and personal, from idea to finish.

The perfect mix

pastel colors

About 40 years ago, Kasperek studied fine arts at Columbus College for Art and Design, Ohio, and at the Center for Creative Studies, Detroit. As a student, he started with graphite and carbon. Then he switched to color and ended up with pastel colors in the 1980s. My new pencil and charcoal work was deeply drawn, with heavy stress on value and modeling. When I switched to oil, my style became more relaxed. I was more interested in color and the arrangement of shapes. I loved the texture and surfaces that I could achieve, but I found the drying time frustrating.

He continued to try different media but did not achieve the desired richness of color with watercolor, gouache, or acrylic. Since I’ve always liked to draw and felt more comfortable with a pencil than with a brush in hand, I switched to colored pencils. He tried to work with Prismacolor pens on structured linen surfaces but gradually wanted to work larger with more expression and color intensity. So I switched to pastel colors. For me, you were the perfect mix of drawing and painting.

Working from dark to light

Kasperek creates the greatest of his pastels with a photo session. I take several photos of my subject, crop them, adjust the color, and sometimes manipulate objects in Photoshop into the desired composition. Then print out the photos approximately 8 by 10 inches. But perhaps the most notable aspect of Kasperek’s method is the paintwork – it uses Richeson’s 140 pounds. Almost exclusively Premium Pastel Surface in black. Working with a black surface comes from my early years of oil painting. I was taught to soften the white canvas by applying dark and neutral tones and then converting the painting from dark to light. When I began searching with pastel colors, I simply looked for obscurer papers and performed with classic black.

He starts his pastels by swiftly drawing his vine charcoal composition on paper. Even though it’s black charcoal on black paper, the drawing ideas stands out in such a way that I can see it, and then it practically disappears under the colored pencil. Then he begins to apply his favorite Sennelier pastels. I consciously work with little to no fading, following my mids first and leaving the paper in my darkest blacks. Once the backbone of the painting is created, I apply my clearest values, always keeping in mind the balance between shape, movement, and color. Sennelier pastels offer a beautiful and rich color palette. I love how they feel and how they pop out of the black surface.

Embrace improvisation

While Kasperek typically works from photos, his pastels often appear gestural and intuitive. As soon as I find a topic that interests me, I’m not good with preliminary plans or sketches. I’m usually careful enough to move quickly afterward. I draw the movement and composition with grapevine charcoal. My private part of the artistic method is building the piece rhythmically with value, shape, and color. Find some parallels between his style of work and the music. Music inspires me, especially jazz. I find my approach to art similar to a jazz musician’s approach to performance. You go there well trained in theory and composition. Not only do you know what works in harmony, but you also know how to play and improvise outside of the melody. Jazz musicians chat with each other as the piece progresses and transforms.

For me, a painting starts with a sketch and an idea of ​​where to go, but I appreciate the point in the process where I can improvise and respond to what composition, color, and medium tell me. Kasperek also likes that the audience is part of this improvisation process. The hardest part of my job is knowing when to stop. I’m just trying to tell the viewer enough to hear what I’ve heard about the subject and yet leave them fresh, relaxed, and open to individual interpretations.

Reasons near and far

Whether motifs from his native Michigan or visiting places like Mexico and Great Britain, Kasperek relies on rhythm and improvisation and attaches great importance to design. In Impression: Street Market, he used bold color markings across the spectrum to represent the intense midday light in a market in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The threads above the customers’ heads and the receding lines of the street form a structure that holds the splashes of color together and guides our gaze through the market. In Flags at Samye Ling, Kasperek enjoys the repetitive and colorful shapes of Buddhist prayer flags against a dark background of trees in a monastery in Scotland. Freehand chalk creates a sense of movement, like flags blowing in the wind.

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When he saw the balloon light just before the initial day, he obtained some photos of the scene for the arts, including First Riser. I was a little apprehensive when we got to about 3,000 feet. But the feeling when we went down again, floating a few hundred meters above the fields, was incredible. Getting in a hot air balloon was a brave move for someone afraid of heights. Kasperek’s painting style is also bold. Apply pure colors with bold, bold strokes on dark paper. The resulting pastels have strength and immediacy that contrasts in a medium often known for gradients, layered colors, and soft edges.

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