Broken Color | Close-Up with Terri Ford

“Close-Up” provides insider knowledge and an intimate view of a painting that is featured in The Artist’s Magazine. “Broken Color” by Terri Ford originally appeared in the January/February 2011 issue.

Because I intended to depict stone walls in ‘Chateau Cypress’ (pastel, 8×6), I chose as my surface a gray (as opposed to white) Wallis board. Laying in the pastel loosely and with varying pressure allowed me to let the gray surface show through, creating depth in the sky and texture in the walls.

I began Chateau Cypress with a value sketch, using a dark, blue-green, hard pastel on Wallis board. Then I refined the values with a denatured alcohol wash applied with a bristle brush. Once the wash set, I was ready to add colors for the individual elements.

A. For the cypress trees, I used a Terry Ludwig warm green for the local color, letting the underpainting show through to indicate shadows and texture. I kept the tree shapes loose and irregular to give them a natural look.

B. Because I’d chosen a gray surface and laid down a pale wash in the underpainting, the brilliant blue sky was easy to achieve. The main blue is a Terry Ludwig medium hue combined with a slightly darker, more purple Sennelier hue. I used more of the darker blue where the sky shows through openings in the tree branches.

C. I created the rooflines with the side edge of a Terry Ludwig pastel in salmon orange, which complements the blue of the sky. I kept the marks simple and irregular so they wouldn’t look rigid and would add to the character of the chateau.

D. I indicated the stonework of the chateau with layers of warm, muted Terry Ludwig colors in varying hues that stand out against the sky.


To learn more about Terri Ford’s process, click here and order your copy of the January/February 2011 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.


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Click here to watch a preview of the video “Color Harmony for Luminous Pastels with Colleen Howe.”


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