Interpretive Color | Barbara Jaenicke Pastel Landscapes

Glowing-Winter-Morning by Barbara Jaenicke

Glowing Winter Morning (pastel) by Barbara Jaenicke


In the December 2011 issue of The Pastel Journal, Barbara Courtney Jaenicke explains how a cruical lesson in value helped her move beyond theory to an interpretive, more expressive approach to color. “Once I understood more clearly how to prioritize values over particular color choices, it was liberating. I organized my pastels by value, which immediately gave my use of color a big boost, too. I found that using color more interpretively in this way became not only easier, but a whole lot more fun.”

Morning Thaw (pastel) by Barbara Jaenicke

Though her earliest explorations were so bright she felt she needed sunglasses to look at the paintings, in time, Jaenicke began to apply her new approach to muted neutral colors every bit as much as she did to the saturated, sun-drenched ones. And, beneath them all, value remains the workhorse. “When the light, medium and dark values are where they need to be, I find that color becomes my playground,” Jaenicke explains. “But if the values are off, even the most gorgeous colors won’t help. In fact, they’ll make mud.”

To read the full story, check out the December 2011 issue of the magazine on sale here.

To learn more about handling color in pastel, check out Colleen K. Howe’s instructional pastel video at Here’s a free preview:


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