John Tookey | The Importance of Neutral Colors

There is excitement and energy 
in the pastel landscape paintings of British artist John Tookey. Paradoxically, the secret to that dynamism 
is understatement. It begins with the artist’s 
approach to color, which—though full of vibrancy—is achieved through the use of neutrals. “Much of a picture will be understated in neutral colors,” Tookey says. “It will be monochrome, more or less. I have a lot of grays, ochres and earth colors in my pastel collection, and don’t believe you can have too many.”

Sunlight and Shadow, Lothersdale (pastel) by John Tookey

Patches of Vibrant Color: The artist saves the more flashy color for areas that merit special attention. “I like to draw attention to the real subject of the picture by going in with zingy colors—greens, reds or pinks,” he says. “It’s something I really like about pastels—this ability to add those patches of vibrant color to bring a picture to life.”
His color choices aren’t restricted to reality. Instead, Tookey aims to make his own personal statement about a scene with his own interpretation of color. This is true whether he’s working en plein air, as he often does, or from sketches in the studio. Sketches and color notes, he says, will take him to a certain point, and then “the painting takes over.”

Visitors to Venice (pastel) by John Tookey

Visitors to Venice (pastel) by John Tookey

Farm Near Litton, Yorkshire (pastel) by John Tookey

Farm Near Litton, Yorkshire (pastel) by John Tookey

Wentworth Street Market (pastel) by John Tookey

Wentworth Street Market (pastel) by John Tookey

Read about the artist in the February 2013 issue of Pastel Journal. Order your copy today! 

 

MORE RESOURCES FOR PASTEL ARTISTS
Check out the must-have materials in the Successful Pastels Value Pack now on sale at a very special price!

Don’t worry about missing an issue of your favorite art magazine. Get all six 2012 issues of Pastel Journal on CD!

Get more expert help with the book and videos that make up the Richard McKinley Value Pack!

Sign up for your Pastel Journal email newsletter & download a FREE issue of Pastel Journal magazine

Get unlimited access to more than 100 art instructional ebooks for only $19.99 a month!

Find pastel painting downloads, books, videos & more

You may also like these articles:

COMMENT