Under painting in pastels
by Leigh Osgood
(Bangor, Maine, USA)
To achieve greater depth in paintings, start your pastel with an under painting--start with hard pastels and darker colors, then build up with lighter colors and finish your highlights (and touch up your deepest shadows) with your softest pastels.
I often lay out the basic forms in a landscape in deep purple and build from there. Using that same dark base for rocks, trees and shadows brings a cohesiveness to the painting. Be bold and use colors that seem stronger than what you see -- they will tone down in layering and blending. I never use fixative because of it's impact on color -- I've had paintings ruined by fixative.