Peppers in Pastel: background problems

I enjoy the look of classical style still life paintings that have black backgrounds, but it seems that when I employ them, it just doesn’t work. Case in point, this pastel drawing. I layered black over a blue-green shade but it still doesn’t have the deep effect I want. Any suggestions? This was my first ever pastel drawing… it was rough using those clunky sticks and dealing with all the dust :wink:


I would just go over the background again with the black to make is richer. Otherwise this is a great for your first time. You can try oil pastels. They are not as dusty.

May I suggest that, rather than black, it needs to be very very dark brown? Otherwise it looks too cold and stark.

Thank you! It’s worth trying.

Yes I’m definitely leaning toward oil pastels for that reason alone—thanks for having a look at this.

My compliments, the way you handled the folds in the velvet: wonderfull. Maybe the black would look intenser if you put more colours in and over it.
Like deep red, dark blue, or start with black pastel mat and add colours over that.
But if it is your first pastel: wow

I think that makes sense and echoes what others are say—background needs more depth by layering colors. Thanks for your feedback!

Nice work on the cloth under the peppers too. Good colors on the peppers.

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