PDA

View Full Version : inconsistent softness of senneliers


Craig Houghton
05-02-2003, 03:37 AM
I'm used to rembrandt and a scattering of other pastels, but I purchased a half stick set of 80 senneliers. The colors are amazing -- it took me a bit just to work up enough nerve to start getting em dirty. However, once I did start really using them, I noticed that while some of the sticks are soft and butter, others are crumbly or generally less excited about rubbing off onto the paper.

I've heard that due to the natural pigments some are going to be harder than others, but some are downright deadly and just waiting to mash the tooth of the paper.

Is my set outside of the normal parameters or should I just start learning which sticks are soft, and which are made of crumbly hard bits?

In general though, I'm thoroughly impressed by the sennelier's -- just scared by the rogue ones.

Any thoughts?
Craig

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-May-2003/21273-DSC01489.JPG

Dark_Shades
05-02-2003, 04:09 AM
Hi Craig, cant help you much as I literally just rec'd some senneliers last night..... had a quick scribble with them :) ... but some of those crumbled ...... but I have been using Nupastels and I find that some of those are soooooo hard and like you say mash the tooth of the paper..... I have a ROGUE red especially ....... but had noted the darker ones are alot harder, and in the sennelier the darker ones seemed to crumble more - wondered if you found the same...... is it something to do with the dark_shades..... ohhhhh ha ha ha

soap
05-02-2003, 04:29 AM
What a shame Craig and DS - I've never tried Sennelier (partly because of these stories) - but I love the soft buttery Schmincke's. Maybe they could be a (possible) next choice?

Oh, I love the look of a box of brand new pastels. They look yummie! :D :D

Craig Houghton
05-02-2003, 04:37 AM
>Oh, I love the look of a box of brand new pastels. They look yummie!

I really wanted to gobble them up, and I still might.

Everyone seems to suggest Schminke -- I think I'll give em a try. I still want to use the rembrandts for bulk of the work, but I'm craving soft and buttery fats to lay over the lean - i'm getting hungry again now.

oh, and dark_shades - yeah I think yer right - though some are still pretty smooth.. and rich, and

okay that's it - i'm going to gobble them up

meowmeow
05-02-2003, 09:08 AM
I can say the same thing about my Senneliers and I believe there is a thread somewhere where this was discussed. Many others had the same complaint. But the ones that work are wonderful!
In fact I am thinking of trying to replace the few that I use all the time and are almost gone.

Sandy

Redsy333
05-02-2003, 09:22 AM
I keep small squares of soft sandpaper with my pastels, mostly to give me points on the harder pastels (nu-pastels) and also to soften up the ROGUE ones!lol ;) gotta love rogues:D
Another tip> take a sandwich bag full of rice, about half full, place used pastels in, shake, and youll have clean pastels!;)
Now this will also help soften up the pastels if you take the bag with one rogue pastel in the rice, place bag between your hands, and gently roll. GENTLY!!!lol
Just a few tips!
Hope that helps and enjoy you new pastels;)

Craig Houghton
05-02-2003, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the tips Redsy. I've used the rice trick to clean, but never to soften. Some of my problems are probably more with the hard shell like outer-consistency which could be broken up with some abrasion -- sounds good.

btw, regarding the rice thing - lots of books mention "ground rice," and I've only ever tried.. well, rice. Is ground rice more like flour?

Many thanks!
Craig

jackiesimmonds
05-02-2003, 01:46 PM
I get so cross when I read about Sennelier pastels. They ARE inconsistent, and yet people rush to buy them......I just cannot understand why. I guess their publicity is good and everyone falls for it.
IOn my experience, which is considerable, becaue I used to teach and my students often rbought them along, I have found that too many of their pastels either crumble to dust because they are so soft that when you take the wrappers off they fall to bits, or the darker colours are so hard that you wreck your paper with them. I personally think this is UNACCEPTABLE. We pay fortunes for our pastels, and they should be consistently good, consistently creamy, and we should not have to watch out for "rogue ones".

You will find that Schminke are consistently excellent, as are Unison. I have never had a too hard, or too soft pastel, with either manufacturer, and have had large amounts of both.

Personally, I would chuck my Sennelliers back at the supplier and ask for my money back. They are not good enough to do the job, and that makes them faulty.

Jackie. Irritated Jackie.

Rick R
05-02-2003, 05:54 PM
There's a lot of great pastel brands out these days.

Have a gander at these two sites:

http://www.fineartstore.com/
http://www.dakotapastels.com/

- Rick

jimb
05-02-2003, 06:12 PM
Just my two cents....I got a set of Senneliers last Christmas and was really exicited (not knowing about their reputation).. This was my first set of "soft" pastels, having been used to using mostly nu-pastels up to that point. I thought it was me because I was used to something harder, but no.....some crumble no matter what I did. And as you mentioned, some are way too hard (mostly the darks). I will never ever buy them again. I guess I will find a way to use them until they are gone, since my wife thought she did so well, by getting them for me, but after they're gone, good riddance.

butterfly
05-02-2003, 07:15 PM
I have to agree here ... I have be given as gifts both a full set of sennelier and a half-stick set just this past x-mas ... and I have been using NuPastels and occasionally top painted over the NuPastels with the Sennelier. I too thought it was me with the crumbling and the hard colors because of a heavy hand using the NuPastels (which I also find "rogues" in also ... have a red color that I have tried sandpaper on and even acrylic nail file and I still destroy the paper with it).

I haven't seen the Schminke brand in my local stores, but I have seen the Unison and think I will start replacing my colors as I use them with Unison after reading this thread ...

Thanks everyone for sharing

Butterfly/Roni

Mo.
05-02-2003, 07:26 PM
Not used Senneliers soft, but did splash out a tidy sum on their oil pastels, and was not that impressed, yeah fine they are lipsticky creamy.... but like lipstick sticky too.... Caran D'che are far superior..in my book anyway.

Cheers,
Mo.

bnoonan
05-02-2003, 07:58 PM
This thread is reaffirming. I bought about 3 Sennelier pastels in my life and was disappointed with the deep purple one because of it's hard nature.

Since them I'm a fan of Schmincke and have consistently found them to be excellent and soft - no matter what the color.

I do like Sennelier le Carte paper.

Best of luck with them. They are scrumptious colors~~~


Barb

louiethe_cat
05-02-2003, 09:40 PM
I thought my Senneliers were just a bad batch, well, same thing has happened here. Once color will harden on top of another color, and I've scratched the paper that way many times. I bought a box when I first got back into pastel painting, but won't buy them again. Not worth the money. I don't mind paying more for good pastels as long as they live up to what they should. Shmincke are excellent pastels, and I think Terry Ludwigs are great too. I recently got a set of his landscape's and they're really nice.

jackiesimmonds
05-03-2003, 02:23 PM
Anyone got any ideas on how we send this entire thread to Sennelier in France?

Drumbeat-trish
05-03-2003, 03:11 PM
Originally posted by jackiesimmonds
Anyone got any ideas on how we send this entire thread to Sennelier in France?

I've never had the err pleasure of using senneliers -and will avoid them, but I think letting them know is a really good idea Jackie. Surely they must have a website with a contact-us e-mail address??????

meowmeow
05-03-2003, 03:57 PM
Well, this seems to be their website:

http://www.sennelier.fr/

Not sure where to go from there but maybe someone who can read French can figure something out.


Sandy

louiethe_cat
05-03-2003, 07:28 PM
Do you suppose we could all get a refund?:D

talkingbanana
05-03-2003, 07:47 PM
Okay, staying away from this brand - I don't have any money to waste.

It looks like this (http://www.sennelier.fr/fr/07contact/) is the contact page, and if you plug it into AltaVista's translation page (http://babel.altavista.com), you can figure out how to use it.

Good luck figuring it out!

little dreamer
05-03-2003, 10:18 PM
~as i am new to pastels and just learning, i bought a few sets of senniler and the iridescent colours are really wonderful, but a few of the soft pastels from the floral collection were to hard and couldn't even use them well at all. i really liked the colors and didn't want to waste them . ( using the side of scissors scraping lightly into small dish would make a nice pile of pastel dust. i then added water and use it like watercolor. i was able to get fine detail. and finish my bookmarks using pastels and water, wnen it dried i laminated them ( but i hear it is not good to laminate pastel so i am not sure how many years they will last.~

Dark_Shades
05-04-2003, 06:23 AM
Originally posted by little dreamer
[B i then added water and use it like watercolor. i was able to get fine detail. and finish my bookmarks using pastels and water, wnen it dried i laminated them ( but i hear it is not good to laminate pastel so i am not sure how many years they will last.~ [/B]

.... thats a great idea :clap: ..... my son has a laminater and I often wondered what would they would look like ...... can you post some pics of your bookmarks

Cool_Brittany
05-10-2003, 12:41 AM
I use mostly harder pastels..Nu Pastel and Rembrandt. I have tried Sennelier and did NOT like them. Unison & Schmincke were okay, but for what I do , I prefer the harder ones. Does any one use Grumbacher? They were the very first ones I ever used many years ago and I still love them!

E-J
05-10-2003, 05:55 AM
The Sennelier shop is right in the centre of Paris, on the Right Bank, not far from the river. At one point I was visiting Paris every couple of months and could have gone in and delivered this thread to them in person! :) but I have no idea when my next visit will be.

I've only got one Sennelier soft pastel, which I bought to try out the brand. It's a rich, beautiful dark brown but is ridiculously crumbly and I'm relieved I didn't buy any more.

I agree with Mo somewhat about their oil pastels: their colours, again, are stunning but once they're in your hands they get too sticky too quickly. If you're using a regular pastel paper, large oily patches seep right through to the back of the paper, which is a bit worrying and never happens with the Caran d'Aches.

I also have a set of Sennelier watercolour tubes I got on special offer a few years ago. These are lovely ~ unfortunately I've decided w/colour isn't my medium and my tiny tin of W&N half pans serves for the occasional w/c sketch...

angeline
05-10-2003, 04:01 PM
I have been following this and have a question......are rembrants hard? I thought they were soft like the others????? was considering getting some more so i have more colours now thinking i will stick to the lucious schminkes and perhaps a few unisons.

sundiver
05-10-2003, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by angeline
I have been following this and have a question......are rembrants hard? I thought they were soft like the others????? was considering getting some more so i have more colours now thinking i will stick to the lucious schminkes and perhaps a few unisons.

The Jan-Feb issue of The Pastel Journal rates the softness of Rembrandts as being 3-5. 1 is softest, 10 hardest. It rates Schminckes as 1, Nupastels as 8.
So I guess Rembrandts could be called medium-soft?

C-B, I love my old Grumbachers! I don't think the newer ones are as nice.

tabbycat
05-11-2003, 11:37 AM
I like my Grumbachers. I don't know if they're the old ones or the new ones. How do you tell? I bought a set, landscape I think, and they are rectangular half sticks with no label. Tomorrow my Rowneys and Shminckes arrive! I didn't buy Senneliers based on this thread. I have bought Grumbacher oils and watercolors, and the quality of that brand always seems consistent, as well as affordable. And my grandma always used them!

E-J
05-11-2003, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by E-J
The Sennelier shop is right in the centre of Paris, on the Right Bank, not far from the river

I meant Left Bank ... Sheeesh I'm losing it.

sundiver
05-11-2003, 02:08 PM
Originally posted by tabbycat
I like my Grumbachers. I don't know if they're the old ones or the new ones. How do you tell? I bought a set, landscape I think, and they are rectangular half sticks with no label. Tomorrow my Rowneys and Shminckes arrive! I didn't buy Senneliers based on this thread. I have bought Grumbacher oils and watercolors, and the quality of that brand always seems consistent, as well as affordable. And my grandma always used them!

Here's the old ones- maybe 30 yrs old