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View Full Version : Mixing pastel brands in palette?


markusrydh
07-27-2012, 05:56 PM
Thinking of re-arranging my pastel palette. I don't have loads and loads of sticks (yet!), but I would like to have some order. Now I keep my harder brands (mainly Rembrandt) in a home-made box for easy access, and my half-stick Senneliers separately in their original box. Today I got some extra (Schminke piecewise and Daler-Rowney in a small set).

My question: do you guys mix brands in the same palette, even harder ones (Rembrandt) and softer (Sennelier, Schminke)?

DAK723
07-27-2012, 06:09 PM
This is totally up to you. If you really need to know when you are using the Rembrandts as opposed to the really soft pastels (Sennelier, Schminke) - and plan on using them for different and separate parts of the painting, then you can keep them separate. But the Rembrandts are still medium soft pastels and in most likelihood, you will use them interspersed with the others, so there would be no reason not to mix them all together.

Personally, I keep my hard pastels separate from my soft (my hard pastels are Polychromos - much harder than Rembrandt) - as I use them for special touches and thin details. Since I have (and need) only about 8 of them, I keep them in a separate box!

Don

allydoodle
07-27-2012, 07:05 PM
Like Don said, everybody has their preferences. I don't mind mixing up my brands, and I do just that when I'm taking them out to a workshop to paint. I have a travel bag with pastels stored and ready to just grab and go.

My sense of organization with pastels is a bit crazy in my studio, it probably won't work for most people. I'm at the point where I'm not sure it's even working for me anymore :eek: . I've resisted the temptation to buy a Dakota or Heilman box because I paint mostly in my studio, and I have them laid out on tables mostly in their original boxes. I did rearrange them in value order, which I do find extremely helpful. I rarely worry about what brand I'm using, it's more about the color (except for my Ludwigs, I go to them because of both the color and the consistency, as well as the shape). I don't use Nupastels much in my studio, though they are mixed in with my 'travel bag' of pastels. They work great in portraits, especially on Canson paper (which is what I do at workshops).

I'm thinking I'd love to buy a couple of large Dakota boxes and just take everything I own, break the sticks into halves or thirds (depending on their size) and organized/store them permanently in my studio that way. It's such a big job that I'm at the moment avoiding it....... but that doesn't stop me from buying more pastels :lol: .

I guess the quick answer to your question is, most people mix their brands up, arranging them more by color and value than by brand. I also know most people separate their neutrals and keep them apart from all their other colors, they tend to use them more often that way. Neutrals can look a bit unappealing when next to all those bright colors, but they're very useful. Keeping them separate can make it easier to use them.

If I did go so far as to get those boxes and rearrange everything, I still think I would keep my Ludwigs separate..... They're pretty soft, and for me those are the only pastels I go to strictly because of the brand, they do perform somewhat differently than the others (at least to me they do). They need their happy foamy boxes to stay safe from peril :eek: :lol: .

Colorix
07-27-2012, 07:14 PM
I find that mixed sticks are still easily identifiable, as the feel different because of their relative hardness and density.

I mix the medium hards, and then the softs, in two separate trays/boxes. "Soft" has more to do with how they release colour, which is why my Giraults go with Sennelier, Ludwig, Unison, and Schmincke.

Really, as soon as I pick one up, I know which brand it is. At least 98% of the time.

Jason1616
07-27-2012, 07:48 PM
I keep most of mine separated by brand in custom boxes I made. I arrange them by value/color. I don't always use every brand in every painting, but at least that way I can always work hard to soft by brand. It's sort of like the "fat over lean" rule that oil painters use.

It really is a personal preference though...whatever way works best for you is the right way. :)

Potoma
07-27-2012, 08:28 PM
I had a plein air instructor who has soft on one side of her Heilman and hard on the other, using the latter for underpainting w/alcohol.

I separate hard from soft, too, in the long jewel boxes in my Soltek. I will often do almost all of a painting in hard pastels on sanded paper, so I have them together mostly for easy access. Fewer things are open inviting spillage.

Davkin
07-27-2012, 08:42 PM
I keep my hard pastels (Nupastel and Polychromos) separate but I keep my Rembrandts and Mountvisions mixed together. I plan on buying a few Schminkes, I'll probably keep those separate as well since they'll be reserved for finishing touches.

David

markusrydh
07-28-2012, 03:52 AM
I guess it is a matter of preference then :) I will give it a try and mix them all. Then we'll see what happens... Thanks for your input!

Studio-1-F
07-28-2012, 08:29 AM
Markus: a few threads:
-- Hard to soft organization? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=761641)
-- Organizing pastel palette - Help? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=337816&])
-- And the grandaddy, which also gets into value and hue: Pastel palettes (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=949190)

Enjoy!

Jan

markusrydh
07-28-2012, 09:24 AM
Thanks Jan, very helpful!

Ruthie57
07-28-2012, 02:17 PM
I sort mine into hard and soft. I keep the giraults seperate so I can put my hand on one whenever I want....limited colours in those though.
I also sort them into pure colours and neutrals, trying to do it by colour and value.
I've found there's no perfect way and sometimes sticks get put back in the wrong section!
Oh, I keep my Roché pastels in their box....mustn't lose them in the multitude!

JPQ
07-29-2012, 11:32 AM
Ihave three brands (W&N,Schmincke and Pip Seymours handmade ones what are made local shop called Minoa,at 99% hues are single pigment ones). Only handamde ones have own boxes. and i prefer softer side on w&n with schmincke. actually going use w&n long as i have them. and their feeling means i use them long becouse i dont much like them expect few hues i think winsor yellow tint 4 for example. and looks like later i going use Schmincke and Unisons. and later ones is maybr thing.
ps. i trying get unisons soon i can. at least few for test but which ones is hard know. depends price and maybe even fact if they available one shop when i go next time. but i think greens,and blues mainly and darks,and lights mainly i think. somehow i think i need more landcape hues now than flower hues. i still dream if i can develop small set for my style. i think is very possible. small set is something like 45 Schminckes and maybe about 30 unisons for backgrounds becouse i understanded they are harder. reason is my paintting table dont have much room and getting new pastels in some schmincke hues i must buy 3 pastels in same time changing colours goes very pricey if my range is big.

Kathryn Wilson
07-30-2012, 11:20 AM
I keep my "go to" pastels (Mount Visions) by themselves in a very large cardboard box all laid out and easy to grab, sorted by color and then by value.

I keep my hard pastels separate (Polychromos) as I use them very sparingly - e.g. first sketches, little details and sometimes an underpainting.

The rest I keep by brand (Schmincke, Great American and Ludwig), but at this point my studio is a mess and I am finding brands mixing in with my MV's.

It works for me. Oh, another thing - when I start a painting, I keep all the pastels I am using for that painting in a little plastic tray even after the painting is done so that if I need a touch here and there, I am not guessing what I used. (I have lots of little trays!!) I only put them back until after the painting has been framed.

allydoodle
07-30-2012, 08:31 PM
It works for me. Oh, another thing - when I start a painting, I keep all the pastels I am using for that painting in a little plastic tray even after the painting is done so that if I need a touch here and there, I am not guessing what I used. (I have lots of little trays!!) I only put them back until after the painting has been framed.

I do this too! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Lynndidj
07-31-2012, 02:39 AM
I have things separate and together. I put my full set of Giraults, broken, into a backpack size Heilman as that can be easily taken out plein air. It also contains 1/3 size pieces of the MV thunderstorm grays as I can't live without those. My medium Heilman has a great variety of pastels in it, mostly for plein air. I also took a 1/3 piece of an entire set of M. Visions and put them in long slim boxes sized for my Soltek easel. That set could also be used on its own for plein air. In my studio, I have very large flat file drawers and I bought cookie sheets with sides, lined them with the soft contact paper and started sorting all of my pastels, all varieties and types, into value and hue. It is totally awesome and I can find just what I am looking for. I include my Ludwigs in there, but tend to pull them back out for workshops because I love them :-). My pans are separate and then there is the drawer with the complete set of Senneliers. Yep, I could open a store here. Oh, I do keep the Ludwig greens separate and in their box for plein air and studio use. They, too, are awesome.

Lynn

Sonni
07-31-2012, 11:26 PM
I used to mix them up ( because I was lazy), now I don't. At the moment I keep the hard (Nu pastel) in their own box. I keep my new favorite pastels, Mt. Vision, separate as they are workhorses. I keep Terry Ludwig's mostly separate, though that's mostly for aesthetic purposes and their high chroma. The Senneliers, Great American, and Schmincke and a few other brands hang out together. Sometimes they squabble.

LoreneT
08-01-2012, 10:39 PM
I first got into pastels a few years ago and decided to organize them by colour. I found it difficult to find the right colour when they were all separated. Of course now I'm returning to pastels after a few years and can't automatically remember which brand was harder or softer. I had a few moments of regret that I hadn't kept them separate, but I'll figure them out quickly enough.

jackiesimmonds
08-02-2012, 02:52 PM
IMPORTANT...........sorry no time to read all of these I got as far as "ok I will mix them all together"........my advice is........... definitely DONT.

Try to keep your harder pastels separate from soft ones. The reason for this is that soft pastels work fine over hard; hard do not work fine over soft, except for certain specific techniques. If yours are all jumbled up, you could well pick up a hard passtel and try to use it over a passage of soft pastel, and you would wonder why on earth you were having such a hard time! Hard pastels and pastel pencils simply SCORE INTO layers of soft pastel, rather than release their colour evenly.

all soft pastels will work together, there seems to be a desire here on WC to mention what pastels have been used........well, I use all sorts, and would be able to identify them from the shape and feel, but certainly my first (and should be your first) concern is to get the colour and tone right.

I use the plastic try idea, it is helpful. And the only reason I can see for keeping separate brands separate is to know what you want to replace when you get to the end of a stick. There is a way to prevent this being an issue. No time to explain now, let me know if you want to know.
Must rush out
Jackie

markusrydh
08-02-2012, 05:01 PM
Ok, Jackie :) Have not rearranged palette yet, but I am still thinking about it. I know I should use harder pastels before softer, but my problem is that I don't always have a choice as my pastel box is still sorely lacking sticks (well, duh!). Harder in this case means Rembrandts.

Great, now I don't know what to do! :lol:

jackiesimmonds
08-03-2012, 02:44 AM
Aha ....well,Rembrandts are not, technically, hard pastels. They are hard-ER than some, that's all, and probably the darkest ones in the set may be harder, you just need to try them out to find this out.

the hard pastels which do not work well over soft are the thin, really hard ones which are square, I have some by Rowney called "drawing pastels", some Carb Othello and some Conte and there are possibly some other brands in the US which we do not have here.

Rembrandts should work ok with other soft pastels.

If you only have Rembrandts and a few other sticks, then just sort your pastels into colours and tones. Job done. If you buy more pastels and buy any hard ones, keep those separate.

There truly is no sensible argument for keeping your sticks carefully organised by brand. Organising by tone and colour makes total sense for an artist. Follow the advice of a serious working artist - richard McKinley. He says his pallete is organised by Colour Wheel, Value and Chroma. If it is good for him, it would be good for everyone, believe me.

http://www.artistsnetwork.com/medium/pastel/why-have-a-section-for-%E2%80%9Cneutrals%E2%80%9D-in-your-pastel-palette

and here is his pic.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Aug-2012/1805-palette_web.jpg

Now, do NOT ask me how he keeps them so clean, how come they are mostly the same size, and how he gets them to fit so perfectly into the box, with even space for those little pencils........MAN MUST BE A MAGICIAN........( I might start a painting session with my box looking vaguely like this, after several hours of cleaning and sorting, but I promise that by the end of a painting session, having used up various pastel sticks and worn them down, and had them rubbing together in a small tray, what goes back into the main box is not the same as what came out of it...!)

If you want to know what pastels are what make, because of the need to replace a stick when you get to the end, then take a LARGE sheet of paper (or several, one for each brand) and make a small mark and write the number beside it. In other words, make your own colour charts. Then, when you start to run out of a pastel, or have forgotten which make it is, you can check your remaining stump alongside your colour chart.

markusrydh
08-03-2012, 04:31 AM
Great post Jackie, thank you very much. Now I am back on track and will rearrange my palette with my mind at ease :)

jackiesimmonds
08-03-2012, 01:42 PM
my pleasure

markusrydh
08-14-2012, 06:38 PM
Now I have finally finished (well, more or less) my home made Heilman-inspired pastel box for my tuck-away-in-the-corner studio :clap: :clap: As I am quite proud of it I just have to share some pics ;)

It was quite some work, but very much fun as well. Now I just hope it will hold together and not ruin all my pastel sticks...

Best of all: I made it very large so that it easily swallows all my sticks with room for plenty more = reason to buy more :angel:

Now I can finally start sorting my palette!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0253_at_2012-08-14.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0254_at_2012-08-14.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0255_at_2012-08-14.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0256_at_2012-08-14.jpg

aquabone
08-15-2012, 12:32 AM
Now I have finally finished (well, more or less) my home made Heilman-inspired pastel box for my tuck-away-in-the-corner studio :clap: :clap: As I am quite proud of it I just have to share some pics ;)

It was quite some work, but very much fun as well. Now I just hope it will hold together and not ruin all my pastel sticks...

Best of all: I made it very large so that it easily swallows all my sticks with room for plenty more = reason to buy more :angel:

Now I can finally start sorting my palette!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0253_at_2012-08-14.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0254_at_2012-08-14.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0255_at_2012-08-14.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2012/974592-_ICT0256_at_2012-08-14.jpg

wow! fine work- nice box!!
:thumbsup:
aquabone

Colorix
08-15-2012, 03:02 AM
Markus, you have a great future in making pastel boxes for European pastellists! So well made, it is great!

markusrydh
08-15-2012, 04:15 AM
Thanks! Charlie, I don't think I am gonna quit my day job just yet :)

markusrydh
08-16-2012, 06:49 PM
And here is the final result loaded with all my sticks. Just a quick sorting, but I think that will do for now.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2012/974592-12_-_1.jpeg

Moises Menendez
02-03-2013, 06:38 AM
I have noticed that the well organized pastel palette in most of the artists are for plain air, but what about a palette for portraits?
I just bought a large and slim box from Mr. Heilman and I am ready to get organized and paint portraits. Any suggestions?

sketchZ1ol
02-09-2013, 03:10 PM
hello
my sticks remain unbroken in their original packaging/wrapping .

gloves/barrier cremes/handwiping are a pain ,
and when any fine detail is needed , the surface and the stick tip must be visible .

also , it's a reminder of how the material releases on paper .

textured supports make it too easy to overpaint to correct ( ending up as mud )
and not figure out essential colour/value + stick blending concerns .

Ed