View Full Version : Are there pastels in your collection you never use?

10-04-2013, 01:16 PM
Hello to all, I'm about to start a new series of paintings and before I go purchase a bunch of new pastels... (ok try and stop me), I'm wondering if you, like me, have selection of pastel values/hues that never get used.

For me it's my dark earth colors... maybe it's because I live in Seattle and we lean towards cooler hues. Then again.. in painting portraits and the figure, I used these a lot...

I'm also selfishly interested in seeing if there could be a "swap" of pastels from collections that may benefit each of us.

Ok... just tossing it out there. Barb

PS: Going to visit Craig at Dakota Pastels today... I'll tell him WC says hello!

10-04-2013, 01:34 PM
There are no bright and vivid colours in my clothing (excepting reds) nor my interior decorating. I like darks, neutrals, earth colours and haven't yet learned how to use those bright yellows, blues, greens, pinks and purples. This applies to pastels and paint. I don't have a lot of pastels else I'd jump on this in a heartbeat. I've always had a problem with painting light values and maybe this is why.

10-04-2013, 10:50 PM
It may just be a matter of my habits, but no, I don't have any pastels that I don't use. I use them all. It's more a matter of how often and whether it's over large areas. I used to hate all my neutral colors but then I started playing with them after I arranged them in a Muted Spectrum... and all of a sudden they got convenient.

I used to hate all the light pastel colors and now they're indispensible. I don't actually wear them in clothing. But I need them to paint.

I have about a thousand pastels. But I can't think of one texture or color or brand that I don't use - it's more that they each have their favorite surfaces and subjects. Some colors are better for skin tones but those are also better for animals and sometimes trees. Others are more for flowers but I'll go using them together and get natural effects by scumbling complements together. I thought I had too many brights, except that I love the pure spectrum colors and the finer the spectrum division between blue violet and slightly bluer blue-violet and nearly blue violet and then violetish blue, the more I enjoy having the right one to hand.

I'm horrible that way, but I like rotating them too so none of it goes unused.

10-05-2013, 05:40 AM
Yes. I don't use browns, greys, and black or white much at all, nearly never. So I only buy open stock, as *every* set has about a quarter of the sticks in those colours. Som portrait sets are all brown... pinky brown, yellowy brown, violetty brown, etc. I don't understand why, as brown shadows will age a person and make them look dirty too.

OK, I do use greyed down yellows, as a pure yellow is too light to warm up a shadow area, while an ochre will do the job. But a rose or a green might give the illusion of being 'yellow'.

Only, most of my browns are slightly used, so I'm not sure anyone would want to swap with me. I'd be willing to send a photo showing the condition. And I'd want bright colours in return, and I'd not mind if they were slightly used. Ask about that portrait set, I'll not put the brand name here.

10-05-2013, 06:52 AM
Well, of course there are people who are brown, so maybe those shades are not just meant for shadows.

10-05-2013, 08:45 AM
Grinner, of course you're right! So sorry for not thinking. Naturally, those sets are for global use, and not designed for blond blue-eyed Swedes. I am guilty of thinking too locally, of the type of people I see around me. Absolutely no offence meant.

But I do think that more pigmented skintones need more colour too, as it reflects light more beautifully than skintones with little pigment.

10-05-2013, 09:06 AM
I don't use browns much, especially the dark ones. I also don't use a true gray much, hardly ever. Other than that I seem to use different colors every time I do a painting. I force myself to clean the sticks I've used from the last painting and put them all back into the boxes they came from. Because I do this I have no sure way of knowing what I used last, I'm not prejudiced into going for the same pastels sticks again. I know I do like some particular colors more than others, but I find because of the way I've got my sticks arranged I'm going for what works and not what colors I "lean on" most.

I have all my pastels arranged by color/value, separating the neutrals which are much nicer than true grays. I'm like Robert, I now like my neutrals now that they are in their own space, they look prettier that way and I now find them very useful. I also almost never used yellow, and now I'm finding I love yellow, it's very useful. Also, I especially never used to use the lighter pastel sticks much, yet now because of my new arrangement the lighter ones are extremely useful, the different nuances are subtle and I like having light versions of all my colors.

To sum up, I think my true grays and dark browns are (and always have been) my least used colors. I noticed that when I arranged my palette, and I'm now looking to see if it will change as I go forward. Knowing my preferences though, I'm not inclined to think I will be using dark browns or grays much at all. Good thing I don't have too many of them :lol: ....

10-05-2013, 11:49 AM
thanks for posting... I have to teach today and was busy picking out new sticks yesterday at Dakota... Back later to comment more.


10-05-2013, 05:09 PM
blue violet and slightly bluer blue-violet and nearly blue violet and then violetish blue,

pinky brown, yellowy brown, violetty brown, etc

I just love the way we artists describe colors. I was once told to use a "cooler blue", and when I picked one up I was told "No, a warmer, cooler blue" :lol:

10-05-2013, 07:03 PM
I avoid red like the plaque. I only use it when I have to.

Most of my browns are "low mileage" too.

I too appreciate my neutrals more now that I have them arranged better.
Unlike Chris, I love neutral grey, funny how different we work.

10-05-2013, 09:49 PM
I just love the way we artists describe colors. I was once told to use a "cooler blue", and when I picked one up I was told "No, a warmer, cooler blue" :lol:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

10-12-2013, 10:56 PM
I am so sorry for starting this thread and then abandoning it. Not my intention - please forgive me.

After I posted, I did go to Dakota Pastels with a bowl of 'chips' and attempted to purchase replacement colors for a new painting series. :lol: what chart? I tried that once 13 years ago and then failed to do it again.

The staff at Dakota laughed at me. They loved telling me stories of what it's like when callers try to describe a replacement pastel over the phone and the choice of words we use... It's kind of reddish green but not... and it's not round anymore but...

Judy - what you described is exactly that... warmer cooler blue...

I'm in love with light pale grays and neutrals. I ended up with a set of "pastel" pastels. But then there were those darks I couldn't leave without... and well... so it goes.

I look forward to a future time when my browns are more worn down.. till then, I'm on a roll.

:wave: Barb

10-14-2013, 01:34 AM
Not to worry Barb, I have some pastels I don't use. I bought a set of 50 Girault pastels a couple of years ago that I never integrated into my main palette. Consequently I always seem to forget to use them! Other than that I agree with Chris…I never seem to use my colorless grays much. I guess that sort of color just doesn't really come up all that much in nature.