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View Full Version : What's wrong with Jaxells?


abstract23
11-17-2013, 03:34 AM
Its mostly the big brands like MV, TL, Unisons, Schminckes etc that are talked about. The Jaxell soft pastels are rarely recommended.

I have an impression they are considered student-grade. Are they not lightfast enough, cheap, weak colour range, not enough neutrals, professional artists don't recommend them? Just wondering what might be the reason?

robertsloan2
11-17-2013, 04:05 AM
Hmm. I haven't actually seen them in the USA at all, they're not in any of the online shops that I get my pastels from.

The price range can sometimes be a clue, but not always because companies have different sources and methods and expenses. If you have Jaxells pastels to test and some of these other brands, I'd love to know. I'll be watching this thread with interest.

Student grade pastels seem to be quite soft usually, tend to be very heavy on brights in their range, may be short on tints and darks but not too bad depending on how big a set. The pigment load if pigmented isn't as heavy, there's more filler. Lightfastness is a huge issue. They're also very uniform in texture, less affected by the different materials of the different pigment. The brights are very bright and may include fluorescents.

They're not always a bad thing though. They're usually non toxic (and the manufacturers make a big deal of that), cheap, can be used in very large projects or anything where lightfastness isn't an issue. The way to know for yourself of course is to do a home lightfastness test and see which colors fade and how fast. Tape up swatches in a sunny window with half the swatch covered in heavy cardboard, or put one test strip in a black box for the same amount of time the sun one is in the window. Take it out every few weeks to check against each other for color changes and fading.

That gives at least some idea.

I've seen gaps in colour range in some good brands though so that's not always what it is. There's a tendency with some supplies that if it's not lightfast it needs to be a designer spectrum with many subtle hue variations, three degrees of red-orange between red and orange, but not many tints sort of thing and many pure hues on the 12 color spectrum.

Versus an "artist" range with muted colors, earths, grays, lots of tints and hopefully darks.

In sketchbook use it really doesn't matter. Also in anything like illustration where the print or digital image is the final version. Anything fluorescent is not lightfast by definition - those colors are going to degrade fast because the fluorescence is caused by their breaking down.

There are also some "in between" products that are either low end artist grade or high end student too, there seems to be a range. Very cheap and safe for children is probably fugitive and something to use for practice and sketching and ephemeral design applications.

I know I'd very much like to goof around on a poster sized painting with the fluorescents and black and get a black light and just enjoy that for what it is, maybe get some good photos of it for the long term but do stuff intended to be like that. I had visions of fluorescent big paintings as a young kid in the sixties and now that I'm better at pasteling, it could be cool to do them even if they're not going to be permanent. Or just store it in a black box and only take it out for a party once in a while to help it survive longer.

DAK723
11-17-2013, 10:44 AM
Its mostly the big brands like MV, TL, Unisons, Schminckes etc that are talked about. The Jaxell soft pastels are rarely recommended.

I have an impression they are considered student-grade. Are they not lightfast enough, cheap, weak colour range, not enough neutrals, professional artists don't recommend them? Just wondering what might be the reason?
Well, never heard of them! I don't think they have ever been sold in the USA - so not sure how widely they might be known. And looking at their price online from some stores in England, it looks like they might be student grade. But that doesn't mean that they won't work just fine! If you have some, there's no reason not to use them!

Don

abstract23
11-17-2013, 11:46 AM
Thanks Robert and Don.
I don't own them but as Don pointed out they are cheap in online stores in UK, I was thinking of giving them a go, but at the same time, don't want to invest anything that is student-grade, or not lightfast.

Would be great to know from someone who has used them and can confirm how well they hold.

Colorix
11-17-2013, 12:35 PM
I haven't used them, because they look like cheap student grade. But looks may deceive, as they are sold as "artists quality" in the Neatherlands and in Germany. What would be really good to have is a lightfastness chart, but I've not found any (not that I've looked too hard).

abstract23
11-17-2013, 12:50 PM
I just dug a little further on greatart.co.uk (who don't deliver to Sweden! These Jaxell seller's are a strange lot. The german site Gerstaecker sells Jaxells but one should buy a min of 150 Euros of goods and then pay a huge shipping fee to Sweden!)
Now, there seems to be a round Jaxell extra fine pastel unlike the old rectangular pastels. This new round pastel has high lightfast ratings, but the rectangular ones doesn't mention anything about lightfastness.
The price for a single round pastel is £2.45!!! Almost as much as a Schmincke. Whereas the rectangulars are almost for free!

Here's the link http://www.greatart.co.uk/NEWS5/Christmas-Flash-Sale/Jaxell-Finest-Pastels-for-Artists.html

Perhaps one reason for Jaxell's to not be popular is their marketing is weak, and they are not in the US, which I would assume, consumes the most pastels. You don't sell to the US, you don't make a name, because therein lies the big jumbos of pastel art.
Having said that, they may still be worth using, especially those expensive round ones due to their excellent lightfast ratings. For me, given a choice between them and Schminckes, I will take Schminckes anytime.
I haven't used them, because they look like cheap student grade. But looks may deceive, as they are sold as "artists quality" in the Neatherlands and in Germany. What would be really good to have is a lightfastness chart, but I've not found any (not that I've looked too hard).

Colorix
11-17-2013, 02:14 PM
You can find the square ones in Sweden for about 10:- per stick, at Boesner (german with a swedish version of the site) and In-Exfärg http://www.in-exfarg.se/pennor--kritor/fargkritor/torrpastell-c-408-7.aspx -- but In-Ex seems to sell only sets online, but do sell single sticks in Göteborg.

I'm interested in finding good quality cheap pastels too.

abstract23
11-17-2013, 02:28 PM
Thanks for the link Charlie.
Notice on that link when you click on any of the Jaxell set, they are the rectangular ones which are pretty cheap elsewhere(outside Sweden) and it mentions '...god ljusäkthet', which isn't mentioned on GreatFart or Gerstaecker. That becomes a question of whom to trust. Beginning to have a feeling of abandoning the rectangular Jaxells for that reason alone.


You can find the square ones in Sweden for about 10:- per stick, at Boesner (german with a swedish version of the site) and In-Exfärg http://www.in-exfarg.se/pennor--kritor/fargkritor/torrpastell-c-408-7.aspx -- but In-Ex seems to sell only sets online, but do sell single sticks in Göteborg.

I'm interested in finding good quality cheap pastels too.

Colorix
11-17-2013, 02:33 PM
When looking at the different sites that sell them, I get the impression they all use the same words, probably straight from the manufacturer, which I have not found yet, btw, only that they're supposed to be German. And *every* manufacturer anywhere says their pastels are richly pigmented and of great quality. They may be just great pastels, but their marketing doesn't rise above what is done for student quality.

abstract23
11-17-2013, 02:45 PM
True their marketing is really lacking, in fact, its like hacking your own feet, because here there are customers who are interested but their existence is elusive, which doesn't give confidence to buy them.

Also, yes they mention 'richly pigmented and great quality' everywhere, but than a pastel can be all that but poor in lightfastness, and that's the big kahuna of pigment-buying-decision for me.

When looking at the different sites that sell them, I get the impression they all use the same words, probably straight from the manufacturer, which I have not found yet, btw, only that they're supposed to be German. And *every* manufacturer anywhere says their pastels are richly pigmented and of great quality. They may be just great pastels, but their marketing doesn't rise above what is done for student quality.

*Marina*
11-17-2013, 02:49 PM
I don't have any experience with Jaxells pastels, but this is what Dianna Ponting has to say about them on her supply list for her workshops when you don't want to spend too much money when you are just starting out.

"Jaxells are available in sets of 72. These pastels work very well on sanded papers and are only slightly more difficult to use on light papers like Mi Teintes. They are advertised as ‘Artist’ quality and are very reasonably priced."

They are available in Holland
http://www.martinbrinkhuis.nl/content/NL/121?search=jaxell

If you are really interested in buying them it might be worth to contact Martin Brinkhuis.

abstract23
11-17-2013, 03:15 PM
Thanks for that link Marina. Welcome to going-round-in-circles talk :lol:
Dianna cannot be more right than she already is in that statement. However the big, fat 'if' about that statement is if she was aware of their lightfastness when she wrote it. Previously even Mungyo's were advertised as 'Artist' quality but most of us now know that they are not lightfast (unless its the handmade Inscribe variety)
Its turning into a thing that unless its a well-established brand or online retailer, its difficult to know if the online retail sellers of these pastels are right or wrong.

I don't have any experience with Jaxells pastels, but this is what Dianna Ponting has to say about them on her supply list for her workshops when you don't want to spend too much money when you are just starting out.

"Jaxells are available in sets of 72. These pastels work very well on sanded papers and are only slightly more difficult to use on light papers like Mi Teintes. They are advertised as ‘Artist’ quality and are very reasonably priced."

They are available in Holland
http://www.martinbrinkhuis.nl/content/NL/121?search=jaxell

If you are really interested in buying them it might be worth to contact Martin Brinkhuis.

*Marina*
11-17-2013, 05:25 PM
Anoop, it all depends what you want to achieve and what your budget is. If you are still a beginner and not knowing whether you will continue with soft pastels, the Jaxells might be a good solution. I have a suspicion they will be a good pastel to experiment with without having to worry about the cost. Last June when Dianna Ponting was in Holland, she was still talking about them as a possibility for beginners.

Personally I am not too worried about lightfastness etc. I paint for enjoyment and if the Jaxell pastel is the right tool for that, I will use it.

I think in general there is too much empahasis on archival and light fast materials.

Colorix
11-28-2013, 05:09 AM
I think in general there is too much empahasis on archival and light fast materials.

If you paint solely for you your own enjoyment, then of course lightfastness doesn't matter much at all, I agree with that.

For those of us who are, or aspire to be, professional artists, however, archival, acid free, and lightfast are important matters. Were we to sell inferior products to our customers, it would be negative for our business and our reputation. One faded pastel painting will reflect badly on all of us. Serious artists want to be serious about the quality of the products.

And I claim that the hobby painter will both have an easier time, and more enjoyment, from good quality products. There's a vast difference between painting with lots of fillers and weak pigments, and painting with the real thing.

abstract23
11-28-2013, 09:02 AM
It can't be more truer than you said Charlie.
Quality lightfast pastels that are also well-priced stay around way longer and are value for money.
BTW Daler Rowney has gone the Winsor & Newton way and has discontinued their soft pastels! They were good, but not well-priced! RIP!

*Marina*
11-29-2013, 09:48 AM
I agree with you Charlie, I work mainly with professional materials like Wallis, Sennelier and Unison, but I am still of the opinion that there is too much emphasis on archival etc. We won't be around to see how paintings will be in a 100 years. Manufacturers can claim all sorts of things, but nobody will be around to see it. Do you really think that they worried about archival and lightfastness in the past?

As far as I am concerned as long as my paintings last my life time it is fine.

There might be plenty of good reasons why people would like to use a cheaper pastel, so they definitely deserve a place of their own.

abstract23
11-29-2013, 10:03 AM
We won't be around to see how paintings will be in a 100 years.

In my books it should not be a question of if we are alive to see our artwork after a 100 years, but instead if the art looks the same after a 100 years as it was since the day it was born.
Let's say the buyer clicks a photo of the artwork the day he/she purchased it. That artwork gets passed on in the family for 100 years, the grandkids look at the photo and than at the artwork. Will they think it looks the same artwork or will they think 'umm well, the colours look a bit off'.
That's why the fuss.

They didn't care about archival and lightfastness in the past because they didn't had much choice as we have today. I know da big Vinci would have loved to paint with Unisons/Giraults etc on Wallis/Pastelmat etc because he loved chalks as demonstrated in the National Gallery, London.

Colorix
11-29-2013, 12:54 PM
We won't be around to see how paintings will be in a 100 years.

True, but the heirs of our collectors will be.

Do you really think that they worried about archival and lightfastness in the past?

No, I don't think, or believe, or express an unfounded opinion -- I know they did care about lightfastness, that is crystal clear from historical sources in Europe. All serious artists in history have always cared about lightfastness and permanence. (Sometimes they experimented with bad results, but how are new discoveries made if one doesn't experiment?) They lived in a paradigm where possessions were not thrown away when one gets tired of them, like today, but were valued and handed down the generations.

Pigment history is rather fascinating.

AnnaLisa
11-29-2013, 01:18 PM
The Jaxells (not the round) was the second brand I bought in the beginning.

I bought them for many years ago in Målarlisa in Stockholm. The shop is
closed.
If I remember right the owner of that shop is Masters. You can call them
and ask about them. I don´t have the pastels in front of me just now, so
I can not tell about them, because I have not used them for long.

They are pretty soft (but not as Schmincke) and if one Paints for themselves
I guess that you maybee can use them in the first layer. But I will have to
check them closer later.

Here is the phone number to Masters

08 - 642 78 74, S:t Paulsg. 14

*Marina*
11-29-2013, 03:12 PM
I feel this is a rather pointless discussion. I stay with my opinion that there is too much attention and over reaction about light fastness and archival. Nobody knows in 100 years time how the original looked, even if photos were taken.

And now I am really going to upset some people, but how many paintings will have survived the 100 years anyway. I feel a lot of our paintings will disappear once we have died and houses need to be cleared by next generations. Just being realistic and down to earth.

Let's enjoy the pleasure of creating and painting without too many worries.

abstract23
11-29-2013, 03:31 PM
Annalisa, thanks for the information.

Marina, I think its totally fine to stick to our own views, that's what makes these kind of discussions interesting :)

lisaastrup
10-12-2014, 05:37 PM
Hi.

I'm looking for info regarding pastels and found Jaxells, and some old info about them, ar there any new info ?

I'm tempted to try a set, I don't know anything about pastels and would like to give it a try, and I want to buy in EU only. :thumbsup:

Tell us what you know and links would be nice, thank you :wave:

Lisa

abstract23
10-13-2014, 12:53 AM
Hi Lisa :wave:

As much as I know Jaxells can be purchased from www.gerstaecker.com in Germany. They do send within Europe though one needs to buy for a min of 150 euros if ordering for the first time.
Gerstaecker also have greatart.co.uk in the UK, which often have better prices than the parent company, but they do not send outside the UK.

Hope this helps.
Anoop

Nick7
10-13-2014, 01:37 AM
I am surprised to see that you talk about 100 years. As far as I know, not lightfast watercolors can fade in a matter af months. Isn't it the same with pastels?

AnnaLisa
10-13-2014, 05:43 PM
This is a one year old thread coming to Life again:)

Hi Lisa, I Believe that Jaxell maybee was the second brand of pastels
I have bought. The first was a set of 60 Rembrandt. Its Always easier to start
with an open stock and just buy a few to try out. But maybee that is difficult to find where you are.

Maybee you have not seen Rembrandt, but Jaxell (which is from Vang) is a
bit softer than Rembrandt, it releases a Little bit of pastels (when I tried on
Canson mi-teintes now)

There are shops that sell things for 'hobbies' which use to have cheap student grade pastels as well just to try out if you like it.

lisaastrup
10-13-2014, 06:19 PM
This is a one year old thread coming to Life again:)

Hi Lisa, I Believe that Jaxell maybee was the second brand of pastels
I have bought. The first was a set of 60 Rembrandt. Its Always easier to start
with an open stock and just buy a few to try out. But maybee that is difficult to find where you are.

Maybee you have not seen Rembrandt, but Jaxell (which is from Vang) is a
bit softer than Rembrandt, it releases a Little bit of pastels (when I tried on
Canson mi-teintes now)

There are shops that sell things for 'hobbies' which use to have cheap student grade pastels as well just to try out if you like it.

I know its an old thread, but there was not any newer on this Jaxell line.

Brands from EU is not very popular here and thats a shame I think, but now
I'll try it out myself :rolleyes: I hope the best.

gergab
08-22-2017, 08:31 AM
I have been wondering about these Jaxell extra fine soft pastels too. Here in Germany they are available as individual sticks in some stores for about 1,5 euros (at an online store for 1,42 - but they have huge shipping prices). I have bought a few pieces, and in comparison to my Rembrandt Royal Talens sticks and Sennelier, I dare say they are closer to Sennelier than the other, when considering softness and vibrancy. I have no idea about their lightfastness.
Another thing: I don't remember where exactly I saw that, maybe on the gerstaecker website, but they are produced by same company as Mungyo.
So I suppose they are somewhere in-between Mungyo Gallery handmade and the normal Mungyo Gallery sticks.

Kosmon
08-22-2017, 04:33 PM
They look just like the Faber-Castell "Creative Studio" (ex-"Goldfaber") soft pastels (I have a box of 36 in my "bargain basement" stash), which are made in Korea.

I also have a set of 72 F-C "CS" half-sticks - seems like the same color names as in the 72 Mungyo Gallery soft square sticks (I don't have any of these, so can't confirm that).

Kos

gergab
08-29-2017, 06:17 AM
By the way Jaxell has now sets in it's normal soft-pastel line (not the extra fine). Landscape, Still Life and Portrait.