View Full Version : Townsend Terrages on plain paper

07-27-2014, 04:36 PM
Just recently I bought a set of 12 Primary Townsend Terrages, they finally came out with a small set that included the entire spectrum. I'd been wondering how easy or hard it'd be to get tints with the white on the strong pure colours in the set.

So today I tested them on 98 pound Canson Multimedia paper. I usually chart new pastels. Love the feel of these, the pumice really grips the paper and they are reasonably soft, blend well either with stick or finger. I was right about the colours in this set - they are the right ones to be able to do plein air in a Colourist style with a tiny set.


How they handle: softish, gritty, blend out easily and unlike some brands, the softness varies per stick. What stunned me most was the beautiful effect when I lightened the blue and the red with white. I'm used to getting good stick-blended textures and know I could have gotten lighter or darker tints by how much I put under the white layer, but the texture is gorgeous. The warm blue gave a natural "partly cloudy" sky blue just in a few strokes.

With their pumice formulation, I feel as if it'd be a waste using them on sanded paper. Maybe if I were just using one brand of pastels overall it wouldn't, but the pumice gives them extra grip on plain papers. It also makes a beautiful texture effect a little like granulated watercolor in unblended strokes or stick-blended mixtures.

I treat every new pastel as its own, they all have different effects and while they aren't as insanely bright and pigment rich as Roche' they'd work well with them. Next up of course I'll try to do a small painting with the set.

I am pretty sure the Thinline are the same formula shaped different, more like regular sticks. Terrages are sort of flattened and kneaded-eraser shaped, very good for broad strokes or turned on edge, thin lines.

07-27-2014, 07:39 PM
Nice chart Robert. Looking forward to seeing your first work with them

Donna T
07-27-2014, 07:42 PM
What a gorgeous set, Robert! I've never tried that brand before but after your review I may have to save up for them. It seems like they might be a perfect fit for some of the printmaking papers I sometimes like to use - the grit would probably come in handy.

07-27-2014, 08:02 PM
Ooh, those are lovely colors! I like the Terrages because their tooth makes them grip when others won't. They work even on smooth printer paper. It's like Christmas in July, getting new pastels, isn't it? Have fun with them!

07-27-2014, 08:20 PM
One kind purple is at least missing.

07-27-2014, 10:15 PM

How much do they differ from the thinline which also has pumice? Would you say a good combination would be to use the Terrange line for under, and her soft pastels as finishers?

07-28-2014, 08:45 AM
Actually, Jake, based on the green samples I got, Diane Townsend pastels have the same formula. Terrages is the flattened wide shape and Thinline the same formula but rolled into more traditional sticks about the size of Unisons. Both have the pumice. Both have a lot of muted and neutral colors in the range and a nice range of tints and darks.

I really liked the Terrages shape from the sample I got and meant to buy this or something like it sometime. It's very easy to get a thin line mark by turning it on its edge and it gives a lovely broad mark with two choices of widths, very handy shape.

So I'd use them all together. If I used finishers with them, I'd probably use Townsends and then finishing marks with my Roche' pieces rather than come in over them with my Senneliers or Ludwigs. But they do work fine with other pastels. The texture felt good, felt like it was softer than the Rembrandt-Art Spectrum-W&N group, about like the Unisons in softness. Super softs or hand rolled would go over them easily.

Wolf Kahn is the famous artist that loves these Terrages. He uses a lot of brights in his work, which left me scratching my head that his signature collection lacked some of them. I guess he just has a bigger set and those are his essentials - or the photos of the Wolf Kahn sets mute some colors by problems with the photography. I might like them better in person. Very often photos turn all the tints white or too light to tell their hue.

I can get a hot pink with the red in this set and a little white, so I'm happy. I know there are some gorgeous hot pinks in the whole range and might add some more of these later on.

JPQ, yeah, there isn't a red violet in this box, only the violet tint. It's odd but to me just feels quirky. I love red violet, like having it handy, but it's one of those hues that it's difficult to get lightfast in pastels. In other mediums Quinacridone Violet and various Quinacridone Reds are good and lightfast. I don't know what the problem is with them in pastels, except that in my Winsor Newton set there are cold reds that are Quinacridones and they are not as bright as they would be in other mediums. It might need a certain amount more filler to get them to be opaque that reduces their intensity.

Other than that, I really don't know. It's frustrating since I use red-violet a lot. Fortunately the cold red in this set is genuinely cold enough - at least a dead center true red, slight purple cast really - that I could blend with the violet to get red-violets and add a bit of white to get tints of that. It's much better than if I didn't have a violet at all. I might have gone with a blue tint or hot pink instead of the violet tint, but I like it for some reason.

Don't ask me why, it's just that violet tint is nice in itself. It's strange.

Because of the short range I might be using up the white and replacing it faster than with most of my pastels. But the convenience of the tiny box and easy mixing makes up for that. It's 5 5/8" one way and 6 1/4" the other, very small, would fit in a jacket or coat pocket depending on which jacket I grab. Stacks nice with my 7" art journal.

I really need to start making tracing paper inserts for the times I do pastels in that journal though, have had some smudging on opposing pages.

Blayne, yeah, it's like Christmas in July getting new pastels! I'm going out on Wednesday for my usual twice a month clinic appointment and might phone the transportation to get an extra hour before pickup, spend an hour in the garden painting with them. I could even do that in the multimedia book, though I've got the Canson pads in my backpack too. Canson pads, it's not stuck in the book and can come out to hang on my wall.

We'll see what I can come up with. I think I need at least an hour to do something decent in pastels and I usually wind up spending some time getting photos of whatever's in bloom.

I believe it they grip even on printer paper. They have a great texture. I could feel the pumice digging in while I made the marks. Ah, if I wasn't disabled I'd be saving up for a roll of Arches and a lot more Terrages to do giant pastels paintings... but if I wasn't disabled I'd also be making a living on art and thus have no trouble buying them.

07-28-2014, 08:52 AM
Thanks Robert! So these are not as pigment rich as Roché, huh?

07-28-2014, 12:18 PM
Nothing is as pigment rich as Roche' but these are good. They'd work well with them. Roche' is in a class by itself.

Also, their not being in that price range means I'm willing to risk hauling them around at the clinic garden instead of keeping them at home in a safe place where they'll never be moved or crumbled... lol... too good to use comes into it. I should go ahead and use them though, they are so beautiful.

What's odd is how much I enjoyed using these on white paper. I usually go for the mid tone value papers, bright or muted, but the white really works with these. Probably because the hues are so classic.

07-28-2014, 03:30 PM
Good to know they work together, Rob!

Yes, imagine dropping a box of "my precioussss" Rochés in deep grass, or, worse, in gravel...

07-28-2014, 06:44 PM
Ow oh Charlie that is such a nightmare! Now you've got me picturing it in my mind - giving me horrible nightmares!

I think the Terrages would do all right though. I like the little box, it's very sturdy and the foam's thick and solid. A bit safer, those. Roche's stay home where they're safe from all harm and my cat is not allowed near them.

Now you've got me wanting to do something with that crazy rich blue...

08-03-2014, 10:26 PM
Robert, are you certain the thinline are the same formula as the Terrage? I see a big price difference between the two, unless it's a size issue. Hard to tell from the pictures online.


08-03-2014, 11:47 PM
The Terrages are about twice the size of the Thin Lines. The Thin Lines have a bit less pumice than the Terrages, from what I can feel. You can see more at Diane Townsend's site:

08-04-2014, 12:02 AM
Great review Robert, and thanks for drawing my attention to those full spectrum sets! I have a few Terrages that I bought to try a few months ago along with some of the Thinlines, and I am noticing that yours seem a lot more opaque than mine. You have some nice rich hues there. I have only the deepest darks, like the darkest shades dark purple, green, burgundy, and teal blue. But even though they are so dark that a couple of the sticks look basically black, they go down transparently. It's sort of a clear wash of color that is rather nice, if you aren't trying for something else at the time. If I recall correctly, the dark teal blue is especially transparent. I wonder if it is only the darker ones that are like that.

I will have to think about this set. I do like the pumice formula on unsanded paper.

08-04-2014, 12:13 AM
The Terrages are about twice the size of the Thin Lines. The Thin Lines have a bit less pumice than the Terrages, from what I can feel. You can see more at Diane Townsend's site:

Thanks Bruce, was a bit hard to tell from their site, but I will check again. I am more concerned about the texture and formula..would be great if they were exactly the same but different shapes, kind of like how Girault used to make the conical shapes..not sure if they still do.

08-04-2014, 12:24 AM
The Terrages are about twice the size of the Thin Lines. The Thin Lines have a bit less pumice than the Terrages, from what I can feel. You can see more at Diane Townsend's site:

Actually Bruce, from the dimensions they give..don't know how I missed that, they are about the same. Terrage is 1 1/2 x 1" and thinlines are 2"x 1/2" I guess the difference is in the thickness of 6/8th on the Terrages...not sure though if that equals the big difference in price or perhaps it is the pumice. The site describes the thinline as "similar" to the Terrages...

08-04-2014, 12:30 AM
Oh good point about the Thinlines. They are smaller and the shape more conventional. I like the Terrages. They have a lot of grip and rich strong opaque color. I'm not sure I want to deal with transparent colors!

08-11-2014, 02:28 PM
Oh, I missed the thread. Those look nice and interesting. If you use them on a nonsanded paper, do they create the texture like other pastels can only do on a sanded paper? Is the layering really much easier? Thank you :)

08-11-2014, 09:17 PM
I found the layering to be a lot easier when I used them on a plein air painting. I was interrupted and it was only half finished but I could easily have brought the whole thing to a finished state only using the 12 colors I have. I blended a little between layers to mix hues but it kept going on easily. I love their texture.

I just want to get a dozen more, so I have tints, light tints and several deep darks. They're excellent and the pumice worked.