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View Full Version : UArt color change, and new paper at Dakota!


Barbara WC
11-01-2014, 02:52 AM
I ordered more paper from Dakota on Monday, and got it yesterday! Great,fast shipping!

Has UArt changed it's color? Both sheets I ordered, the 400 grit and the 320 grit, are a beautiful pale cream color. I last ordered it in 2011, and stopped buying it because the sheets were a dark, dull mustard yellow color. I was trying to do watercolor underpaintings, and because watercolor is translucent, was ending up with some awful looking mixes of colors.

My favorite regular papers are LaCarte and PastelMat, but I was wanting to go back to experimenting with watercolor underpaintings again on a toothier paper than PastelMat so I ordered a couple of sheets of UArt on Monday.

I knew that UArt has variable color productions, but had no idea it was this dramatic.

By the way, there is a new paper at Daktoa, I had placed my order before finding out about it otherwise I would have gotten a sheet! I am set for paper for the next 4-6 months, so won't be ordering this anytime soon, hope to hear what others think of it!

http://www.dakotapastels.com/pages/specials.aspx

Equus Art
11-01-2014, 08:50 AM
I have been only using UArt for the past 6 mths or so and it has always been that very pretty cream color. It is one of my favorite papers as is LaCarte but I don't buy that one too often. Price and delicacy keep me from filling my studio with it.

Cat

jakertanner
11-01-2014, 10:41 AM
That paper looks a bit pricy for it to be new. And I have always felt that Dakota has some kind of elitist way about them that they charge people for samples. Blick does not charge anyone, and offers samples of pretty much everything, so not sure why Dakota feels they are better. Has always bothered me a bit. I understand sample packs, full sheets of something, but all I want is a 3x3 sample, so that I am not wasting money on a product I may not like.

I also think that if they are going to create "samples" for sale, at the very least, include the shipping costs..just my take. I have always been from the school that giving a "taste" to a potential buyer, goes a long way in customer loyalty.

Sorry for the rant...lol didn't intend to go this route.

BTW, has anyone tried the Richeson pastel paper? I got some samples from them, and it seems pretty nice. about a 1/2" border all around, and sanded similar to Canson's Touch paper, but a bit more grit.

I too have samples and packs of Uart, and it's a nice beige to be honest, wouldn't rely call mine cream colored. So maybe they gave me old stock?

DAK723
11-01-2014, 11:11 AM
That paper looks a bit pricy for it to be new. And I have always felt that Dakota has some kind of elitist way about them that they charge people for samples. Blick does not charge anyone, and offers samples of pretty much everything, so not sure why Dakota feels they are better. Has always bothered me a bit. I understand sample packs, full sheets of something, but all I want is a 3x3 sample, so that I am not wasting money on a product I may not like.

I also think that if they are going to create "samples" for sale, at the very least, include the shipping costs..just my take. I have always been from the school that giving a "taste" to a potential buyer, goes a long way in customer loyalty.

Sorry for the rant...lol didn't intend to go this route.




Regarding Dakota versus Blick - a possibility you might consider: Blick is a huge nationwide franchise that sells a hundreds (if not thousands) of different products. Dakota Pastels is a small specialty shop that only sells pastel supplies. Considering that huge nationwide franchises often put small independent stores out of business, I would have no complaint if the small store does whatever it takes to stay in business. Just my opinion - and you are certainly entitled to yours. I am making generalizations and have no idea if Dakota is struggling or thriving!

Don

jakertanner
11-01-2014, 12:00 PM
Regarding Dakota versus Blick - a possibility you might consider: Blick is a huge nationwide franchise that sells a hundreds (if not thousands) of different products. Dakota Pastels is a small specialty shop that only sells pastel supplies. Considering that huge nationwide franchises often put small independent stores out of business, I would have no complaint if the small store does whatever it takes to stay in business. Just my opinion - and you are certainly entitled to yours. I am making generalizations and have no idea if Dakota is struggling or thriving!

Don

I think that's my point though Don. The smaller stores need to compete and offer better service than the big boys...I am sure that being a pastel only store is great, but from a consumer's standpoint, price for the same supplies, is a big consideration. Of course, though, if the price is similar from Dakota as Blick, I would certainly buy from the smaller guy to help. I believe in buying directly from the manufacturers like Terry and Diane is a good thing too, considering their prices are about the same as some online stores...I always favor the little guy, and having the artist reply directly to me with an issues is a big plus (that's where the customer service comes in). You might get lost when dealing with a larger company.

However, when price is of concern, for me, at the moment anyway, I have to go with price. And after all, giving away a few small samples is better advertising that paying big bucks elsewhere for online ads...I speak from a business standpoint here. The smaller guys have to be better at something, if they can't compete price wise, why bother shopping with them if they can't go that little extra mile?

Granted, I haven't shopped with Dakota so I can't speak from experience, but I have certainly considered shopping with them many times, so I am not knocking them at all...I think a pastel only store is a wonderful thing. I was just pointing out the small things that might help set them apart...no disrespect intended.

Barbara WC
11-01-2014, 01:36 PM
Jake- I don't think we can compare samples offered by Blick and Dakota- Blick has a department specifically dedicated to samples, and because of they buy higher volume at likely lower cost than Dakota, and sell across a diverse portfolio of products, Blick can afford to cut into it's inventory to offer free samples- they can absorb the loss they have due to offering free paper samples. If Dakota offered free samples and had to cut into it's inventory to offer free samples, it likely would take a bit hit and maybe big enough to cut into their bottom line, and Dakota would either have to raise prices significantly, or possibly go under... I used to own a small gift store in Montana that went under in a year because I just couldn't compete with the larger, less expensive gift stores...

Dakota's prices are often the same as Blick's, and when they have monthly sales which often beat Blick on price (although they have sales on specific products only). Free shipping on orders over $200.

Dick Blick has great customer service, as does Daktoa, and this is where Daktoa excels in my opinion. They can "customize" their service where Blick can't.

For example, I am going out of town soon, and when I get back, there is a big art show I will be entering. I ran out of PastelMat and want to do one more painting on Pastelmat before the show. I also am in the middle of organizing my art room, and decided to finally break down and order a Dakota traveler for my studio organization. I contacted Dakota on a Monday, and asked if they could ship by Thursday so I would receive my order before I leave, explaining that I would be out of town for 4 days and had an art show when I got back and would like to get PastelMat. I also wanted to order a few pastels. Dakota said no problem, they would get my order to me pronto (I live in California, and it takes only 2-3 days to receive an order from them, versus 7-10 days from Blick).

I placed an order on Monday, Dakota shipped on Tuesday, and I got my order on Thursday! And, this is the big one for me, some of the pastels on my order were out of stock- they said they would hold them and would not ship until I am back in town. I doubt that Blick would have this type of customer service- holding partial orders around my schedule.

About paper samples- I personally can't tell if I"m going to get along well with a 3"x3" square of paper sample. I need to really use a paper 2-3 times, create a painting on the surface before it gets a yay or nay. So for me personally, I only use the Dick Blick paper samples to look at colors, but the Dakota paper sampler was great for me to try all the papers when I first started painting, and allowed me to figure out the different papers before investing in full sheets...

And I know you aren't a fan of paying for handmade color charts, but this is something that Daktoa offers that Blick doesn't. I have been able to build a customizable set of Great American's, and Giraults with these color charts, and for me, the charts have paid for themselves. When pastel sticks are over $4.00 a stick, this is a great help. My first foray into Girault involved ordering 5 sticks, I choose colors from what was in their portrait set, as well as looking at online color swatches at Jerry's and Fine Art Store. I was disappointed in the sticks when they arrived- they were all a little bit "grayed", not bright flesh tones as I saw on my monitor screen. I rarely use those 5 sticks in my portraits, so there was over $20 in sticks I rarely use... The color chart has saved me more money than it has wasted- I realized that a lot of the Girualt line is a little bit "grayed" and there are so many colors that are close together in value and hue.. if one likes a pastel line, I would have found it hard to create a working set of about 100 sticks solely looking online. I have been able to whittle down a Great American "wish list" with the GA color chart- I was considering the Full Monty, I love GA's texture so much, but got the color chart to see if I could get away with a smaller, custom set and pick colors I would only use. My wish list has it whittled down to a smaller selection, I'll be spending about $500 total on GA's on colors I'll use, instead of buying a $1,000 set which will have many colors that are too "blah", or redundant that I'd never use... I'll be building my GA set over the next few months with the help o the color chart... I am grateful that Dakota offers the handmade color chart with actual pigments for me to see...

Dakota also offers pastel workshops in their great studio, which Blick doesn't do. The Dakota studio attracts big names to teach... next year is Margaret Dyer, Richard McKinley, Casey Klahn..

So they do set themselves apart, it just isn't always price or freebies, although they are competitive with Blick on price, and usually lower during sales...

I'm glad we have both choices, I order from both places, but try to use Daktoa first when I can...

jakertanner
11-01-2014, 03:00 PM
Barbara, I agree that a 3x3 sample is hardly enough, and can understand you needing to paint something to test it...for someone that isn't that experienced with pastels, I guess having a small piece is fine to test how well the sticks I have will layer.

Also, if Dakota has the customer service, for me, that's a plus. Unfortunately, at the moment, until things start selling, I gotta look at price, but I do see that they custom tailor to their customers, which is a great thing.

I can also understand that Blick has better margins due to the diverse products they offer as compared to Dakota. I was under the assumption that the paper manufacturers sent their distributors samples for that very purpose..to hand out, not that it was up to the seller to cut into their stock...in that case, I can see why they would charge.

As for the color charts, I also see their value. I had also wondered if I contacted someone like Marie Ludwig, and asked for an actual swatch of a particular color, would they send it to me? Again, purely coming from a cost perspective.

Thanks for the reply however Barbara, I love learning and talking about art and pastels..I really am learning a lot here.

Barbara WC
11-01-2014, 03:42 PM
Jake- I was just in my art room organizing, and came across some paper squares- each 3"x5": I forgot about this: the past two orders I received from Dakota have had random paper squares in them! The order received on Thursday included the following 3"x5" samples: white Canson Mi-Tientes, Sienna PastelMat, and 320 grit UArt. In the order before that a couple of months ago, they included samples of Pastel Multimedia panel, LaCarte and PastelMat I think this is new, I don't remember this when I last placed an order about a year ago...

You could ask the Ludwig's if they might send you a color swatch of one color. Can't hurt to try- I've been very happy with their customer service...

jakertanner
11-01-2014, 03:58 PM
I will revisit Dakota based on what you are saying. Thanks Barbara.

norskgal
11-01-2014, 07:00 PM
I must come to the defense of Dakota Pastels. I am fortunate to live near Mount Vernon WA and love their store. They have always been courteous and helpful whenever I visit. You are invited to shop the warehouse shelves and ask for advice. Their workshops are also great.

I don't think it would be to their (or our) advantage for them to sell or provide their services at a loss just to compete with a national chain store. I have always felt that the prices are fair for us and fair for them. On the other hand my experience shopping at a Dick Blick brick and mortar store wasn't much better than a Home Depot shop. Clerks only seem to be able to point you to the pastels ... not much more help than that.

I am a lucky to also live near Daniel Smith stores ... but Dakota is pastel heaven. I want them to stay in business.

jakertanner
11-01-2014, 07:30 PM
Carol, I agree completely, and WISH I had a Dakota store near me. You are correct in that a Blick store, knows nothing about pastels. They don't even carry many brands of pastel paper. I have a Jerry's Artist outlet (Artarama, chain under a different name), fairly close, and they have a sufficient selection and very helpful staff when it comes to pastels, even though they sell everything under the sun there.

Go figure, that the Manhattan stores, offer no more pastels than 3 brands...big disappointment.

I do see the little store's worth versus the larger ones...my gripe was small, and really only about having to pay for sample papers. What if I like only 2 out of the entire pack of papers they send me? Then I am stuck with the rest that will go to waste. That was my point really...but from what Barbara said, they do give you the smaller samples of the cut up paper to try..too small for a painting, but good enough to test the way a pastel performs on that paper..for me anyway.

water girl
11-01-2014, 08:25 PM
Barbara, I saw the email introducing the new paper. Hopefully someone will try it and share their experience with us. I too am set for paper for a while. WC is a great place to review new products.

robertsloan2
11-03-2014, 03:28 PM
I wish I had the spending money to put the pastel paper on my order when I ordered - they came out with it a day later than I placed my order. Or I might have put off getting the Winsor Newton watercolor markers in favor of a new sanded paper. I will try it sometime. If they put one of the little free swatches in with my Blue Earth set I will definitely try it.

I like both stores. Dakota is a specialty store and they have everything. They have more brands, their sale prices are good, service is excellent at both. Blick is not just a big chain but a very old mail order supply house with high volume and a very broad selection. Both have an easy website.

I bought the Dakota Sampler after getting samples from Blick because I can never have enough greens and I was thoroughly satisfied with it. Blick or Jerry's can send samples of what they have in open stock. Sennelier has actual free sampler the same anywhere it's offered, three primary sticks in a tiny box. Micro palette if you buy a white stick to go with it. The samples are cost effective for Blick and Jerry's because if you like the texture, you're probably going to get a set or a lot of open stock.

Dakota keeps up with the big online stores well. They shipped fast and when they made a mistake giving me an extra pink instead of a turquoise, they sent the turquoise Blue Earth pastel by itself immediately as soon as I reported it. I've been very tempted to invest in some of their charts. Some brands look like I wouldn't want the full range. Others, if I saw it, I really would want the full range from how they look in person.

I do support Dakota. Their site is excellent, their service is too, but I don't patronize either exclusively. Would love to visit the Dakota store in person someday, that'd be a trip worth doing. Blick stores vary quite a bit and that may have to do with the locality and local manager and clerks, what individuals are into. Online, they have got some very good customer service experts in all their mediums. Every query about anything, they either knew or got back to me about it even when I sent massive emails with multiple questions.

If I got all my pastels at Dakota I would have to wait and not buy as often, because of the higher free shipping limit. That gets a little frustrating. But then I broke down and paid shipping anyway because they have Blue Earth. They sometimes have sets Blick doesn't in some brands.

I don't know if they own Blue Earth or not, or are just in touch with the people who make them. After I use my Land & Sea box for a while, I might try to create a custom box set in about 2 boxes, all saturated colors and the full value range but not the grays or muted colors. They expanded by more grays. What I'm thinking is that's a very portable pastel, its small size and the well designed boxes make them handy. I need about 23 more Girault too - and am debating getting the color chart in order to be able to choose them well. Then I'd break the sticks and have two 25 color boxes with 50 colors in them in reach and easy to toss in my backpack.

Good to know the Girault skin tones tend to be grayed. I really don't like that. I look at the full range and debate it but if there's a lot of grayed colors that's as frustrating as lots of skin tones and fewer other colors. It seems overbalanced toward muted colors and hard to tell the spectrum from how they lay out the sets. The chart may seriously help with that.

blr2449
11-03-2014, 04:32 PM
BE are distributed nationwide by Dakota but are made in Blue Earth MN by artists Jim and Ross Pollard. Kind of neat that the town is name BE

robertsloan2
11-03-2014, 11:00 PM
Oh that's neat. Thanks for letting me know, cool town name.

I phoned them and my order hadn't shipped yet, they're going to put one of those small test pieces of the new paper in with my order and ship it tomorrow. I should get it fast since it'll go Priority Mail, it's small. Looking forward to trying it with the Blue Earths! They might work sweet on sanded paper being so soft.

robertsloan2
11-07-2014, 07:18 PM
I just got my package today! They included two samples, a white Extra Fine that feels almost like Uart 800 - super fine, beautiful for the kind of detailed small paintings that very fine grits rock for. The other is Italian Clay in the medium or coarser grit. Lovely texture and great color, a nice warm neutral mid tone that's going to be a sheer joy to work on.

Will be painting on both of them soon and do a proper review!

Italian Clay is in the same color category for me as Wallis Belgian Mist, it's a great neutral background to work lighter and darker from. I know I will order more, probably in this color. White's good for the pure Colourist stuff so maybe that's what I'll do with it and find out how toothy the super fine grit is.