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View Full Version : Building up a pastel collection on a budget.


voiles
03-20-2016, 02:18 AM
Hello everyone,

I am on a very short budget. I currently own about 80 pastels, which in the pastel word ain't much. The more I paint, the more I realize how short I am. I do mostly portraits in semi-realism, and more often than not, I just don't have the right shades of this or that hue to make the portrait come out as I envision it.

Since even $100 is a lot for me right now, it occurred to me that maybe one way to go about building a pastel collection would be on a need basis. For example, I always paint from photographs, so I could study the photograph beforehand, see exactly which colors I need; hunt them down on dickblick; hope the colors as they are advertised online are true, and then just buy those.

Sound smart? Any other suggestions for building a poor man's pastel collection? How did you build your collection?

PeggyB
03-20-2016, 02:33 AM
Preplanning you color choices is a good idea; it's one I recommend to my students. That doesn't mean you can't add other colors after you begin, but you should try to not do too much of that in the beginning.

There is another source for art supplies that is frequently less expensive than any other; Jerry's Artarama. They also have an exclusive line of pastels that are really quite nice, professional quality, and medium soft. You may have seen others on WC mention them; Mungyo. They have different lines in this brand. You'll want the "Mungyo Gallery Extra Soft pastels" although I wouldn't call the "extra" soft. Their "standard" line isn't as nice. The Gallery "hand made" line is the top of the line variety. You can buy by the individual stick or in sets. Jerry's has very good customer service too.

DAK723
03-20-2016, 10:11 AM
My advice: Don't worry about color matching. No one will see the photo you worked from plus the colors in photos aren't 100% accurate anyway! In my opinion, the colors you use need to be harmonious with one another - which is usually much easier done with a smaller palette. Of course, this is just my opinion. To get those tones you don't have, you can mix and blend the pastels that you do have. I have done a few portraits in my time and never used more than about 20 pastels for them. Now, if you start doing landscapes, then you need more pastels!

Of course, you can completely ignore my comments! Your idea of buying them on a need basis is very sound! I always recommend buying pastels open stock rather than buying sets. But beware, there will ALWAYS be colors that you won't have - even if you have 1,000 sticks!

Don

PeggyB
03-20-2016, 05:03 PM
LOL Don. "There will ALWAYS be colors that you won't have - even if you have 1,000 sticks!"

Yes indeed. That's why your suggestion of looking for color harmony rather than exact color is a good idea. I've learned to use far fewer sticks even in a landscape too.

mudfish
03-20-2016, 05:36 PM
I have the same problem with little money to spend. I bought a few of the cheaper brands but just didn't get the same results. Now I buy one stick that I really want instead of ten that I don't. Rembrandts can't be beat for value, Sennelier is quite cost effective too. Get a lavender, a jade green and the terra cotta NuPastel, thats where your shadows lie. Don't need 40 flesh tones, you need the colors that go under them to make them sing. Don is exactly right on color harmony.

voiles
03-21-2016, 01:19 AM
My advice: Don't worry about color matching. No one will see the photo you worked from plus the colors in photos aren't 100% accurate anyway! In my opinion, the colors you use need to be harmonious with one another - which is usually much easier done with a smaller palette.

Don

Wise words. Using colors that I do not actually see in real life does not come easy to me; yet I know many of my heroes, Degas, Renoir, etc, did it constantly. That's something to keep in mind, so thank you.

voiles
03-21-2016, 01:22 AM
I have the same problem with little money to spend. I bought a few of the cheaper brands but just didn't get the same results. Now I buy one stick that I really want instead of ten that I don't. Rembrandts can't be beat for value, Sennelier is quite cost effective too. Get a lavender, a jade green and the terra cotta NuPastel, thats where your shadows lie. Don't need 40 flesh tones, you need the colors that go under them to make them sing. Don is exactly right on color harmony.

Flesh tones are my biggest problem. I like to represent flesh truthfully, yet you can find ever color in the book one someone's face, depending on skin color, reflections, time of day, etc. I wish I understood better what you meant by "Don't need 40 flesh tones, you need the colors that go under them to make them sing." Could you elaborate a bit more?

mudfish
03-26-2016, 09:31 PM
I hope you don't mind me answering your question by showing you what I mean. This is my pencil piece, not a pastel but the process is the same. Look at the delicacy the lavenders and greens add when used under the flesh tones on the baby. On the older skin, there are more yellows and blues. Shadows are not darker flesh tones.

mudfish
03-26-2016, 09:48 PM
Oops, file didn't stick. And now the one I wanted to post is too big. Enlarge this and you can see the color detail.