View Full Version : What to purchase next?

08-30-2016, 06:09 PM
Ok, I am getting to the point as an intermediate beginner where I believe I have "enough" pastels (values and range) for my mostly landscape painting interest, when my hubby generously offers to buy me some pastels for my birthday....So.........:wink2:

I am enclosing pics of my current collection of mostly Unisons (63 half set and darks), Mt Vision darks, assorted Rembrandts, Mungyo Gallery Hard pastels (48) and a few Schminke/Sennelier/Girault. Oh, and one mystery box of TL's which I have just begun using for final strokes mainly.


I have them (all but the TL's) in my Heilman sorted into 4 basic values, and here is a tonal pic for that.


As I said, I am gravitating toward landscapes, and possibly even plein air.
I would like to know if you think I need anything else color/value-wise? I have only done a few landscapes and have been pretty happy with my color choices and the range of softness I have available to me, but.....

Thinking about the future, am I going to get down the road of experience and wish I had bought (fill in the blank pastels)?
I have had my eye on the Unison 120 half-stick set, but there are duplicates between that and the 63 set and open stock I have already.

Plus, I am wondering if I shouldn't expand the softness range and get a set of TL's such as the Plein Air Landscape set or the Haywood-Sullivan Skies and Water set? (I am more drawn to dramatic skies than any other part of the landscape).
I haven't used the TL's mystery box enough to know if they would become my favorite. But right now, my "workhorses" are the Unison. I wonder if I would I really use the TL's or just for final strokes? Here is the mystery box.


If it helps, I am painting on Fisher 400 or Uart 400/500 mostly, though I am still trying out other textured papers. I know I don't care for Canson Mi-Tientes, or the clear gesso homemade grounds. I am set for paper right now, though, so don't feel the need to spend b-day money in that area.

Any wisdom would be helpful. If it helps, I am not at all drawn to doing portraits, but I may do the very occasional still-life. I know I can always add smaller sets like the MV Thunderstorm Greys or Landscape Greens or buy open stock in future to fill in holes you might see.

What do you think??

Donna T
08-31-2016, 11:26 AM
That's a very nice collection of pastels, Rhonda. What size is your Heilman box? I don't see any obvious gaps in colors or values but of course you know that we never have the "right" green for any landscape so more greens are always welcome. Since you think you'll be doing lots of skies some of the lightest lights in the softer brands might be useful for clouds.

08-31-2016, 04:36 PM
Thanks Donna! The Heilman box is the Backpack (10.5 x 13"). I love it! It is so well made.

Yes, the endless selection of greens. I feel like I have the bare minimum for those right now, so am tempted when I see the lovely sets of warm and neutral greens from TL. or the Mt Vision. But honestly, would probably add open stock greens at this point.

I guess one of the problems I am having is deciding what the future will hold. I am really drawn to plein air. I have gone out a few times now and have followed Liz Haywood-Sullivan's process in her plein air video.

I do my thumbnail outline, value study, and notan in my sketchbook. (This takes me a while!) Then I apply the information to my support using vine charcoal, ending up with a value mapped composition. I also snap a few ref photos and try to take some meaningful color notes while on location.

Then when I am back home, I work from my tablet's monitor, photos, notes, and memory to bring color to the painting.

I am very curious to know if anyone else here uses the charcoal value-mapping process found in Liz's video, followed by working in studio to complete the painting?

I am starting to see how my monitor or photo references can be inaccurate, so I know relying on this method has its drawbacks. As I become a better "see-er", :), I find myself wanting to capture more accurately the color I see when on location.

All that to say, that I would like to get to the point where I can choose to use more of an "alla prima" approach in plein air--similar to how Richard McKinley does in his video. (Have only seen the preview of this video, but probably need to download!)

I like the approach I use now because it finally gets me from start to finish with paintings I like, but as I said, it has its drawbacks. And it would be nice to be able to choose either process at will.

Somewhere I heard Richard McKinley say that his palette is weighted toward harder darks and softer lights when working in plein air. So this is something I am thinking about too, and ties right in with your comment about possibly getting some softer light pastels.

I probably should have started a new thread, but all of this does have bearing on future purchase decisions....
Oh decisions, decisions! Thanks for your input!