View Full Version : Sennelier Oil Pastels - Your Opinion?

Kathryn Wilson
11-14-2003, 04:48 PM
I just got back from an art supply trade show in Raleigh and they had a wonderful set of Sennelier OP's - 120 sticks for $120.00 and in a wooden boxed set.

Has anyone else used Sennelier's OP's and what is your opinion of them??

I know Holbein's are considered the best, but that vendor had nothing more than a small set - it was a poor showing for Holbein OP's - very disappointed.

I came home with lots of other goodies and I should have enough supplies to get me through the winter. If you ever get a chance to go to an art supply trade show, don't miss it, they have great buys!!


11-14-2003, 05:22 PM
I bought Sennelier op's and I loathe them. They are greasy, and sticky, and difficult. I daresay practice makes perfect, but I hate them so much I doubt I will practice at all!

Kathryn Wilson
11-14-2003, 05:27 PM
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly Jackie - have you used other OP's?? like Holbeins or Caran d'ache?? Or is it that you just don't care for oil pastels compared to soft pastels - couldn't tell by your post.

I have a small set of Caran d'ache and wanted to expand my color range. I know Holbeins are good, but do they justify the cost?

Anyone using OP's can jump in here too

Kathryn Wilson
11-14-2003, 06:25 PM
Just got done re-reading the Sticky on oil pastels - I know several of you have gone on to Holbeins (Sue and Mo) - any change in your opinion as to Holbein vs. Sennelier's?

At the time there was no concensus on oil pastel paper, and they had some there today. It was all white and hadn't heard from anyone if they had used it or not.

The show was almost overwhelming so I decided to come home and think about what oil pastels I wanted to get. I can always buy them in the catalog - but Sennelier's price was very good on the 100 boxed set.

I came home with a set of Unison's "Special Set" - luscious colors. A set of Art Spectrum landscape pastels; a box of 36 Neopastels, Art Spectrum paper, 2 Ampersand pastel boards.

If you think that's alot, you should have seen the masses of canvasses going out of that place. People must have been stocking up for a year!!


11-14-2003, 06:35 PM
Kat... thanks for the questions you are presenting in this thread. I read the Sticky too and I like how you are asking follow up questions. I will watch this like a hawk as I'm in the process of making my Santa Wish List.

Glad you enjoyed the show!

11-14-2003, 06:43 PM
OOOOHHHH Kat I'm so jealous ;), lucky you in NC at a trade show. AND a set of Unisons.... YUM.... they are on my wish list!!!

Glad you are enjoying it... hmmm that box of 120 pastels for $120 has to be a good deal... LOL... my mind... I would buy them and put them on EBay... hehehe... :evil:

Give us updates if you go back!!!

~~~ Sharon

Kathryn Wilson
11-14-2003, 06:50 PM
Hey Sharon: I should have posted earlier that I was going to this trade show - but didn't think about it - I could have bought things for everyone. The Unisons were no big buy, but I had not seen this Special Set before and the colors were to die for.

I had not searched on Ebay for oil pastels - I've only seen the Gallery sets - and they are not a good oil pastel.

Anything I can get you??

11-14-2003, 07:05 PM

I have Sennelier and Caran d'Ache OP (and I am not the only one). Sennelier claims that their pastels don't melt and it is just true... not so easy to practice. 120 for $100 is a nice price. Caran d'Ache are good and less expensive and they can be used with the Sennelier (I would even say they are a nice addition so Sennelier).

As for Hoblein, what I remember is they are the closest to Soft Pastels, so they are the best if your primary goal is to avoid dust.


11-14-2003, 07:34 PM
Kat... Thanks so much for the offer, but I spent my allowance for the month ... hehehe... won an auction for a set of 50 Holbeins on EBay for $63.00, which is a good deal (if I get them... the last auction I won for pastels I never got them and had to file a fraud report... :( ) But now that I know that this is an annual event, I'm going to mark it on my calander and who knows, maybe next year I'll go to NC for a couple of days that weekend???? I'd really like to take advantage of the demonstrations and such. You're a doll for offering... take care and enjoy...

~~~ Sharon

Bubba's Mama
11-14-2003, 07:35 PM
Kyle - I am a newbie here, lurking for the past few weeks. I have both OPs and soft pastels, and find that each has their own good use. I was given a box of OPs by my physical therapist (I shattered my shoulder, and she thought that the pastels would make a good fine motor skill therapy) so that was my first base of practice. I have Cray Pas, Holbeins and SEnneliers. BUT - I use them on canvas paper, almost as if they were oil paint sticks.

I also have a full set of Unisons (you got it - all 360 sticks) Broke the bank to get these based on recommendations from the sticies on this site. They are just yummy, and am learning how to use them successfully. I do all my own framing for my watercolors and acrylics, and have gotten some Golden Acrylic for Pastels, and use the off cuts with the pastel ground to create pastel board for the soft pastels. Works beautifully - at least at my beginners level.

Hope this helps.


11-14-2003, 08:09 PM
I have a small box of Sennelier and a larger one of Caran d'Ache. I've never seen Holbeins over here.

I find the way that the oil in Sennelier op's seeps through the thinner pastel papers a bit worrying ... This doesn't seem to happen with the Caran d'Ache, which I much prefer anyway as they are creamier and less slippery.

That thread of Sue's in which she posted photos of her Holbeins made my mouth water ... and it sounds as if they handle wonderfully. What brand are you currently using?

Kathryn Wilson
11-14-2003, 08:25 PM
E-J: I've got a small set of the Caran d'ache - I think that was limiting me before, so when I decide on an OP brand, I will go for many more colors. I like the fact that Holbeins' have 5 values of each color - but in order to afford that you would have to buy values sets a little at a time.

Sharon: We will have to make a date to meet. The show is actually at a Hilton and the workshops are all there too. So you could stay at the hotel, go to your workshop of choice and then shop the show! Some marketing, huh - LOL.

Anne: My fingers are itching to get at my new pastels and then to give the OP's another try.

Susan: Welcome to the Pastel Forum! How is the therapy going? Have the pastels helped you?? That is an interesting idea and if it works I am sure there are people out there who could use some creative time in their lives. Looking forward to seeing your first post!

11-14-2003, 11:32 PM
I have all 3 kinds of o.p.s mentioned here. The only set was 48 Caran D'Ache, the rest I bought individually.
You got a great deal on the Sennelliers. They are the gooiest, and sometimes annoying, difficult to layer as they sometimes just pick up the previous color. Having said that, there are some colors the other 2 kinds don't have, and you can pile them on in an impasto way. At the price you paid, it's worth it I think.
My favorites are Holbeins, but CDs are very similar. My o.p.s have the labels off and are cut in half, so I sometimes can't tell if I have Sennellier or CD , since they are about the same size .
Has anyone tried Cray-Pas Specialists? They're supposedly artist-quality.

Marc Sabatella
11-15-2003, 03:24 PM
Sennelier has a great reputation; it really comes down to some personal preferences. The main thing Holbein has going for it is the color range - several values of each color, just like soft pastel. So you can approach painting the same way. No one does that, although Sennelier does at least provide a decent range. Not quite any hue in any value, though.

I find I like the texture of Sennelier well enough, although it is indeed even softer than Holbein. I don't normally think in these terms with soft pastel, but in oil pastel, I find the lighter values of Sennelier great for final highlights, because they go on so easily, but I do the bulk of my oil pastel painting in Holbein.

Neither work well in high temperatures - trying to paint outdoors at high noon in the middle of the summer is not recommended. The sticks melt in your hands, collapse on the paper, etc.

Never used Caran D'Ache, or Cray-Pas Specialist, so I can't compare.

Kathryn Wilson
11-15-2003, 07:03 PM
After re-reading this thread and several PM's and emails from friends, I decided to try both pastels. So I returned to the trade show today and came home with a smallish set of Senneliers (colors for still lifes) and I hand-picked 20 Holbein sticks (colors that I knew I would tend to use).

I will keep you updated on my comparison of these two brands and the ones I already have - Caran d'ache and Goldfarber.

I also picked up a pad of Sennelier's pastel card (14 colors) - it looks fantastic to use, and a pad of Sennelier's new oil pastel paper (only comes in white).

Now I need to get to work to justify all this gluttony -