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View Full Version : What is the best soft pastel on the market?


Osteomark
12-11-2003, 01:14 PM
I have Sennelier soft pastels. They work well however are they the best? What about Unison? They are hand made and very expensive.

I have some Coulourfix sanded paper now and am excited to get going on some pastels.

Mark

SweetBabyJ
12-11-2003, 01:24 PM
Your question is akin to "Liver- does it taste good?" It's a matter of preference, with some swearing by one brand over another, whilst others list the shortcomings of their least favorites. Senneliers are considered fine quality pastels, but the are very soft, many have experienced crumbling issues with them, and they're expensive. Same has been said about Unisons, Schminkes, and on and on.

You're going to have to break down and buy enough open stock in the shades you usually use, and then use them a few times to discover your own preference. That's one part of being an artist.

Osteomark
12-11-2003, 01:42 PM
Thanks Sweetbaby,

Your right. I would like to try the Prismacolor Nupastels. Do you live on the Olympic Pennisula near the Ho rainforest? Beautiful there Hurrican Ridge and Port Townsend are my favorites.

Mark

SweetBabyJ
12-11-2003, 02:49 PM
NuPastels are hard pastels- they contain a larger ratio of kaolin clay binder than most other brands. There are some archival issues with NuPastels, and many of us have found some hues are so hard they refuse to leave a mark on certain surfaces. All that said, they are inexpensive, and terrific for fine detail because you can sharpen them to a fine point. The colour and value range is pretty good, too- not all-inclusive, but none too shabby for such an inexpensive complete set. They are a good investment for a beginner who wants to experiment, in my opinion, but I cannot say they should be relied upon for all your needs.

If you've got the money, I'd suggest buying a good-sized set of NuPastel, and then carefully choosing open stock hues of other, softer, brands of pastels a few at a time. Paper quality is going to count, but I wouldn't start off spending $5 and $10.00 a sheet for paper right now. And try some dark papers- you will be so jazzed by the way colour pops out at you! (My usual plug here: Schoellershammer Translucent Vellum- inexpensive, available from DickBlick, holds loads of pastel, and makes your colours sing).

I'm kinda out in the woods, in between Shelton and Olympia. I've been up through the rain forests, but I gotta tell you- and I never thought I'd say this after living in so many desert areas- I get kinda sick of green. I think our state flower is moss. Or mildew. One of the two.

Osteomark
12-11-2003, 02:58 PM
Thanks Sweetbaby,

What is vellum paper? What is the surface like? I think sanded so far is the best. I tried paper:crying: and fuzzy felt board:mad: (couldnt blend for beens and ate all my pastel. Brilliant colors though).

Mark

SweetBabyJ
12-11-2003, 03:26 PM
Vellum was originally made from either animal skins (usually calf- hence veal, hence vellum), or some innards- like intestines- kinda glued toether. The surface is quite like that of parchment- creamy and dense appearing with a slightly velvety texture. Today, vellum papers are considered very strong, usually "hard", and have a "thick" feel in the fingers- even if the sheet is thin. Do not confuse veluum with velour- which is paper coated with a fine "fur"- much like velvet. The texture of vellum is not so noticeable as velour (which has it's own problems- chiefly the fact a good shake and voila`! Your painting is a scattering of dust on the floor). The sanded papers are yummy- easy surface, although not so forgiving as others, but they are expensive- both in terms of cost per sheet, and in terms of pastel: Sanded surfaces eat your pastels right up. Experiment- try things out- give stuff a shot. I did one of my last paintings on- you're gonna laugh at this- 400 grit sandpaper; worked great. I may run into archival issues with it, but that remains to be seen, and if I do, I can still use it to refinish my cherrywood desk here.

Now quit asking questions, and get a move on- the price for answers is a piece of work- I'll be watching for it. ;-)

Osteomark
12-11-2003, 03:42 PM
No more questions until I do a piece. Thanks for your help. Will look into velour.

Mark

Rose Queen
12-11-2003, 06:12 PM
Read this charming story...: http://www.katzhome.com/pastel_article.htm

then see here: http://www.fineartstore.com/ and scroll down to Roche pastels.



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Eisenhower
12-11-2003, 07:44 PM
Rose Queen,

I just heard about these pastels and from what I can see, they are from $8 - over $16 per pastel.

My favorite is Schminke and I have alot of Sennelier and have not been disappointed. I am going to try some of these Henri Roche's though, just a handful to see what I like. When something is the best, I got to try it.

Kelly

Rose Queen
12-11-2003, 08:02 PM
Kelly, I hope you will post back again once you've tried the Roche to let us know if they are worth the money.

Also, I forgot to mention the hand-made pastels of WetCanvas member, Terry Ludwig: http://www.terryludwig.com



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Eisenhower
12-11-2003, 08:08 PM
Rose Queen,

I will definately post my experience. I'm hoping for a good one. I have a large list of oil paints to get as I am transitioning from student grade to artist grade and I'm getting a convertable easel, so I will get the HR's most likely in Feb when I get my yearly bonus:)

Thanks,
Kelly

Osteomark
12-12-2003, 10:05 AM
Wow! I didn't know Terry Ludwig was a WC member. The Rochester, NY fine art store is selling his pastels. Great. and a lot cheaper than Roche. Someday I think it would be neat to try and make pastels. I've seen the ingredient and steps and it doesn't look too intimidating.

Mark

Rose Queen
12-12-2003, 04:50 PM
Originally posted by Osteomark Wow! I didn't know Terry Ludwig was a WC member.

Not only that, but he pops into the Cafe chatroom pretty regularly in the evenings, so why don't you drop by sometime yourself? ;)



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