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Kitty Wallis
04-11-2004, 05:19 PM
Making my pastels accessible when I paint was my criteria for setting up my studio and my plein air outfit.

Do you search for your color first by value? by color family? I've got my studio pastels organized by color family and my plein air by value. Both work, I'm still watching to see which one wins.

Do you keep them in those boxes they come with and put each one back in it's slot every time you change colors? You are the person I wrote this thread for.

Try this. Make a place for your current palette, a tray, a place on your table. Keep the colors you choose for your painting out of those slots and easily available. You can find them and you can repeat with them in other places in the painting.

More suggestions will follow

Kitty

SweetBabyJ
04-11-2004, 06:25 PM
Right now, I keep mine in three separate trays by value and, sorta-kinda by hue. When I am working on something, I "pick a palette" and place the ones I'll be using onto a smaller tray I have, again separated by value, but this time also more carefully organized by colour- especially the lightest lights. By the end of the piece, I've probably added one or two more sticks, and often they're "not in the right place", but by limiting the palette this way, I don't have to search too long. Oddly enough, I usually look for the one I want by *shape*- you know- "That little purple-y one that's nearly gone and looks like a cut-off thumb now...."

Dyin
04-11-2004, 07:54 PM
This is great Kitty...with my Holbein OPs they come pretty much color sorted and then of course there are five values for each hue. They're in nice little plastic boxes which I keep them in so they don't pick up other colors during storage. And those boxes are in wooden trays. But I have to laugh. I start out so nicely...pull out all the little boxes of the colors I've chosen. Open the lids and line them up...then I start working, replacing each in it's place in the color box...then it all falls apart...by the time I'm done hardly any are still in their individual case excepting values I didn't use...The pastels are in piles all over the studio table. And even though I have different piles denoting skin tones, hair, background there's a lot of cross overs and then there are the extra colors I pulled out for a tiny stroke here and another there at the end. And since I can take days on some things, those piles stay there the whole time...I don't dare put them back in the trays or I'll lose my pallete..what a mess! And of course I have all the lids and little trays all over the place too. Lots of sorting and cleaning when I'm all done and they look real nice til the next piece! looking forward to the next tip...perhaps one that will I can stick to!

Khadres
04-11-2004, 07:55 PM
Heh! Cut off thumb one, huh? Yeah, I know what you mean, tho. Right now I have two large trays on a makeshift "taboret" made of a melamine pre-cut 16" deep shelf supported on an old music keyboard stand. The one has light lights sorta separated by hue and the other dark darks, same thing. There's plenty of space in the one to pull out the ones I'm using on something (including colors from the cases).

I don't know why, exactly, but I hesitate to put the really light and really dark ones away in the cases. Just looking at them can make me stop and pick one up to begin working, even if only for a few minutes. And I never lack inspiration really...just opening the case drawers to expose the beautiful color treasures inside is enough to stir the imagination.

I do have a couple "complete" sets that came in boxes and the bulk of them stay in their boxes til needed. I really would've rather just had them in bulk cartons; opening and shuffling trays is often too much trouble and I tend not to use those as much because of the awkwardness their packaging creates. I guess "presentation" cases are cool if you only use the one brand, but I don't know anyone who does that.

Am I the only one in here who looks at all her spread out pastels and feels really really RICH? Not because they cost a lot (of course, they did THAT) but just the riot of color, like jewels. I feel that way around books, too. Go figure! :rolleyes:

Pinecone Conniff
04-11-2004, 08:06 PM
I do keep my sets in their original box & the open stocks I've added are in the trays from the wooden box Jackie was talking about on her thread. They are organized by color & then value. I use a full size Julian french easel & the colors I am using often I put in the easel drawer as I go. Others that I use less frequently I leave tilted up in the box so I find them easily.
I'm really kind of compulsive about organizing. :eek:
Annette

pastelist
04-11-2004, 08:11 PM
I try to keep my pastels organized, but it seems impossible. I have over four hundred rembrandt soft pastels. I keep them in the wooden box provided by the manufacturer. I paint portraits and landscapes so I have to have them somewhat organized. I have sat in my studio, many an evening separating my colors and cleaning them in rice ( yes rice), you roll your stick in the rice and it cleans the excess dust and cleans the stick.

Kitty Wallis
04-11-2004, 08:33 PM
I also search for my pastels by shape. I have to, after a few hours of using them, their color is almost completely obscured.

Since I make my pastel sticks I have literally thousands of colors. I bought a small parts shelf unit with those 4"x12" boxes that fit on the shelves side by side. With 8 shelves about 4' wide. I've been using it for 15 years.

I sort my pastels into color families and put them in piles in the boxes with no internal arrangement. They bounce around when I look for a color, but stay failry clean. I clean them by shaking them in Chicken scratch, broken corn, it's cheaper than people food. The top shelf has my green pastels. The families are Pure Dark Green Thalos (kept separate since they mess others up), Thalo green lights to mid-tones, Simple greens darks, simple greens lights, next 2 are bright yellow greens dark-lights, Golden greens darks-lights, Ochre, dead greens darks-lights. Then the blues, and so on. Is that understandable?

Marc Hanson
04-11-2004, 08:40 PM
Remember to break off a small representative piece with label attached to store in seperate place so that when replacing that favorite color, you can check it's source for reordering.

Khadres
04-11-2004, 08:49 PM
I also search for my pastels by shape. I have to, after a few hours of using them, their color is almost completely obscured.

Since I make my pastel sticks I have literally thousands of colors. I bought a small parts shelf unit with those 4"x12" boxes that fit on the shelves side by side. With 8 shelves about 4' wide. I've been using it for 15 years.

I sort my pastels into color families and put them in piles in the boxes with no internal arrangement. They bounce around when I look for a color, but stay failry clean. I clean them by shaking them in Chicken scratch, broken corn, it's cheaper than people food. The top shelf has my green pastels. The families are Pure Dark Green Thalos (kept separate since they mess others up), Thalo green lights to mid-tones, Simple greens darks, simple greens lights, next 2 are bright yellow greens dark-lights, Golden greens darks-lights, Ochre, dead greens darks-lights. Then the blues, and so on. Is that understandable?

Understandable, but mind-boggling, as well! :D

Khadres
04-11-2004, 08:50 PM
Remember to break off a small representative piece with label attached to store in seperate place so that when replacing that favorite color, you can check it's source for reordering.

That works for those that HAVE labels...bet Kitty has to have a different system since she makes her own....? Picturing a recipe book sorta thing with color swatches hand-drawn...

Marc Hanson
04-11-2004, 08:55 PM
That works for those that HAVE labels...bet Kitty has to have a different system since she makes her own....? Picturing a recipe book sorta thing with color swatches hand-drawn...
Was going to mention that exception, but from the sounds of it she probably never does run out. And, she can just make another one!
Hmmmmm...should look into her moist pigments!

CarlyHardy
04-11-2004, 09:43 PM
This weekend I've worked to reorganize my pastels. Working plein air with a Soltek easel, I decided to purchase the pastel boxes that fit into the easel trays. About once a month I empty a box into cornmeal and clean the pastels....then put them back inserting new colors or larger sticks for the tiny pieces that I can't seem to paint without! I break all my sticks into halves so more colors will fit in the boxes.

I have a couple of kid plastic squares with the pull out drawers....they have big red, yellow and blue knobs, so I sort my extras into the colors of the knobs on the trays.

In the thread Color/Value I posted an image of my plein air box and I still keep my colors sorted in the same way. Whatever way you choose to sort with....you'll eventually get so used to the setup that you'll reach without thinking for the color you need.
carly

Dyin
04-11-2004, 09:53 PM
lucky you all...rice and chicken scratch and roll them around...I have to clean each individual oil pastel...don't suppose anyone knows a different way to clean them???

Kathryn Wilson
04-11-2004, 10:19 PM
Am I the only one in here who looks at all her spread out pastels and feels really really RICH? Not because they cost a lot (of course, they did THAT) but just the riot of color, like jewels. I feel that way around books, too. Go figure! :rolleyes:

I'm with you Sooz - just look at my quote in my signature line - I have to have them all out in their wonderful array of color. I did break my pastels in half and arrange them in two boxes - one light value and one dark value (what happened to the medium values - :confused: ) and by color family. But then along came my Unisons and Art Spectrums that I do keep in their boxes - :eek: .

As I work along, I do keep out the pastels I've used - but after each painting I do try to replace them back where they belong - not necessarily organized, by at least in color families by dark and light values.

But where I have gotten into trouble is when I am switching back and forth between soft pastels and oil pastels. Out with the old, in with the new - a total re-changing of the guard. :rolleyes:

I'm what you call a pastel junkie - I want one of everything - :D

chewie
04-11-2004, 10:55 PM
interesting thread. i have used a craftsman toolchest for years now. i put some shallow boxes lined with foam in the drawers, pastels in them. i sort by color, but that can get really iffy with some sticks. is it blue-green, or green-blue, or grey-green? and sometimes, i think when i look a bit more, perhaps a color that isn't your first thought can be actually a better choice. the big trouble now is i am out-growing my current chest. so now, do i buy the one with more drawers? i have tried other storage units and nope, this one is 'me'. i also have a set of schminke, kept in the wood box, a large set of faber-castell, kept in the tin it comes in so i can tote it around plein air, and my newest set, a half-stick, 80 color sennelier, also to be kept in the box for plein air. (btw, that is one great little set!) that one also has the no-code troubles, they aren't marked at all. the other units i've tried had white bottoms, can't do that, drives me nuts!! my space is severly limited, or i'd love a long table with everything out. the biggest thing i think i hate about the chest is that sound when the drawers slide out, this rattle-grind, can really annoy at times, but love the compact-ness, and dark bottom. i even seen another artist use the very same, in a way back pastel journal. (kinda like seeing your twin!) but, i think as pastel people, we're always changing to include our ever-growing collection!

chewie
04-11-2004, 11:00 PM

Khadres
04-12-2004, 01:51 AM
I'm what you call a pastel junkie - I want one of everything - :D

Ahhhh, another kindred spirit! :D

Kitty Wallis
04-12-2004, 02:12 AM
This is fun, I'm getting some more ideas.

At the easel I have another sorting, organizing tool:

A carpenter made for me, his idea! traded for a painting, a table for infront of the easel made from a hospital bed table, the kind that crank up and down. He made 12 3"x3" squares plus one 9"x6" tray for my current palette, all with mesh bottoms to allow the dust to fall out. With a removable tray beneath to catch the dust. I've used this for at least 12 years. It's great. I put my color families in the squares, replenishing them from the boxes on the shelves I describes earlier.

Sometimes I have the boxes from the shelves stashed over everything as I set up a new palette. But the system works well; I spend a reasonably small amount of time searching for my colors.

llis
04-12-2004, 06:55 AM
I keep a plein air box of assorted pastels in a old Sennelier long wood box and just replace any color I need from my storage bins.

The storage bins I use come from the sports goods section at Wal-Marts and are normally used for fishing tackle but are the flat single level clear boxes about the same as you would use for embroidery threads. The great thing is that I purchased them all at the same time and Wal-Marts still had them boxed in the shipping boxes they came in. So... I just picked up 2 sets of 4 and took them to the counter to pay for them right in their packing boxes. When I got them home, I took out the spacers and made them the size I needed for my colors and filled the bottoms with crushed rice, then laid my pastels in by color families. Since the boxes are clear, I can see what is in them at a glance and since they are flat boxes, they stack nicely on the shelf. If I need to take them someplace, I only have two boxes to pick up because the set of four flats are kept inside the cardboard shipping box that Wal-mart let me have. Of course, I'm always needing more pastels and can't resist the bargin tables when I find them, so I have the regular assortment of various brands sitting on the shelf, but find that I really love my clear boxes the best. They hold regular pastels as well as the unique shapes I have when I make my own. When I make my own, I like to make triangle shapes. :)

Pinecone Conniff
04-12-2004, 08:12 PM
I have Wallis paper so now when can I order a set of Wallis landscape pastels & a Wallis easel?? I want to be first on the list!... ;)
Annette

gofish
04-13-2004, 06:35 AM
I don't have that many pastels... yet! Supposedly they are on their way. But coming from a watercolor environment I was overwhelmed at first as to how to organize these many sticks of color. Once again I tried to look at pictures of different artists working in their own environment, then came up with a system with which, at least at this point, I'm comfortable. When I receive the additional pastels I've ordered this may change.

I organize in columns according to color, roughly like a color wheel, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, etc. The lightest hues/values are at the top and are graduated in rows on down to the darkest. If I'm not sure how light or dark a color is (mid tones are hard to gauge) I look at them through one of those neutral red cellophane or plastic square pieces and that shows me approximately where to place it. Not exact but good enough; once I found I'd placed a mid tone green smack in the middle of my yellow column, whoops, but easily adjusted with the naked eye :).

I'm still not very good at getting them all back in the right spots after I paint. Interesting thread, thanks.
Georganne

Khadres
04-13-2004, 08:33 AM
(mid tones are hard to gauge) I look at them through one of those neutral red cellophane or plastic square pieces and that shows me approximately where to place it. Georganne

You've brought up something I keep meaning to ask. Where can one GET that red stuff for value checking and what's it CALLED? A teacher in my last class gave us each a little rectangle of it, but mine was pretty crumpled and creased...still works okay, but would like to replace it and put a strengthening mat or something on it to help protect it. But I've asked at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby and neither even know what I'm talking about.

gofish
04-13-2004, 09:18 AM
Sooz,
Red or even green cellophane of any kind will work, but I'm not sure where to get it, maybe a craft store. Whoops, I guess you tried the craft store route, dunno. Here's what I use:
http://www.cheapjoescatalog.com/catalog/products.asp?id=530&pid=58&ppid=6

A bit pricey if all you want is the red plastic thingy, but the plastic is very sturdy. I use both the value scale and the neutral red plastic piece frequently.

Hope this helps,
Georganne

SweetBabyJ
04-13-2004, 10:09 AM
auto parts supply stores, too- they use the stuff for temporary light replacement.


and think "Christmas" or 'Valentines"

MonicaB
04-13-2004, 10:20 AM
You've brought up something I keep meaning to ask. Where can one GET that red stuff for value checking and what's it CALLED? A teacher in my last class gave us each a little rectangle of it, but mine was pretty crumpled and creased...still works okay, but would like to replace it and put a strengthening mat or something on it to help protect it. But I've asked at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby and neither even know what I'm talking about.

I got mine at Hobby Lobby but it was in the wrapping paper section -- it's the stuff you can heat-seal around a gift basket. Got a whole roll for $2-3. I then made a "mat" out of cardboard and taped a piece of the red stuff to it to make my own gray scale viewer.

PaulaCT
04-13-2004, 12:44 PM
Where can one GET that red stuff for value checking and what's it CALLED?

It's called a value finder. I have one that's 8-1/2" x 5-1/2", set in a cardboard frame. I bought it at a quilting supplies store, of all places, on the recommendation of my instructor, Deborah Christensen.

If you can't find one in your area, you can still eyeball your medium-value pastels. Pick a medium-value grey pastel and hold it next to the pastel in question. Squint. If you cannot tell where one stick ends and the other begins, they share (roughly) the same value. Hope this helps.

PaulaCT

Khadres
04-13-2004, 12:56 PM
Thanks, y'all! Never even THOUGHT of a auto parts store! And I'll check Hobby Lobby again too. I inquired last time of the art supply staff...shoulda known better; just got a blank stare that time.

The red stuff is just so handy for looking at paintings in progress! You can spot dull or overly constrasted compositional areas in a hurry and it would make sorting pastels a breeze.

Kitty Wallis
04-13-2004, 03:50 PM
I've always thought that the red cellophane value finder was OK for general use but innacurate when judging some colors. I wondered about that mid tone green in the middle of the yellows, Georganne.

Surely that was easy to spot as a huge value shift with the naked eye. How did it fool the red cellophane? I've never tried it, I just formed a theory based on my expectations.

Do you think a poll would be interesting? 'How do you sort your pastels for quickest use? Values, Hues, Prettiness?

Kitty

Dyin
04-13-2004, 04:12 PM
I find that with my Holbein oil pastels that even though each hue comes in 5 tones light to dark that a middle tone of one color can be the same value as a dark tone in another color. I therefore do a color swatch chart of every color in a name brand on white and on black papers. And then I take a pic and change it to grayscale in my photo program...there are ALWAYS surprises. Some make a mark much lighter or darker than they look. As I use them I tend to get familiar with which will fall in which value range. But I still always have a scrap paper to the side where I can make a swipe I'm trying to match values to, and then take my choice and swipe next to it...an eye squint usually lets me know if they're close enough. Also, by using the white and dark it's easy to know what colors are the lightest and darkest as they tend to almost disappear on the paper.
Sure, you can do a poll on anything you want, Kitty. It would be interesting to see which is most popular.

pampe
04-13-2004, 05:10 PM
great thread

Since I have been trying to grasp oils and trying to sell watercolors, I have left my pastels for a few months and I miss them

I have a three drawer box that I keep in the studio and a HOSPITAL OVERBED tray that I spread the drawers on when working

Just started plein aire with pastels...and I got the plastic stackable canvas carrier but am already dissatisfied witht hat....won't jhold enough so I am looking at a Cassat Carrie (can't afford a Heitman)

I love the idea of separting by value but am scared to death to do it :rolleyes: ....I even hate to take off the labels, but know I will do that this Summer as I get out of doors.

Wonderful read....


*missing pastels*

Laura Shelley
04-13-2004, 06:02 PM
Mine are almost all still in the cardboard boxes. I don't have a huge collection yet--about 400 if you include pencils. Gosh, only a pastelist could say that was a small number!

All those cardboard boxes are laid out open on an old drafting table that's tilted slightly upwards, so I can see everything at a glance. A lot of mine are half-sticks such as the Sennelier and Rembrandt sets, but otherwise I have broken many of my sticks. A number of odd open-stock colors are arranged in a sectioned plastic tray that was originally the bottom of a pastry package. Usually the ones I'm currently using I leave tilted upwards in their slots so I can grab them quickly.

I admit that I'm probably way too careful with my art supplies, and always have had trouble cutting loose. The thought of dumping all those sticks into one big box freezes my blood. :) I'm afraid they will disintegrate, and certainly get dirty, and that I won't be able to find what I'm looking for. I am also concerned about mixing up the brands, since the textures differ so much. However, since so many accomplished pastelists do exactly that, I should force myself to give it a try. I may end up wondering what I was afraid of--and arranging everything by value and temperature would be a very good exercise at the very least. Maybe a family member can make a pastel box for me.

Khadres
04-13-2004, 08:40 PM
I admit that I'm probably way too careful with my art supplies, and always have had trouble cutting loose. The thought of dumping all those sticks into one big box freezes my blood. :) I'm afraid they will disintegrate, and certainly get dirty, and that I won't be able to find what I'm looking for. I am also concerned about mixing up the brands, since the textures differ so much. However, since so many accomplished pastelists do exactly that, I should force myself to give it a try. I may end up wondering what I was afraid of--and arranging everything by value and temperature would be a very good exercise at the very least. Maybe a family member can make a pastel box for me.

Well, after my "breaking" frenzy in January where the teacher of a class insisted we break all our pastels, I've decided to heck with it...I like to leave 'em whole as long as I can and I don't feel GUILTY about it anymore either! :D Enough of the heavily used ones wind up breaking a smaller piece off in usage eventually anyway and for those I just bought the niftiest little compartmented wood box for... Got it at Hobby Lobby for half price ($1.75ish), has nine deep compartments and a hinged lid (which I may eventually separate for easier access to the pastel pieces). It's wood, and unfinished, so I will likely put at least a good old fashioned wax coating on it first, but the sections are quite deep enough to put a layer of rice in the bottom both for cushioning and keeping the pastels clean...will probably separate by hue.

If you can talk a family person into making you your ultimate pastel box, make sure you OVERESTIMATE how big you need it to be, cause you know your collection's gonna just keep on growing and growing and growing! :cool:

Actually, if I could have exactly what I wanted, I'd have matching compartmented trays that could either lock together or be strapped together with a lid for the top with a carry handle. Then I could just stack these studio trays and slap the lid on and be ready to go out with everything in exactly the same place I'm used to. I've seen this type of thing ready made, but at nearly $100 per tray....well. I'll just keep dreamin'....

Susan Borgas
04-13-2004, 09:37 PM
This is a great thread? I haven't been using pastels all that long but have already accumulated quite a large number of pastels. I plan on buying more in June when I get to Adelaide in South Australia. I like so many other pastellists love those yummy colours :p . I store my pastels by colour but do sort the pastel by value when placed in their slot. In other words red is sorted from light to darkest. My soft Unison pastels are kept in the box that I purchased them in as I am always in fear that they will be broken. A full range of Winsor & Newton pastels also stay in their wooden trays/case. I also have purchased individual colours and brands that come in their own little boxes or clear containers. These I line up in a wooden case style box (used to hold hundreds of slide photos) that opens flat. The lid and bottom is then lined with these small boxes/clear containers holding the extra pastels. When I am working on a painting, I tend to pick out colours that I think I will use and place in a tray along side of my easel. These are cleaned and packed away in the appropriate boxes after each painting. I tend not to break my pastels in half but do write down the colour on a shopping list once the identity label is getting very small. I do not have a plein air palette yet so reading this thread with a great deal of interest that it may help me work the best way to go about it.

gofish
04-13-2004, 10:10 PM
I've always thought that the red cellophane value finder was OK for general use but innacurate when judging some colors. I wondered about that mid tone green in the middle of the yellows, Georganne.

Surely that was easy to spot as a huge value shift with the naked eye. How did it fool the red cellophane? I've never tried it, I just formed a theory based on my expectations.

Kitty

At first I thought you were being funny. Then I thought, yeah, how did that mid tone green get in the yellows? So I got out the pastels and the neutral red plastic and tried again to see how I made that mistake. I could make a very light green look hidden as the same value among the darker yellows but not a mid tone green, not if I looked carefully.

At this point, I can only attribute it to fatigue, inattention (same thing really) the evening I was doing my sorting. That's why I started using the value viewer in the first place; to my bleary eyes all those pastel pieces started looking alike. Would you believe the lighting was bad, does that sound right? Maybe that green piece jumped over into the yellow when I wasn't looking. Oh blast, I don't know how it happened. The red plastic does a pretty good job showing values for the most part. Then there is always human error . :confused:

Kitty, try this for yourself, it you might have a similiar experience. ;) I still love your paper even if you did take me to task on this.
regards,
Georganne

llis
04-13-2004, 10:16 PM
Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Southeastern Pastel Society (http://www.southeasternpastel.com/) meeting. Carly drove and I rode along. :) The demonstration was by Junko Ono Rothwell (http://junkoonorothwell.home.mindspring.com/Landscapes.html) and I sat mesmerized as she painted away showing us her techniques and special talents.

One thing that she said stood out for me in that it was certainly something I needed to hear.... she said "pack light so you can enjoy painting outside and you won't be so exhausted getting to your location with so much equipment and painting supplies". She only takes a few hard/soft pastels and pastel pencils on location. Just the basics. She likes to use an under-painting of turpnoid with pastels or dry pigment. The under-painting is dry most of the time within 10 or 15 minutes and really helps speed the painting process so you really don't lose that much time.

I think all of us find our favorite colors are very quickly. Those favorite colors are the ones I have packed today and I'm going to try my new hand -picked pastel palette colors out to see how I fair. I'm thinking that getting my plein air pastel palette down to a minimum will help with packing as well as help unify my finished work because I tend to go wild with sooooo many colors that my paintings look like poka-dots. Don't know for sure, but it sounds like a good plan to me. :) I'm inspired by Junko's studio and plein air work!

Khadres
04-13-2004, 10:19 PM
Your method sounds similar to mine at this point, Susan. Threads like this are always full of new ideas, tho, and sometimes the ideas are so simple that you wonder why you hadn't thought of it already.

One thing I've found is that the nice wood boxes some sets come in are lovely to look at and keep the set together in but sometimes wind up being a bit impractical unless you intend to use just the one tray from one brand. If I laid out every box tray I've got, plus the drawers from the boxes that hold singly bought colors, I'd have to have an enormous table! BUT, since I DON'T do that, quite often I find myself too engrossed in what I'm doing to check the sets for the perfect color and make do with what's out in the open trays instead. Later, when going through things, I'll often notice that the absolute PERFECT color was right there in some set or other and I missed getting to use it. That seems counterproductive, to say the least. Not sure what to do about that, practicality-wise.

I have begun to do color charts of every color in the sets especially and that helps some...I can at least look at the set chart and see which greens or blues or whatever it's got. But with limited space, it's easy to spend an hour just getting everything out and ready to DO something and by then something usually comes up to prevent really getting to the PAINTING part of pastels!

Khadres
04-13-2004, 10:23 PM
I'm thinking that getting my plein air pastel palette down to a minimum will help with packing as well as help unify my finished work because I tend to go wild with sooooo many colors that my paintings look like poka-dots. Don't know for sure, but it sounds like a good plan to me. :) I'm inspired by Junko's studio and plein air work!

Sounds like a good plan to me, also! Be sure and take some pics of your set-up and on location so we can see how it goes! Also, is there a website for this Junko pastellist? Sounds intriguing!

llis
04-13-2004, 10:35 PM
Also, is there a website for this Junko pastellist? Sounds intriguing!

Yes... click on her name in my post....that will take you to her website... or click on the society name in my post... I made them both into links for quick review. Aren't I tricky. :)

chewie
04-13-2004, 10:56 PM
i caught that, you sly dog you! and thanks, very inspiring work, and i am in awe that you had an up-front seat for it! is there one tip/tidbit that you thought the most useful? *sigh*, someday i will get to some of this stuff!

oldpaint
04-13-2004, 11:06 PM
:clap:

llis
04-13-2004, 11:12 PM
i caught that, you sly dog you! and thanks, very inspiring work, and i am in awe that you had an up-front seat for it! is there one tip/tidbit that you thought the most useful? *sigh*, someday i will get to some of this stuff!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well,
I really liked her telling us that it's okay not to have soooooo many pastels available. I guess I had gotten caught up in the "collecting" of pastels so much that I forgot that just having a few can be a good thing.

This tip is off topic, I know, but I was impressed with her saying that ALL parts of EVERY painting doesn't have to be complete to tell the story. In other words...we don't have to "color it all in". We can leave some of paper blank and let the viewer fill it in. Maybe another way to say it would be to say that you don't have to detail everything... just create your focal area and leave the rest with less detail or expression.

Khadres
04-13-2004, 11:16 PM
Yes... click on her name in my post....that will take you to her website... or click on the society name in my post... I made them both into links for quick review. Aren't I tricky. :)

Wow! She sure can manage that green, can't she? Lovely stuff! Does she underpaint? Ya gotta tell us all about it! :D

Deborah Secor
04-13-2004, 11:39 PM
One caution for you about the red 'value finder'--it works great for any color that doesn't contain red! If you hold a piece of red cellophane over the color red it virtually disappears. This means that the red is filtered out, leaving the values of the other colors but not the red. For landscapes the red filter is dandy since most landscapes contain considerably more yellow and blue than red. For finding the value of a color the red value finder works for anything but red. You can use blue and yellow for other colors, if you care to. However, the same holds true for those colors--blue or yellow disappears (not literally--but it's bleached out).

I always suggest that my students learn about matching values using the red value finder--but only so they can come to see that values will match.

Oh, and my palette is arranged by values, from light to dark, and in rainbow order. I mix all my brands together, hard and soft, and almost all of them are stripped of the paper cover. That way I can reach into the correct value area and use whatever color appeals to me. I use the same palette in my studio as I do in the classroom. My theory is that its like music--you have to know where the notes are in order to be able to make the tune you want to play.

Deborah

Khadres
04-13-2004, 11:52 PM
One caution for you about the red 'value finder'--it works great for any color that doesn't contain red! Deborah

Yep, I noticed that right away. Really it's just an aid like viewing your stuff in a mirror, etc. Every little helper you can have at hand helps, especially in the beginning.

I still have to sort my colors into some sort of coherent pattern...just haven't quite decided how I want to approach it yet.

Thanks for the tips!

Khadres
04-13-2004, 11:55 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well,
I really liked her telling us that it's okay not to have soooooo many pastels available. I guess I had gotten caught up in the "collecting" of pastels so much that I forgot that just having a few can be a good thing.

This tip is off topic, I know, but I was impressed with her saying that ALL parts of EVERY painting doesn't have to be complete to tell the story. In other words...we don't have to "color it all in". We can leave some of paper blank and let the viewer fill it in. Maybe another way to say it would be to say that you don't have to detail everything... just create your focal area and leave the rest with less detail or expression.

All very good points! And I did notice the ptgs she did where the underpainting/drawing and surface showed through...kinda neat, really. I think sometimes we get too caught up in "finishing" every last blade of grass and wind up losing the focus of what we were trying to say in the first place.

Sounds like a very nice presentation! Wish we had stuff like that around here!

Mikki Petersen
04-14-2004, 03:03 AM
Great Thread! I think I've tried everything...I know I've actually spent more on storage solutions than on actual pastels and that's saying a lot!

I purchased a bunch of cardboard boxes with foam inserts from Dakota Pastels. This finally seems to meet my needs. the boxes each hold forty eight pastels and line up nicely side by side on my tray table next to my easel. I have the three-tray artbox for my Rembrandts and they are what I use for traveling, leaving the fine stuff at home. All are organized by color from lightest light to darkest dark. I also have a six-drawer chest my hubby made that holds all my pastel pencils and Nupastels and they are arranged by the same method. The Dakota boxes hold all my really soft pastels, eg. Senneliers, Schminkes, Holbeins, and Great Americans. Those foam inserts are wonderfully cushioning and allow for very little powdering in storage. Oh, and all my pastels are peeled of labels and broken at least in half. I keep a small sketch book (5"x7") with swatches of each color and the brand and ordering number for ease of replacement as needed.

I do not pre-select a palette but as I use each color in a painting I lay it on the shelf on my easel. Before beginning a new painting, I always put all the colors away so I can begin again fresh.

pastelist
04-14-2004, 07:19 AM
As stated in an earlier post, I have 400 Rembrandt soft pastels. I feel I organize them pretty well. After reading this wonderful thread I have to purchase some more pastels. I thought I had a lot, simply stated I realize I don't. I must catch up ;)
:clap:

gofish
04-14-2004, 08:10 AM
Oh, and my palette is arranged by values, from light to dark, and in rainbow order. I mix all my brands together, hard and soft, and almost all of them are stripped of the paper cover. That way I can reach into the correct value area and use whatever color appeals to me. I use the same palette in my studio as I do in the classroom. My theory is that its like music--you have to know where the notes are in order to be able to make the tune you want to play.

Deborah

This is exactly how I do mine, labels stripped, and I also break them into a smaller piece. I have color charts to match a color to when I need to reorder. I keep them in travel trays in the studio then I just pack them up to go wherever, right now it's to class.

For me, I think it would be very hard to have all my pastels in separate boxes separated by brand or by some other category other than color and value. With them all together in color categories both hard, and soft you just reach for the color then decide on the hardness or brand at that point. It's fairly easy to tell the brands apart both by touch and by subtle visual cues, easier than you might think (that was something I worried about at first). The only thing I keep separate are the pastel pencils, which are in their own little box, bunched together.

Deborah, thanks for the comments on seeing red (or rather not seeing red) in the red value viewer. I think that I've heard that before but I'd forgotten it. I will stay aware now. I've used it mainly on landscapes prior to starting my journey into pastels.

Great thread,
Georganne

Kitty Wallis
04-14-2004, 01:46 PM
for the color then decide on the hardness or brand at that point. It's fairly easy to tell the brands apart both by touch and by subtle visual cues, easier than you might think (that was something I worried about at first).

Deborah, thanks for the comments on seeing red (or rather not seeing red) in the red value viewer. I think that I've heard that before but I'd forgotten it. I will stay aware now. I've used it mainly on landscapes prior to starting my journey into pastels.
Georganne

I agree Georganne, It is easy to tell the brand, softness, etc. apart after a while.

I started taking them out of the slotted boxes, and peeling the labels while I was doing sidewalk portraits in the streets of New York City, 47 years ago. I used a tackle box with separate compartments for the color families and a removable tray for my lap, which had 14 compartments and the attached lid making a great palette tray. At that time, I had a wide variety of brands in there and could tell which was which very soon.

Kitty Wallis
04-14-2004, 01:48 PM
One caution for you about the red 'value finder'--it works great for any color that doesn't contain red! If you hold a piece of red cellophane over the color red it virtually disappears. This means that the red is filtered out, leaving the values of the other colors but not the red.
Deborah

Thanks for clearing that up Deborah, I forgot the particulars.

Khadres
04-14-2004, 03:51 PM
Ok, for those who arrange their pastels rainbow or color wheel-wise and dark to light values....let's say I have my greens (they say you can't get enough greens... :rolleyes: ) and I'm gonna try our approach to arrangement. Now...I have blue greens, green greens, yellow greens, olive greens, grey greens, etc. etc. etc. and I have say on average five values of each of these several times over (in other words, I might have three "sets" of yellow greens). How do you get from the darkest (probably, but not necessarily, an almost black blue green) to the palest lime? If you go strictly by value you'll likely have several of the same value, but of different hue -- ALL still within the green category.

I rather like having all the values of a given green being grouped together, but that would be impossible in y'all's setup, wouldn't it? There can be some very subtle but definite differences between, say, the blue greens so that if you go by value, and they look a LOT alike just lying there. You're going to be searching around two values lower for the right "cast" green to go with the first one you pick, especially sans labels. Does this make any sense? Or am I just confusing myself here?

It's not really the value arrangement I wonder about, but the individual hues within a color group, I guess. Maybe not....shoot....I did tell y'all that I had to take Algebra I two times and made it out with just a D the second go-round, didn't I? This problem sounds way too much like a 3 dimensional array in programming...something else I could never get my pea brain around when it came to actually constructing one.

Your conceptually challenged...

Kitty Wallis
04-14-2004, 04:11 PM
"How do you get from the darkest (probably, but not necessarily, an almost black blue green) to the palest lime?" ...Sooz

Here's the image that comes to mind, I learned a lot from watching this painter and her plein air outfit.

She brought her pastels, sans labels, sorted into 8 value groups. Each group was wrapped in it's own napkin, with lots of cornmeal. When she arrived, she untied her napkins and laid them on the ground, exposing all her colors in value piles, from the very lightest to the darkest. All the different colors were clean and easy to see, sticking out of the cornmeal.

This was the first time I realized that I was just as likely to search for the proper value as I was the proper color. And I soon learned that I wanted the proper value more than the right color. That if I found the exact right value it didn't matter as much what color it was.

Khadres
04-14-2004, 04:39 PM
This was the first time I realized that I was just as likely to search for the proper value as I was the proper color. And I soon learned that I wanted the proper value more than the right color. That if I found the exact right value it didn't matter as much what color it was.

Sounds like a bit of a mess to me, but say I could get used to that....how would one do this in a box or two with vertical rows? Maybe I just need to use 8 boxes or drawers for it, but that still wouldn't help in hauling the things around. What arrangement do you have for plein airing?

Kitty Wallis
04-14-2004, 05:12 PM
What arrangement do you have for plein airing?

I travel as light as possible, given that I love Lots of colors. I use the Jim Lynch box, of the size to fit in an overhead airline bin. It's a flat open space inside with no compartments. I arrange my pastels in a raimbow arch, yellow-green-blue-red-brown, dark at the perimeter to light inside with a space center front for my selections for that painting. I use small pieces to get lots of colors in the box.

He makes the box with filters inside to clean the colors and hold them safe while traveling. My pastels are messier than other brands, so I don't get them very clean this way.

I can hold the open box on my lap while I work.

I haul everything to the site in a carry-all type plastic box with wheels and a long handle.

SweetBabyJ
04-14-2004, 05:19 PM
Sounds like a bit of a mess to me, but say I could get used to that....how would one do this in a box or two with vertical rows? Maybe I just need to use 8 boxes or drawers for it, but that still wouldn't help in hauling the things around. What arrangement do you have for plein airing?


Sooz- face it- you can't take everything with you- not unless you plan to spend more time lugging stuff than you do painting.

Sometimes, less is more.

Kathryn Wilson
04-14-2004, 05:57 PM
I travel as light as possible, given that I love Lots of colors. I use the Jim Lynch box, of the size to fit in an overhead airline bin.

Hi Kitty, I sense that you travel on airlines with pastels quite a bit - if you have had a recent trip, can you tell me what to expect from security if I decide to carry my pastels on? Going to Utah in two weeks and will be going through 2 airports going out and coming back.

Any comments would be appreciated - :)

Deborah Secor
04-14-2004, 06:01 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Apr-2004/23609-palette.jpg

Time for visuals...

I neglected to say LOOSE rainbow order...very loose. You'll notice that my yellows become oranges and reds, even though dark yellows go to greens. I do this because it fits. My dark oranges are browns.

By organizing this way I can easily see those different greens in relationship, all sorted loosely by value. If I need a light blue-green or a pale lime green or a yellow-green!

You can see a line of grays along the front of the box, which helps me arrange the values. This is the same box I have in my studio, take with me on location (I don't hike--I car paint, mostly), and take to my classes.

Deborah

Khadres
04-14-2004, 06:48 PM
Thanks, Dee....the pic explains a lot, and I'll have to try it out....any tips on splitting this arrangement into two or more trays? Mine aren't as large as yours and each case has two halves. Would it work to have a cool and a warm half arranged as you did yours? Altho I still have trouble sometimes seeing temperature in the more subtle colors...

Another problem I've had is keeping a packed tray like that FLAT so the pastels don't wind up being stacked or wind up sticking up too much to put the lid on without hurting anything. I guess you just get used to the jigsaw puzzle arrangement and put them back immediately in their appointed space?

Orchidacea
04-14-2004, 07:16 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Apr-2004/23609-palette.jpg



....I'm wiping the drool off my keyboard after gazing at that gorgeous arrray of sticks!


I think I have fewer than 100 pastels, but I am finding that I'm learning a lot about value as I compensate for the lack of color variety.

That's my silver lining and I'm sticking with it!

O

Marc Hanson
04-14-2004, 07:29 PM
Have to throw mine into the mix again. I've stayed out of this mostly because the last thing I think this box is is organized. Keep meaning to rearrange...oh well.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Apr-2004/37743-pastel-palette.jpg

Dyin
04-14-2004, 07:52 PM
ya, paintbox1, but if you did a judicious crop on this I'd buy it as an abstract...it is soooooooo cool looking!!!
(please be advised that I am flat broke...and cannot buy anything lol!)

Khadres
04-14-2004, 08:13 PM
....I'm wiping the drool off my keyboard after gazing at that gorgeous arrray of sticks!

I think I have fewer than 100 pastels, but I am finding that I'm learning a lot about value as I compensate for the lack of color variety.

That's my silver lining and I'm sticking with it!

O

Sounds like a silver lining to me! Before you know it, you'll accumulate more....I think the sticks breed by themselves anyway. :D

Khadres
04-14-2004, 08:18 PM
Have to throw mine into the mix again. I've stayed out of this mostly because the last thing I think this box is is organized. Keep meaning to rearrange...oh well.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Apr-2004/37743-pastel-palette.jpg

Looks lovely to me! Yummy, in fact! I'll have to adapt this idea to my gear...looks imminently useable!

And, no, SBJ, I don't intend to haul everything I own out...I do still have to figure out an arrangement for here too, tho...not sure I want to ignore half my colors just to fit 'em in a small area all the time. For taking out in the field, both Dee and paintbox1 seem to have the right idea and a pretty good selection, too.

Kitty Wallis
04-14-2004, 08:21 PM
Hi Kitty, I sense that you travel on airlines with pastels quite a bit - if you have had a recent trip, can you tell me what to expect from security if I decide to carry my pastels on? Going to Utah in two weeks and will be going through 2 airports going out and coming back.
Any comments would be appreciated - :)

Hi Kat,
I've had all kinds of reactions. From a knowing smile"You an artist?" before the box is even opened, to security delays as they frown and look sceptically at those pieces that could be explosive. Mostly the former. I think it helps that my box has become paint splattered, and I don't look like a terrorist.

Kitty Wallis
04-14-2004, 08:24 PM
[QUOTE=Khadres] Altho I still have trouble sometimes seeing temperature in the more subtle colors...
/QUOTE]


Temperature, now there's a can of worms. Has there been a thread on the subject?

Khadres
04-14-2004, 11:25 PM
[QUOTE=Khadres] Altho I still have trouble sometimes seeing temperature in the more subtle colors...
/QUOTE]


Temperature, now there's a can of worms. Has there been a thread on the subject?

Not recently, at least. Wanna start one? :D

Kitty Wallis
04-15-2004, 12:05 AM
Not recently, at least. Wanna start one? :D


OK

Kathryn Wilson
04-15-2004, 07:22 AM
Hi Kat,
I've had all kinds of reactions. From a knowing smile"You an artist?" before the box is even opened, to security delays as they frown and look sceptically at those pieces that could be explosive. Mostly the former. I think it helps that my box has become paint splattered, and I don't look like a terrorist.

Thanks for that Kitty - it brought a smile to my face thinking of you not looking like a terrorist - my biggest worry is that they will confiscate my pastels and I'll nothing to play with when it get to Utah - :(

Anybody know of a good art supply store in Salt Lake City? - :D

Khadres
04-15-2004, 07:43 AM
I'd be more worried about 'em opening everything up clumsily and dumping pastels all over the place, grown men stepping on of the semi-hard, round ones and rollllllling clear through the concourse, briefcase flying, knocking down little old ladies, wreaking havoc, while YOU are overcome by rage and begin to impersonate a terrorist by attempting to choke the person who opened the case! heh...

There, I've described your true worst fears and now they WON'T come true! You'll have a lovely trip and paint many flawless masterpieces of grandeur which we will all admire.

Just don't forget the sunscreen!

Kathryn Wilson
04-15-2004, 07:54 AM
Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Southeastern Pastel Society (http://www.southeasternpastel.com/) meeting. Carly drove and I rode along. :) The demonstration was by Junko Ono Rothwell (http://junkoonorothwell.home.mindspring.com/Landscapes.html) and I sat mesmerized as she painted away showing us her techniques and special talents.

Thanks for those links Ilis! She has a wonderful technique and will have to study those landscapes of hers more closely. I also liked the tip about less is more - I'm just getting ready for a trip and wondering how much to take and this really hit home.

On the other hand, in reading through this entire thread again, I know I don't have anywhere near the amount of pastels everyone else seems to have. Also, in looking at the organized trays pictured, I hang my head in shame - :( I certainly am not that organized, but I guess my method works for me as I don't seem to have too much trouble finding the pastels I need - I seem to have a different method - I have a tray of pastels that I use for the start of a painting (harder) - then I go to my boxes of pastels to do finishing layers with my much softer pastels. Sigh - I guess I'm just a renegade.

Also, with having less pastels I make do with what I have and have chosen some of the most amazing colors to put into a painting and wind up with unusual color combinations that seem to work (for me that is).

Khadres
04-15-2004, 08:23 AM
Sigh - I guess I'm just a renegade.

Also, with having less pastels I make do with what I have and have chosen some of the most amazing colors to put into a painting and wind up with unusual color combinations that seem to work (for me that is).

Your situation could be a plus, I'd say!

Still....no, I'm not throwing out any of my many pastels! I am finding, however, that there is a fairly limited group that I keep returning to in use. The only reason there's a seemingly large number of sticks is because I'm still figuring out which value of each hue I need most.

For instance, the ptg. I'm working on right now has a tray loaded with blues of various temp and value, plus some earth tones, pale, pale yellows, etc....way more than I've actually used, but until I got into the thing, I couldn't tell which I would need for sure. I think this is just an experience thing and eventually I'll pull out fewer and fewer sticks for any given picture.

It might be fun, tho, to try adding some unusual colors at the start to see if I can work them in here and there.

Kathryn Wilson
04-15-2004, 08:32 AM
I'd be more worried about 'em opening everything up clumsily and dumping pastels all over the place, grown men stepping on of the semi-hard, round ones and rollllllling clear through the concourse, briefcase flying, knocking down little old ladies, wreaking havoc, while YOU are overcome by rage and begin to impersonate a terrorist by attempting to choke the person who opened the case! heh...

Just don't forget the sunscreen!


Sooz - now there's a picture! :evil: Sunscreen - got it!

llis
04-15-2004, 09:20 AM
Your situation could be a plus, I'd say!

Still....no, I'm not throwing out any of my many pastels! I am finding, however, that there is a fairly limited group that I keep returning to in use. The only reason there's a seemingly large number of sticks is because I'm still figuring out which value of each hue I need most.



Hey... I wanted to say that pastel packing for plein air and pastels for the studio are two different animals. :) When Junko was talking about using fewer pastels, she was talking bout taking them on location. She, like all the rest of us, has many, many pastels to use when she is in her studio.

I'm thinking I agree with Khadres... it's a matter of "finding" what our favorite palette is. I also think that our favorite landscape palette will change with the seasons.

Oh the joys of painting with pastels. :) Then again... I've been on location, found I didn't have what I wanted... and kicked myself all the way home because who would have figured I needed Hiway Yellow! LOL

That's when I started picking up my plastic boxes that I use for storage and keeping them in the car just in case something like that happens and I can't live without my Hiway Yellow. Doesn't really take up that much space, is no trouble, and if I don't need those extra colors, no problem.... I just take the stacked box out and put it back on the studio shelf waiting for my next moment.

I'm thinking of renaming my car "the studio storage room". I can't seem to live without my Pastel Journal or International Artist ....just in case I get stuck in traffic and need something to read. Maybe I can get one of those video TV's installed so I can watch my art video's..... and of course a lap top so I can plug in to y'all. Oh dear... I've turned into more than a pastel plein air groupie! I think I've gone over the edge... did someone say edge? See I can't even carry on a normal conversation without thinking someone is talking art edges. I need help... is their an art doctor in the house?

Khadres
04-15-2004, 12:01 PM
I'm thinking of renaming my car "the studio storage room". I can't seem to live without my Pastel Journal or International Artist ....just in case I get stuck in traffic and need something to read. Maybe I can get one of those video TV's installed so I can watch my art video's..... and of course a lap top so I can plug in to y'all. Oh dear... I've turned into more than a pastel plein air groupie! I think I've gone over the edge... did someone say edge? See I can't even carry on a normal conversation without thinking someone is talking art edges. I need help... is their an art doctor in the house?

Heh! Join the club! That's why WC! is so invaluable! We can talk insanity to fellow insane persons to our heart's content! No, wait! It's the REST of the world that's insane, isn't it???? And just why do you think I BOUGHT a laptop recently? It's down in the studio even as we speak, ready to log on the moment I get ready for the day's creativity! Figured it was less costly than breaking another leg on the stairs hustling up and down to check what was happening in the pastel forum every few minutes!

Yours truly,
Another Color Junkie

Kathryn Wilson
04-15-2004, 12:06 PM
Figured it was less costly than breaking another leg on the stairs hustling up and down to check what was happening in the pastel forum every few minutes!


Man, and I thought I was obsessive - :evil:

Kitty Wallis
04-15-2004, 02:53 PM
Also, with having less pastels I make do with what I have and have chosen some of the most amazing colors to put into a painting and wind up with unusual color combinations that seem to work (for me that is).

I like this point Kat. I think pastels are a great medium for forcing us out of our habitual color ways. I've had to make the 'wrong' color work many, many times. As a result, I've stretched outside my color comfort zone.

Kathryn Wilson
04-15-2004, 03:28 PM
Here's an example of working with colors you wouldn't think much of using in a tree trunk - there's not a lick of brown in that trunk - purples, turquoise, pinks, greens and grey -

Kitty Wallis
04-15-2004, 03:31 PM
Here's an example of working with colors you wouldn't think much of using in a tree trunk - there's not a lick of brown in that trunk - purples, turquoise, pinks, greens and grey -

Nice! and a fine illustration of the above posts.