View Full Version : ???? soft pastels

Cindy Aspden
08-12-2004, 01:12 PM
Hi everyone, I have never tried soft pastels before but the other day found a set on sale(likely student stuff) and decided to give it a go. I had no idea how to use them so just went for it. I laid down my dominant color and rubbed it in with my finger or tortillion or a cotton swab(wanted to see what worked best) then I just began layering. Am I on the right track? Dust everywhere. My face was almost as colorful as my paper. Typical? How does one deal with that dust and how do you keep it from messing the support where you don't want it messed? Anyway, here is my experiment, the colors I tried(plus a tad of white) and the no-name pastels. Dyin mentioned I need to find stickies here? I sure would appreciate being pointed in the right direction. Thanks all.

This awesome image is from Lorna's WDE.

08-12-2004, 01:24 PM
Don't know the brand from the box there, but they look like decent ones to experiment with for now.

Pastel work is all about layering, so you need to have a good support, or ground. Yeah, you can blend pastels, but what ends up working best, usually, is to layer your colours over and over each other until they blend themselves. It actually gives you better control over the hue and value- doesn't leave it "chalky".

Jackie Simmonds has a good thread in her forum here, she offers a bit of online tutoring through pm's, too; and the Library has tons of info- just tons. Kitty Wallis' forum will explain why Wallis is THE best pastel support ever, ever, ever, and show you how to get a sample of it to try, and where you can buy it in certain countries.

"Stickies" start out in whatever forum, and then are moved to the Library, but they are by no means the only threads with great info (sometimes, we forget to rate threads) Looks like you've a good start, though, and we'll be happy to help with any specific questions you have. As to dust: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207111

Welcome, have fun. Look forward to seeing your work.

08-12-2004, 01:36 PM
By the sound of it, you were working flat. I would really work on some sort of easel so the pastel dust can fall down and not smudge the rest of the painting. Also, don't blow the dust away as it will get everywhere (as you noticed). Just shake it off outside once in a while.

I like blending, but be careful not too blend too much or too soon as it can become looking a bit flat.
It sounds like you like to experiment and that is the best way to find out what works for you. Since you can layer pastels for quite a while a good pastel paper works great.
Check out the pastel library - there are tons of great threads in there.

Oh, and HAVE FUN - careful, it's addictive....:D :D

Cindy Aspden
08-12-2004, 01:42 PM
sbj, thanks so much for getting back to me and for the abundance of information. Considering now, what I have to read through and study and pratice, etc. I'll be posting again in maybe a . . . . year???? . . . lol Seriously I really appreciate all the direction and am excited about getting started. The link was excellent! Dang, I just sold my last surplus body part for food. . . what was I thinking?. . . (mutter,mutter....)had I only known. . . *sigh*. . .I have children. . . :evil: :)


Cindy Aspden
08-12-2004, 01:47 PM
Hi Soap, yep your paragraph one: completely accurate! lol

I have seen mention many types of pastel paper. I was just playing on cold press wc paper. Pastel paper superior?

Addictive. . . what else is new with art. . . I finally had to lock my pencils away so that I would move back to color. I tried some controlled graphite but alas, I continually binge. Oh well, bring it on!

I'll be in the library.


08-12-2004, 02:10 PM
Dang, I just sold my last surplus body part for food. . . what was I thinking?. . . (mutter,mutter....)had I only known. . . *sigh*. . .I have children. . . :evil: :)


Food is over-rated. Children today are becoming obese- our Government says so, and if you can't trust them, who can you trust? Kids don't NEED Kool-aide- they WANT Kool-aide; whereas, you very definately need more more more pastels and some Wallis paper. Now, you *could* get some LaCarte paper, it has a vegetable matter coating which is, of course, a recommended food group, and then you've solved two issues at once. Just tell 'em the purplish-gray colour tastes like real grapes, and you shouldn't have any problems.

Watercolour paper works, but the premier paper is Wallis sanded. Trust me on this.

08-12-2004, 02:31 PM
Watercolour paper works, but the premier paper is Wallis sanded. Trust me on this.

And Canson Mi-teintes, and Sennelier LaCarte, and Colourfix, and ... and...:D :D.....

08-12-2004, 02:40 PM
Watercolour paper works, but the premier paper is Wallis sanded. Trust me on this.

I second that! I looooooove Wallis paper! You won't regret trying it.

08-12-2004, 05:52 PM
No! No! Trading the children for pastels and paper is still frowned upon in our unenlightened society so best not do that!

Some of your dust issues also arise from the less expensive pastels which often have a lot of chalk binder which dusts a lot. But then, so do the really good softies, so....working vertically will help....also, if you eventually get some "hard" pastels to do your early layers, you'll save a lot of dusting since they have less in the way of powder. Wallis is worth the cash outlay...and CAN be re-used if you don't like your first effort on it...a definite plus.

All that being said, you look like you're getting the hang of it VERY well already! Experimentation is probably the best way to learn. Welcome and will be waiting to see more of your work!

K Taylor-Green
08-12-2004, 11:07 PM
Cindy, You are going to be soooooooo addicted!! :evil:

08-12-2004, 11:14 PM
hey, Cindy...didn't i tell you how great everyone was here? :D The cool thing about Wallis is you can wash and re-use, so in the long run it's cheaper (think she'll buy that one???) The sticky i told her to look for was Dee's ground toning??? Did it go to the library?
Have fun Cindy...you'll never look back!

Cindy Aspden
08-12-2004, 11:15 PM
Phewf. . . (moths fluttering out of hair as she emerges from the library) There are some great articles!

SBJ, tried the paper trick for dinner. . . kids are teens, so they noticed :confused: Perhaps I could try in casserole?

SJB, Soap and Kelly, sooz. . .boy have you got my curiosity up about the Wallis paper. I am going to have to make a trip to the art store tomorrow. I can't imagine a paper that lets you remove and try again. That sounds too good to be true.

No! No! Trading the children for pastels and paper is still frowned upon in our unenlightened society so best not do that! LOL

Thank you all for the info. I did a bit more on the balloon just blending with the pastel as suggested, and what a huge difference. The color is so bright and clear. I also visited the library and have a kazillion books coming. So between them and all the great help from you all, I might just get this. :)


08-12-2004, 11:22 PM
It's a vegetable- it's not supposed to taste good. sheeeeesh! Kids today!

Have fun- try one of DeeArtist's lesson in the ESP thread.

Cindy Aspden
08-12-2004, 11:37 PM
Yikes, another reference to addiction. . . Sue, didn't you mention that? What. . . is it something in the dust? All it did was make me itchy. :(

Hey Sue. Wash and go paper. I hate hand washing. I ain't buying it.

????ESP thread????? I'm about as forum savy as I am soft pastel savy.
I did find the ground background Sue.

And yep Sue, you have been braggin' about everyone here for a looooong time and yep rightly so. :)


08-12-2004, 11:53 PM
Cin...it's the new classroom thread on the main page that dee-artist just put up...all HOW TO's on pastel techniques..you'll be a pro in no time if you do some of her exercises :D

Deborah Secor
08-13-2004, 01:00 AM
Hi Cindy, nice to meet you! The thread they've mentioned has been moved to the Library, but you can find it HERE (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202184). It has some information on how to tone Wallis paper--and, yes, you can wipe away the pastel easily and repaint the offending portion, or reuse the paper again until you have a painting you want to keep!

I think you're on ther right track already with your balloon painting. Have fun and let us see what you do with it!


Kitty Wallis
08-13-2004, 03:48 AM
Hi Cindy, Let me know if you can't find my paper in your local store.

08-13-2004, 04:11 AM
Call me old fashioned and perhaps a bit academic, but I firmly believe that when learning a new medium (or anything new for that matter) you can't beat having a good basic "how to " text book at your fingertips..one that presents the info in a concise, organized, easy to understand format. There are many on the market and with a little research I am sure you could find one, new or used that fits your needs.

ps..from the looks of things in your post, you are well on your way to pastel addiction :evil:

08-13-2004, 07:57 AM
The Wallis paper is magical, but for now I use canson, mi tentes(?) or whatever "higher grade" paper is available (names escape me for the moment). I even use Strathmore Art Paper in colors. You can practice on paper bags - whatever! - and have a ball. I do blending sometimes on early layers mainly, but I do do it very lightly just so colors won't mix completely.

Cindy Aspden
08-13-2004, 12:05 PM
Thanks Sue!

Deborah, nice to meet you too! I have bookmarked the thread which is excellent. I love visuals for learning, and I am going to look for supplies today to give your lessons a go. :)

Hi Kitty! Thanks and I will let you know how I make out finding your paper. I'm very curious to see it.

Preston, I must be old fashioned too. I love have a reference handy at all times. I think I have shares in our library by now(bad with returns :( ) lol
As far as addiction goes.. . I seem to be of the nature that if I do anything more than once and it's a great experience. . . I'm hooked. So needless to say, I'm in!

Grasshopper, thanks for sharing some of your techniques. The mi tentes paper - that's the one with serious texture? Doesn't that leave gaping holes in ones painting or does the pastel work into the divots(I guess that golf, but I don't know the correct lingo yet) I have picked that up numerous times in our art supply store, only to put it down cause of the texture.


08-14-2004, 02:39 AM
Divots in Mi-Teintes! What a thought! The good thing about Canson MT is that it has TWO sides, a smooth side and a so-called rough side. If you do not enjoy the rougher side,(which can be good for certain subjects - texture in landscape for instance) then you simply work on the smooth side! All of the images you see below, in my signature line, were worked on Canson, smooth side. Not a divot in sight!


Cindy Aspden
08-14-2004, 03:14 AM
Ah ha! I knew I would get someone with my divot comment. Hey Jackie! lol Thanks for the explanation. No not one divot in sight. Beautiful work.
I see too you have a link to get Kitty's paper. I checked both our art supply stores here and nothing. Perhaps Vancouver would be a source for me.

Kitty, do you know if someplace Vancouver, BC carries it?


08-15-2004, 09:07 AM
Hi Cindy,

There is a place in Calgary that carries Wallis paper. Here's the link http://www.monalisa-artmat.com/papers.htm


Cindy Aspden
08-15-2004, 12:36 PM
Thanks Heather. I have family there and . . . Christmas is coming. . . and I really don't wear the read jeans they send every year. . . THANKS!!!


Heather, have you got another link for them? I can't seem to get anywhere but that one page. I'll go do a google search too.

08-15-2004, 01:01 PM
Just backspace on your addy bar till you get to the .com part- that takes you to the home page