View Full Version : soft and hard pastels

11-27-2001, 07:05 AM
being new to pastels, what is your opinion on mixing soft pastel and hard (sqared) ones?

:cat: thankyou and ciao, rapolina.

11-27-2001, 09:23 AM
No problem using these together -- they are both considered soft pastels. One is just harder than the other. The harder ones are often used at the beginning of a painting. Softer ones are then used on top to complete it. You can also use the harder ones to blend with instead of using a stump or your finger.

I also use the hard (square) ones to tone the paper a color and then wash over it with turpenoid -- when I am painting on a sanded paper or a support that will withstand the wet process. You can even block in the painting and then wash over it. I use the harder ones because they are cheaper and I don't feel so bad at using up a stick just for the underpainting.

Have fun!

Marsha --
Marsha Hamby Savage Art (http://marshasavage.artistnation.com)

11-27-2001, 03:48 PM
I was wondering the same thing.

Thanks for the great answer.


11-29-2001, 04:58 PM
I use the harder soft pastels -- such as NuPastel -- for my underpainting and to block in the values. Then I move on to increasingly softer and softer pastels for layering. At the end, I may use the NuPastel again to blend a bit or to redefine some of my lines.

12-16-2001, 09:44 PM
Marsha: I note in your discussion you use sanded paper and turpenoid.
I use Ersta Fine a lot together with turpenoid, or denatured alcohol, which dries almost immediately, and barely penetrates the paper, sometimes even water, and I barely get the paper wet. Sometimes it
buckles, sometimes it doesn't. I'm always told it wont buckle. I'm working on a commissioned painting 40x60, it buckled. Do you know how to undo this
without ruining my paper, it is very pricey . I'm very reluctant to get it very
wet on the back to straighten this out. Any ideas? I think in the future I
will use Wallis paper. What other support have you used that withstands the

thanks for your thoughts on this.


12-17-2001, 12:26 AM

As far as your question on ersta prepping, Albert Handell would
have his sheets of ersta drymounted (by a frame shop or other) to museum board before he would work them. Then he would apply his preliminary washes before the pastel work. I believe he works on wallis now, which takes washes easily. Ken

12-18-2001, 12:59 PM
I have had the same problem when working on larger pieces of Ersta. Therefore, I no longer use large Ersta, but Wallis instead. The advice about dry-mounting large pieces is the best advice.

I don't seem to have much problem with Ersta buckling when I keep size down to 10x14, but when getting up to the 14x18 and larger, it does start to buckle.

Another thing about Ersta, I have heard there may not be Ersta much longer. One of the companies I order from said the company is being closed, sold, something? I don't remember the specifics. But, Wallis is such a good alternative, even though slightly more expensive. But -- the good thing is that you can use turpenoid or water - whichever you want.

Good luck!

Marsha --
Marsha Hamby Savage Art (http://marshasavage.artistnation.com)

12-18-2001, 01:03 PM

I forgot to address you current problem though -- still would advise you to take the pastel painting to a frame shop and have them try the heat press to mount to a museum board. Then you can continue painting on it - working over anything that may have been damaged by the pressing.

Good luck

Marsha --
Marsha Hamby Savage Art (http://marshasavage.artistnation.com)

12-18-2001, 07:57 PM
In additional to Marsha's reply:

If your Ersta is buckling, try thumbtacking it solidly to a board before you begin working. When it dries it will pretty much shrink back to the original shape.

I do this with Wallis Pro (which also has a tendancy to buckle at large sizes) and it neatly solves the problem.