View Full Version : Beginners - Basic palette

Arnold vd W
08-08-2000, 09:23 AM
Hi all
Help me ... I'm starting out.
What would you recommend as a basic palette for pastels? Do you need soft as well as hard pastels - and what colors of the hards to compliment the softs? And how much of each softs and hards?

I know there is different "sets" for different themes eg landscapes, portraits, etc. I ask this help for a basic kind of palette (that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg), but would give me enough satisfaction, so that I won't get frustrated and loose interest. I will gradually enlarge my collection.

I've bought the following from open stock - what should I add? (Rowney tint in brackets)
Lemon Yellow (6), Cadmium Yellow (4), Crimson Lake (4), Cadmium Red (6), French Ultramarine (6), Cobalt Blue (6 + 4), Cerulean Blue (4), Sap Green (5) Terre Verte (5), Purple (4), Cadmium Orange (6), Yellow Ochre (4), Burnt Sienna (6 + 8), Cool Grey (4), Ivory Black and White (Cream Shade)

My next order will be Rembrandts.


08-08-2000, 10:15 PM
You seem to have a good range of colours. Why not try working with those and see what you feel is missing.

I find the two biggest challenges are finding dark colours and getting a good range of greys and muted tones. There seem to be lots of pretty, bright colours but fewer darks and more subtle shades - perhaps they don't sell so well? So, I find it really helps me to work on dark paper and let that do some of the work. I have recently discovered Art Spectrum colourfix paper which I like a lot. It has a grainy surface and takes a lot of pastel.

I use hard and soft pastels. I find the hard pastels good for detail and drawing, and the soft ones are good for adding richness of colour. Many pastellists like to start their paintings with hard pastels and finish with the soft ones - sort of like oil painters working lean to fat, I think. I'm not so organised and use what the painting seems to need. Yes, a harder pastel used over a softer one will remove some of the soft pastel but sometimes that scratching in of colour is exactly the effect I need. I often blend soft pastels together with a harder pastel of a similar tone and colour rather than rubbing the colours together with fingers or anything else - which tends to make the pastel lose its vibrancy. Fingers should be kept out of the painting as much as possible!

Hope that helps.
best wishes

08-10-2000, 05:47 PM
By far the best way to get exactly the colors you want in exactly the hardness (and even the exact shape) is to make your own pastels. Making pastels is the easiest of all home art techniques and the results are a much larger palette at considerably less cost. Check out the technical demo at http://studioproducts.com/demo/demo.html

Cennini Catalogue http://studioproducts.com/quickcatalog/catalogframes.html

08-14-2000, 05:16 AM
Sandra: I visited you page: great work!!
Some of your work looks like is done in oil, or is it pastel? Could not find indication of medium used or size.

Arnold: A basic palette is what you need to do the kind of painting that you like to do...Mine excludes black, browns and greys. I use a lot of sunny yellow, violet blue , a little bright red, purples,greens...I have colors that I buy and never use, Conte hard pastels that have been neglected for years...The big problems with pastels is that you have to have many colors, shades, tints...you never have enough pastels!! They are a great medium....Unfortunately they are misunderstood and not very popular. (This has been slowly changing lately).

08-15-2000, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by Rita Monaco:
Sandra: I visited you page: great work!!
Some of your work looks like is done in oil, or is it pastel? Could not find indication of medium used or size.

Thanks Rita! All the paintings on my site are soft pastels. Well, some are softer than others but I mean they're not oil pastels.

best wishes