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cmorrow05
07-21-2000, 10:57 AM
Historically speaking, I've stuck mainly with pencil, charcoal, or ink, and have shied away from color. I'd like to give color a go, but I'd like to find a medium that will:


offer rich color
allow me a lot of control (i.e. I can control a pencil more than a brush)
will blend well (more like oils than colored pencil)


I've thought about trying pastels, but from checking out the postings here, I'm confused about what brand/type. Oil, soft, etc.

Can someone help? Thanks!

VictoriaS
07-21-2000, 01:50 PM
From my limited experience:

I like very soft pastels -- Sennelier and Schmincke are two brands I enjoy using. They feel kind of sensual and are very blendable (but also easily broken). I personally don't care that much for hard pastels, though they have their uses. To me, using hard pastels is more like drawing, and using soft pastels is more like painting. Oil pastels are a completely different thing -- like crayons.

I would suggest buying a couple of pastels from each of several different makers, and you will quickly learn which ones you prefer.

cagathoc
07-21-2000, 01:55 PM
Artist quality oil pastels are not like crayons. They are soft and blendable (not to the extent that the soft pastels are however). Sennelier makes a wonderful artist quality oil pastel. Even better may be oil sticks - oil paint in a stick form. Good transition from drawing to painting.

Depends on the look you like. Oil pastels and oil sticks are brighter - look more like oil paintings. Soft pastels are chalky (and make me nose itch). They look softer.

It's all expensive!


cindy

VictoriaS
07-21-2000, 02:39 PM
Cindy: Thank you for correcting me. I didn't mean to say they were like crayolas -- just that they're more like crayons than are soft pastels. I have a set of Sennelier oil pastels (and another set of Sennelier iridescent oil pastels which are very beautiful). Would you not agree that regular (chalky-type) pastels and oil pastels are very different mediums? And would you be willing to give some tips on blending them? Mine are in the back of the drawer because I've not been able to work that well with them, though I'm sure it's mainly because I don't know how, and maybe partly because of the paper I've used. Thank you.

arlene
07-21-2000, 03:12 PM
Why don't you just work with colored pencils?
Prismacolor makes a terrific set that lays down lots of color, and if you're used to pencil, it's a great way to start.

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http://www.artdebut.com/arlene0.htm

cmorrow05
07-21-2000, 03:58 PM
Arlene - The biggest problem I have with colored pencils is that I can't blend them. When I work with pencil, I like to use my fingers to smudge the shading, smoothing it. I'd like to be able to blend colors together in that manner, like you can with paint, to achieve a softer color transition. Colored pencils just seem so...hard, I guess.

4vincent
07-21-2000, 06:30 PM
Maybe without investing a lot of money to try them out, you could get an inexpensive set like Nupastels (96 colors for about fifty dollars) or a half stick set, like Grumbacher (harder) or Sennelier (40 pc very soft)and either a good pastel pad like Sennelier's or some Canson paper and go for it! Then if you like it, get a complete set.
Good luck! 4vincent http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

CT
07-21-2000, 07:40 PM
If you want to have some fun try taking some good brand of oil pastel, such as Sennelier, lay the color on loosly, then blend the colors with a Q-Tip soaked in turpentine. It produces a really fascinating effect. I haven't done it in a long time, but it is really a trip.

CT

Gisela
07-21-2000, 11:05 PM
cmorrow,
Try going to Pat Catans (they're all over town). Some of the stores sell several brands of soft and hard pastels in different sizes of boxed sets--a couple of the larger stores carry individual sets. I love the soft pastels and most folks that use them use several brands.
I also use the oil pastels and oil bars. Utrecht, up in Coventry carries both the profession oil pastels and the W&N oil bars. I think that's the only place in town that carries any decent ones.
They're all quite different (see above http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif )If you're used to dry media, I'd recommend starting out with hard and soft pastels. Leave the oil stuff till later--that's a whole 'nother story!
Oh yeah, I have to add this, though a lot of folks will disagree with me. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif I quit using pastels years ago, when I thought that Canson Mi-Tientes was the only paper to use. I really disliked that paper. It was frustrating to use and I eventually just gave up. Last year I learned about the better papers and boards, (Wallis, Windberg, LaCarte, Pastelbord) and I gave it another try. It opened up a whole new world to me. If you try the Canson paper and you're not happy with the results, try the better grounds and don't give up, like I did! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

Another Clevelander,
Gisela

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Artworks by Gisela Towner (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/gisela)

[This message has been edited by Gisela (edited July 21, 2000).]

cagathoc
07-22-2000, 09:04 AM
You can buy special oil pastel blending sticks. They look white but are clear and you can use those to blend colors together.

yes, I agree - two very different mediums.


cindy

Roan
07-22-2000, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by cmorrow05:
Historically speaking, I've stuck mainly with pencil, charcoal, or ink, and have shied away from color.

Ding! Sounds like me, last year!


I'd like to give color a go, but I'd like to find a medium that will:


offer rich color
allow me a lot of control (i.e. I can control a pencil more than a brush)
will blend well (more like oils than colored pencil)




Exactly the reasons I picked pastels, however, for me, one is missing:


must allow me to immediately put down what I'm doing -- at a moment's notice -- for any given amount of time


I have a three-year-old girl and being able to drop everything and not worry about dried out/spilled/whatever paint/water/what-have-you is a must

I've thought about trying pastels, but from checking out the postings here, I'm confused about what brand/type. Oil, soft, etc.

Can someone help? Thanks!

I can tell you about my experiences, hope it helps:

I started with some real cheap cheap crappy VIBRANT chalk (I wouldn't even classify them as "pastels"), a set of oil pastels and construction papter. I thought I'd give the oils a fair shake, but I didn't care for them at all. I didn't in high school and I don't now. They're so easy to "mud" up for me -- that's just my opinion, now! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

Anyhow, one thing led to another and I bought a set of Rembrandt. I like Rembrandt, still do, but MANY of the colors, regardless of what their advertisements say or people claim, have pieces of grit (binder) in them that can ruin a piece of paper. Be careful :P I've made a list of the colors I have that are consistantly full of grit and only use those on sanded papers. I find the reds and dark colors the worst offenders. I have one red pure color that won't even make a mark -- make that a mark of color, it's real good at making dents and scrapes -- on anything but sandpaper!

I'd go with what someone else advised -- if you decide to go with soft pastels, buy a few of each brand and see what you like. If you want a good brand to *start* with, I'd recommend Rembrandt. Most pastelists, from what I've read, use Rembrandt for laying in, so it won't be a waste of money -- I doubt you'll outgrow them. They're fairly bright and vibrant.

Once you get used to those, buy a few other brands in your most commonly used colors. I ended up buying a set of Winsor & Newton because they were softer than the Rembrandt and a little more muted in color.

Eventually you'll amass quite a few. I ended up tossing/storing those lovely wooden boxes and bought 4 three drawer pine ones. I have all my pastels (five brands) sorted by color and color family, not brand. Once you start doing a lot of painting, brand seems to take a back seat to color and paper type.

Anyhow, that's just my opinion, for what it's worth http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Hugs!

OH! One more thing: regarding blending -- soft pastels are excellent for blending but the real challenge is learning not to blend! (I am horrible at this part!) To express yourself in a more "painterly" style -- mixing your colors by putting one over the other or creating optical illusions by putting one color next to another.

Sigh. Some day I'll get that down pat!

Good luck!

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Mar sin leibh an-drāsda,

Roan

sandge
07-23-2000, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by Roan:
OH! One more thing: regarding blending -- soft pastels are excellent for blending but the real challenge is learning not to blend!

Roan, you are so right! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

best wishes
sandra

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http://www.fletcherfineart.com

[This message has been edited by sandrafletcher (edited July 23, 2000).]

arteitaliana
08-14-2000, 02:14 PM
The best way to learn is to start....and keep going. I have no advice on blending apart from: do not!! Blending will kill the color and give you a false impression of controlling the medium. Pastel will teach you a lot about color and visual mixing if "you do not blend".

aspiring artist
08-14-2000, 07:41 PM
To Sandi:

From my experience, the Kitty Wallis paper does not "eat up" pastel. In fact, I found very little at the bottom of my catch-tray, compared to Canson MiTientes.

To everyone:

Try Kitty Wallis paper ~~~ just once! You will fall in love with it and never turn back! I can't say enough good things about it. Hang the expense --- you're worth it! Remember it's white, so you get to "tone" it with an underpainting in ANY medium you wish: watercolor, pastel, oil....as long as you keep it *thin* and don't clog the tooth.
Finding Kitty Wallis paper has made me fall in love all over again with pastels!
You will LOVE the fact that you never get "locked-out" as you do with MiTientes.

Give it a try!

Roan
08-15-2000, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by aspiring artist:
To Sandi:

From my experience, the Kitty Wallis paper does not "eat up" pastel. In fact, I found very little at the bottom of my catch-tray, compared to Canson MiTientes.

To everyone:

Try Kitty Wallis paper ~~~ just once! You will fall in love with it and never turn back! I can't say enough good things about it. Hang the expense --- you're worth it! Remember it's white, so you get to "tone" it with an underpainting in ANY medium you wish: watercolor, pastel, oil....as long as you keep it *thin* and don't clog the tooth.
Finding Kitty Wallis paper has made me fall in love all over again with pastels!
You will LOVE the fact that you never get "locked-out" as you do with MiTientes.

Give it a try!

I second your comment on your catch tray -- *that's* where the waste is. There are only three types of surfaces that I've found do not dust and waste pastel: velours (which are a nightmare to frame!), suede matboard (my newest love!) and GOOD sandpaper-types.

Sabretooth and Sennelier Le Carte also, in my opinion, do not really eat up pastel. The trick is to use cheaper pastels -- like Rembrandt -- for your initial lay-in. Toothed papers, like Mi-Tientes and others -- will only allow so many layers of pastel to be added before they get too slick and full. I've had that happen many times. "Argh" on the lock-out! With sanded you can brush it down to the surface, lickity-split, with no (for the most part, Le Carte gives me trouble there) loss of tooth.

Another trick for sanded types -- if you don't want the surface color to show through too much -- is to do a light lay-in with a medium soft pastel (again Rembrandt is good, so is Winsor & Newton) and use a very soft sable brush to spread the color around. Make sure it's an old brush! If you want to PUSH the color in, use a stiff bristle but be careful you don't get too aggressive and knock the flakes off the Le Carte (I'm getting away from Sennelier Le Carte for that very reason. It's too easy to lose your tooth). That way you're not wasting expensive pastels laying major color groups. I usually move to Schmincke, Rowney and Sennelier once my lay-in is done.

As for the Kitty Wallis: I just bought my first 24 x 36 piece. It's sitting here staring at me. I left it in the wrapper so that I can't see it and get too tempted! Darn it all but I need to finish my current painting first!

Hugs!


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Mar sin leibh an-drāsda,

Roan

Roan
08-15-2000, 10:55 PM
Oh! Before I forget, regarding blending:

If you have that inexplicible urge to blend and can't seem to get rid of it, here's a hint that worked for me:

Use velour for some practice pieces. You pretty much *can't* blend the colors. It's very difficult to do so and therefore you will be forced to paint without blending.

I still get the urge to blend now and then, especially when I've done a painting where I've done some purposeful blending. When that happens, I make sure I move my next piece to suede matboard (I don't use velour anymore). It's a *lot* more expensive (well, not when you consider the size -- I pay around $22 for a 32x40 sheet), but I love the look it gives and the exercise in not blending.

Hope this helps!

Hugs!


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Mar sin leibh an-drāsda,

Roan