View Full Version : Paper on Pastels

01-17-2006, 07:14 PM
I just tried to remove the paper on a Sennelier pastel stick and it literally exploded in my hand into a thousand crumbs. Why o'why do they have to put paper on those pastels - I think it's to raise our blood pressure! If you purchase a new set of pastel, you spend more time taking the paper off than you do painting! It's frustrating! Sennelier is especially bad! Mr. 'Good Guy', if you're:envy: on line, please take the paper off your new square pastels - you make a truly good pastel, but the paper has to go!

What can we, as a major 'pastel information source', do to convince the manufacturers to delete the paper sleeve - it will same them money and lower our blood pressure!

01-17-2006, 07:31 PM
Ahhhh, another victim of Sennelier's exploding pastels! I remember it well! I doubt they'll take your suggestion to heart...being the ultra traditionalists that they are. I agree tho....if you're going to GLUE the wrappers on there and make it nigh impossible to get them off without ruinging the pastel, just skip the whole thing!

I ordered a bunch of Senneliers when I first started out with pastels, thinking they were the epitome of "good". After spending an afternoon destroying them in an effort to remove the wrappers, I made up my mind never to buy another Sennelier as long as I lived. I later relented enough to buy a set of half stick, but only because those come nekkid with no wrappers.

01-17-2006, 07:49 PM
Oh Sooz, you sound just like me. I still have some senneliers and I cringe whenever I have to peel knowing the darlings are going to crumble to bits. So glad I'm trading in for Great American Artworks. At least if they break, it's clean and no crumbled and wasted pastel. Senneliers always made me feel like money was flushing down the drain as the pastels crumbled away to dust. lol.
Bluefish, I urge you to trade in for another brand as you need to replace. It is not so frustrating and loosing a perfectly good stick.

01-17-2006, 07:56 PM
I love satuated bright colors and that and only that reason is why I purchased them - BUT I'm getting sick and tired of them breaking into small pieces/dust! I just wish GA would make a set of 'pure pigment' colors! Sennelier pastels are fragile at best, but when they glue the sleeves on, it's almost impossible to utilize the stick you paid dearly for!

If they don't stop with the sleeves, they will have lost a good customer - I'll start buying 'sleeveless only'!

01-17-2006, 08:12 PM
Blue, They do. Great American makes a color wheel set and 2 sizes of Assorted. Go to Cheap Joes and view the larger image of those sets. Best pics I've seen of what the sets have inside. Also, check out Art Spectrums. harder than senneliers but, I really like them and the colors are really vibrant.

01-21-2006, 09:02 AM
Hello Blue.....Yep....I thought it was only me....I just had that same problem a few days ago....the paper sleeves on Senn. pastels drive me nuts and I aint...repeat aint gonna buy em no moe...he..he..he.

Diane....do you really like Art Spectrum Pastels??? they are so hard...I think they are even harder then Rembrandts....Glad I just got a small 15 stick set to play with....don't think I'm gonna buy anymore of these either.

I would do ANYTHING for a set of Great Americans however being I'm a poor boy I'll have to stick with my W/N and Alphacolor pastels....Art
PS...thanks for tip about Cheap Joes....I've never been there.

01-21-2006, 11:04 AM
Artie, the sticks I bought of the Art Spectrums have been really fun, easy to work with, easy to blend and vivid. Love them. Maybe you got ahold of a set that was bad. I've had Rembrandts and find they are comparable in soft or hard and abit more vivid.
If you really want some Great Americans, go to Jerry's Artarama and get a few open stock sticks. They are the cheapest for the open stock that I found. Get your more used colors and pick up a few sticks.
I totally agree about Senneliers - aint gonna buy no mo.

01-21-2006, 11:14 AM

Sorry to be the party pooper (I guess that's what one says there ?) but I really like the 80 half set of the Sennelier. I've never bought the whole sticks, but I guess that 2 halfs of the 80 set make bigger than a whole regular stick.
I also like Schminke alot. Those even come out of the sleeves by themselves when they brake, sometimes.



01-21-2006, 11:20 AM
You are not a party pooper. I found the halves to be better. they are fatter and shorter so harder to crumble. But, if you want colors other than what's in the half sticks you get yanked.
I have heard Schminke is a great brand of pastels. Good colors and very creamy.
I've gotten some Great americans that were not whole but, it was a clean break. Not crumbled into peices. So, they are sturdier. I think Great americans are probably closer to Schmenke but, I haven't tried all the brands so what do I know??

K Taylor-Green
01-21-2006, 11:25 AM
Course, I guess we could crush, dampen, & reform each Senn. we buy.:rolleyes:

01-21-2006, 11:28 AM
Kate, how true! Now if I could just figure out how to make a good refurbished pastel. It seems so complicated.

01-21-2006, 11:37 AM
Hi Diane and Jose'....Yes Diane...I think I'll drive to Jerry's in Hartford soon and get some open stock of GA....its at least a 2.5 hour drive from here.
Jose'.....I never tried the Senn half stick sets....so I dont really know...getting the paper off of the full sticks is ridiculous...using no pressure at all...they just crumble and break.....I'm really dying to try GA.
I have two small sets of Schminke's.....half stick sets...they are incredible soft and beautiful....Albert Handell describes them as "Dust on a Butterflies Wings"...and they are. Dakota's website softness scale rates them as Number 1---the very softest you can get......Thanks...Art

01-21-2006, 11:49 AM
A long time ago I bought the sennelier half stick set and most of them were useable but many of them were very rough and wouldn't spread color. Then I tried buying their whole set which I had found on ebay for $500 for all the colors and I though that was a great deal. They crumbled so bad though that I eventually sold what was left of that set and decided to never buy sennelier again, except their very dark greens.

01-21-2006, 12:03 PM
Oh Shari - you reminded me of how I got my Senneliers. I got them on ebay. Half were dried out and all crumbled so bad. It was awful. My first set was from Jerry's - a small one. They were crumbly too. But, the ones from ebay were wrapped and never opened. But, dried out....

01-21-2006, 12:04 PM
ok i just looked up the cheap joes site for the pics of GA's- first of all, jerrys artarama has the same 78 pc sets for 174.99 ( joe's is 193.99)
second, i'm not sure about the north american landscape set- it looks a little bright....I'm looking for the 78 pc ANIMAL set- saw it once in an art mag ad, can't find the mag now, and haven't heard or seen anymore about it since...


01-21-2006, 12:06 PM
p.s. Even PURPLES hasn't heard of or seen the animal set....

01-21-2006, 12:15 PM
I haven't but, I wouldn't be surprised if they did. You could try calling them. I think there is an 800 number in an ad in the pastel journal. Maybe if you email Dakota Pastels they may know or be able to find out for you.

01-21-2006, 12:22 PM
I have my ASW Holiday catalog supplement opened here in front of me....
They have some 78 GA piece sets on sale for $159.99.
The catalog # is 32M and it expires 2-28-06...so I think sale prices should be good to then. Only three sets on sale tho...Gen purpose...Port/figure..and SW Landscape....hope this helps you...Art

I'm so glad I haven't bought any pastels on EBAY....tho some people say they have gotten good deals tho.....Art

01-21-2006, 12:25 PM
If you go to the site there is more than in the catalog for 159.00. there is several 78 Great American's sets for 159.00. Queen of the sales.

01-21-2006, 12:39 PM
Hi again,

I would like to remember - altough this is something I haven't done - that one can make washes using those crumble bits of pastel together with alcohol. I don't know if Senneliers can also be mixed with water. If they are one can even mix them with water colours...I guess (I don't mean painting over but really mix with).
So, if one's painting a lake, why not make a wash mixing some apropriate colours ?
And then after letting it dry, apply the sticks over it.
I guess it's a good way of using the bits of crumbled Senneliers.
Don't forget to always try to turn the game on your behalf :-)

Kind regards,


01-21-2006, 01:36 PM
You are so brillant. Of course. I never thought of such a simple solution. You are invaluable. Maybe I can salvage some of the crumbs in my case of what's left of the Great American Artworks sticks that got ruined the other night. thanks!!!!!!!!

01-21-2006, 02:58 PM
Jose'...and all.....that technique should work just fine....using water or alcohol....I wonder if it would work with Chivas??....anyway...in Richard McDaniel's new book...in one of his demo paintings...he uses a wash of oil paint and turpentine for the initial color lay-in.....he lets it dry for five minutes and then starts using pastels....he also says you can use an atomizer and spray on the turpentine....letting it run and drip in a few places..
Apparently, he goes right in and starts painting with pastels in an almost dry turp wash......I did not realize you could do this....I didn't realize you could mix oil paint,turps and pastels together....I'm going to try this technique.....Just this tip alone....was worth the price of the book...Art

01-21-2006, 03:18 PM
Jose'...and all.....that technique should work just fine....using water or alcohol....I wonder if it would work with Chivas??....anyway...in Richard McDaniel's new book...in one of his demo paintings...he uses a wash of oil paint and turpentine for the initial color lay-in.....he lets it dry for five minutes and then starts using pastels....he also says you can use an atomizer and spray on the turpentine....letting it run and drip in a few places..
Apparently, he goes right in and starts painting with pastels in an almost dry turp wash......I did not realize you could do this....I didn't realize you could mix oil paint,turps and pastels together....I'm going to try this technique.....Just this tip alone....was worth the price of the book...Art

Hi Artie,

As far as I know, oils pastels can be mixed with turps but I'm not sure about soft ones. Is he talking about soft ones ?

Best regards,


Laura Shelley
01-21-2006, 03:35 PM
The only Senneliers I have are the 80 half stick set, and those are so variable in texture that I have never ventured to get whole sticks. I don't mind some differences in hardness, but when the pthalo colors are SO hard they skid over the paper and develop glossy spots, that's not good. I've exploded a couple of the more brittle half sticks between my fingers, but I use rather heavy pressure sometimes.

It's not hard to re-form crumbled pastels, though. There are various ways of dampening the bits. What I do is put them on a sheet of glass (old picture glass in my case) and spritz them with rubbing alcohol from a little spray bottle. You can also use distilled water, but alcohol dries faster once the pastel has been remade.

Crush the bits down with a putty knife or palette knife and keep spritzing until they are damp enough to make a clay-like texture when you work it with the knife. Then scrape your pastel clay into a lump and shape it how you will. You can wear rubber gloves and hand-roll a stick, or use the knife. Transfer the damp stick to a few layers of paper towels and leave it alone until it's dry.

It would be a lot of trouble to do that for a whole boxed set, though!


01-21-2006, 03:49 PM
Hi Jose'....yes, I just checked....he says QUOTE: "Using a combination of hard and soft pastels I start adding color"...this is right after the turp wash setup.....he is NOT....NOT using oil pastels....Interesting,..isn't it??

Hi Laura....Thanks for your procedure...my dust tray is filling up...going to take your advice and use rubbing alcohol and make my own grey pastels....Thank You.....Art

01-21-2006, 08:53 PM
Laura, thanks for the tips. I'm going to try that.

Art, How'd ;you like Richard McDaniels book. Been toying with maybe picking one up at the bookstore or amazon.

01-21-2006, 09:51 PM
Hi Diane....I absolutely, positivly...LOVE.....LOVE.....LOVE....RM's book...it is filled with incredibly beautiful paintings....some of them are done right from this area....New Paltz and Woodstock.....Give yourself a special treat and BUY his book.
Just a few of his tips that I have learned so far...the book has paid for itself......be carefull of me Diane because I am a confirmed BOOKAHOLIC and a card carrying B&N member......I have to go to 12 step programs and keep repeating to myself "I will not buy anymore artbooks"...hehehehehe.........
My problem is when I see a beautiful pastel painting book...I WANT IT NOW.....and cant wait or doodle around with amazon etc. etc...Art

01-21-2006, 10:57 PM
Art, the 12 step program for bookaholics doesn't work for me. I still have piles all over the house and still troll the aisles of Barnes and Nobel and Borders. It is pathetic.
Between books and pastels I'm heading for the gutter. I know this. But, I just can't overcome this addition.
Now, I'm going to have to go trolling again. Darn, another book. lol

Adriana Meiss
01-22-2006, 01:42 AM
I used to throw away small fragments of pastels but nowadays I save every bit of them.

Most of my Sennelier break easily, but I have had problems with some Unisons and some GAs also.

I want to show you some of the pastels I made from pastel dust, and the equipment I use.

Pastel pieces or pastel dust (I ussually mix similar colors together)
Dust mask
Mini mortar and pestle
Palette knife
TV dinner container
Flexible plastic sheet (the ones that come in bacon packages are great, but you can also use a sheet of disposible paper palette)
Disposable gloves

The key to having good results is to grind the pastel very well in the mortar.
When the mix is homogeneous I transfer the dust to the TV dinner tray and add alcohol, a few drops at a time. Using the palette knife, I mix this into a dough. If the mixture is too wet, I let it rest for a few minutes before transfering it to the flexible plastic sheet. Using the palette knife and the sheet's flexibility, I mold the pastels into sticks or any shape I want. My pastels are dry in 2-3 days.

I might not end up with the same color or the same appereance as the original pastel, but on the bright side, I have gotten some beautiful neutrals.


01-22-2006, 02:05 AM
Those are beautiful looking pastels. They have very nice color to them. I gotta make some of my own.

01-22-2006, 02:27 AM
Diane you won't be sorry if you buy Richard's book, and if you ever get a chance to take a workshop with him go for that too. He has a crazy sense of humor - to quote a paragraph from his latest workshop flyer, " Richard McDaniel, McDaniel Studio, and the workshop sponsoring organizations are not to be held responsible for mishaps that may occur during workshops, or during travel to and from. We are not responsible for lost brushes, spilled turps, broken pastels, or missing cookies." ... Missing cookies? :cat:


01-22-2006, 04:33 AM
I've read several articles, etc. that say turps and oil paint washes go well under pastels...I just think I'd let it dry first is all. Of course, here in the arid western part of the country that only takes ten minutes anyway! :D

01-22-2006, 10:40 AM
Right now I'm trying a mixed media painting. I'm using light acryllics. I spread some colorfix over the same paper to give it more umf. Put the acryllics down. I'm waiting for it to dry and so far in the drier spots it feels toothy. I plan then to do my pastels on top.

01-22-2006, 12:01 PM
I own the Schmincke and they break into crumbs too, really annoying!!! I would like to get some feedback on the Great American Art Work and how do they handle?

01-22-2006, 12:06 PM
I just recently got some and am in love. They are soft and creamy, buttery, vivid and if they break it's a clean break. I think of it as the perfect pastel. And the colors are so yummy. So hard to choose. They have great muted pastels and vivid primaries. They gllide on the paper and blend like a dream. I would say, they are well worth the $$$$. It's so hard to choose from the beautiful colors that if you want, pick up a small set and try them. Like an 18 assorted. I gaurentee you'll fall in love. Especially if you like Schmenkes.
P.s. I still love your fairy painting.

01-22-2006, 12:28 PM
Well I gotta get me some of those GA's.....I'm chomping at the bit to try em.....hope I have better luck with those then I'm having with my digicam search.......SORRY FOLKS.....THERE WILL BE A SLIGHT DELAY BEFORE YOU SEE MY PASTEL PIXS.............Every camera in this area, less than 180.00 is "SOLD OUT".....Wal Mart prices are best around here....they have cams in 400--500 price range.....everything else is SOLD OUT.

Nothing at Staples for less than $180.

BestBuy doesn't carry Kodak EasyShare series

Hi Diane....Good luck on your mixed media painting.....I'd love to see it when it is done.....don't feel bad about landscapes....they can be very hard to do......as far as I'm concerned......trees are very difficult.

Hello Adriana.....Thanks for your pix and procedure.....very interesting.....I'm gonna try it soon.....I see your from Syracuse, NY, that means were almost neighbors.

Wish I could find a local pastel/oil painting group around here....

Well all...I'm going to start painting in a few min....have nice day all.

Today I think I will try painting on the rough side of a piece of Fredrix 9x12
canvas paper and do some kind of field with flowers painting/


01-22-2006, 12:36 PM
Art, everything is sold out???? I can't believe it. Did you try an Osco or Walgreens. I know the ones around here carry cameras. do you have a Target? Maybe, just maybe, you should go to amazon and get one. It's under electronics (of course). Check out the drug stores. You'd be surprised what they carry.
My son once picked up a cd player at osco and it was the best he ever had.

01-22-2006, 12:57 PM
Hi Diane.....The big stores around here are not sold out of the high priced models...of course....I gotta tell ya.......I'm way out in the boondocks here....nearest Wal Mart and Stapes are almost 20 miles away.....I will check and see if there is a target around here.....No Oscos or walgreens.........wait a min....there is a good size Rite aid drug store in town....I know they sell all kinds of cell phones.....I check for cameras there......Stapes does have Kodak Easyshare for $180.....the model 310 seems to be discontinued....apparently digicams are very HOT sellers and probably stores got cleaned out for Xmass....I look for Target....I just may have to order on internet.

Give yourself another treat and get Elizabeth Mowry's new book "landscape Mediations".....I think you will love it......Back to painting...CU later..Art

01-22-2006, 01:06 PM
I've seen ellizabeth mowerys book but, I'm going to get mcdaniels first. I don't think the 310 is discontinued. Probably just hard to get in your area and restocking is sloooooow. Go online. You can probably get it cheaper. I'd check with bizrate for the camera. They'll give you the stores and prices so you can choose the place that has the cheapest. Just google bizrate and you'd be able to find it really easy. I know how you feel. I have to get my art supplies online since the closest art store is an hour away.

01-22-2006, 01:14 PM
Diane.....tnx tip on bizrite....I'll check em out...TU....nearest decent art supply store to me is at least 1.5 hour drive.....last time I ordered oil paints on line the UPS sweethearts left em out in the frozen snow....

OK...talk to you later...break over....back to painting...Art

01-22-2006, 01:19 PM
so nice of UPS. I like your cat. I have 2 darlings. Very spoiled.

01-22-2006, 01:38 PM
Thanks.....I got three cats.....one of em is blind in one eye...he is a stray I found on my doorstep....all three strictly housecats....My "Venetian Sunset" is starting to go bad.....I'm trying to paint a silouhete?? of a man standing in a gondola.......IM LOSING THE PAINTING>>>>>GOING SOUTH FAST>>>>>>>>>OHHHHH NOOOOOOO......hehehehehe...Artie

01-22-2006, 02:14 PM
Put down the pastel stick. Now. Walk away. Put it away for a day or two and begin something else. Sometimes when a painting is going bad or not working I put it aside. when I come back to it a few days later, I usually can see what to do or how to fix. sometimes, it's trash and I wipe it out and prime it. dont' try to save it now.

01-22-2006, 02:31 PM
Thank you Diane.....thats exactly what I'm gonna do....that painting coming down off easel now.....fredrix paper going up....gonna play around with another landscape.....I paint for half hour...take a 10-15 minute break....go paint another half hour....no big rush.....Im just playing around.....I have a bad case of the pastellist curse tho......not enough of really dark colors....I have 2 ivory black sticks....thats too dark....later.....artie

01-22-2006, 02:43 PM
I have the problem of very few pastels. Went to class the other night and didn't secure my case and got out of my car with my pastels crashing and smashing to the ground. BooooooHoooooo. I have a few Art Spectrums, nupastel and my Fabers pastel pencils. Oh, and a few semi dried out senneliers. I had hoped for a Great American Artworks set for xmas and Santa must have thought I wasn't good this year because I didn't get it. So, I started collecting some open stocks with a gift card. Cest la vive (have to ask mom if that's right). From now on only the hard pastels get to go to class. lol.
Needless to say, not painting alot till next week when a set I ordered gets here. Booooooring.

01-22-2006, 03:16 PM
OMG...that would break my heart.....I would be very upset....I'm so sorry....I hope you saved the broken pieces?? At Christmas time I treated myself to a 72 piece set of W/N soft pastels....Spent $140.00 on it.....also bought a set of Derwent Pastel pencils.....the pencils just saved my life with the pix im working on.....i must have 15 layers of pastel on it and the paper isn't taking anymore.....just have to add a few tiny touches of orangeish reflections in the water and its finished....I'm sitting here at my computer desk about 15 feet away from my easel.....I look at that painting from 15 feet away and I am VERY happy with what I see. Right now that painting is 95% completed and I'm finished with it for today.
Tomarrow I will finish it.

I have many small sets of pastels...The W/N set is the biggest I own.....I wish I had the money to order the "Full Monty" set.

At Xmas time I also treated myself to a Unison landscape set...very,very nice pastels......only 18 pieces...but very soft...I thought oil paints were expensive.....HA....oil paints are cheap compared to pastels.

Diane....What set did you order???....GA's???????...Art

01-22-2006, 06:23 PM
well, seeing that I missed out on my GA plein air set for xmas and my collection of sticks got broken up into dust - I was really feeling low when I went to Dakota to see about some cheapie set and ran into a really lovely sale. The Great American Artworks were 169.00 for some of the interesting sets. Toss between alan Flattmann's cityscape and the florals which I assumed would have some fun colors I ended up with the floral. I think the Janruary blahs are getting to me. Flowers on the brain lately.
I'm planning on crushing up the Senneliers that came half dried out and trying my hand at making new ones. Couldn't do that with the GAs on the pavement. It was wet and dark and nothing to scrape it up or put it into. Besides, I was so unhappy I didn't care.
So, you like Unisons? Wish I knew that before I sold mine. I don't like them. It's the feel of them. Weird. Loved my Rembrandts and used the small set of them pretty much up. Before the accident was hoping to get some Faber's polychromo hard pastels to replace the depleted stock of nupastels. That's gonna have to wait a little. But, I may find another sale when ready to buy. I love sales.

06-25-2016, 11:28 AM
I use a seam ripper (sewing tool) to remove the papers. It works very well! :)