View Full Version : Mystery Pastels

11-27-2007, 07:00 PM
I have some oil pastels I received as a child - probably early '70's. They seem to be fairly good quality. My father often bought me professional quality materials. The box says "manufactured expressly for Greenland Studios, Miami Florida". The company doesn't seem to exist anymore. I was wondering if any of you long-time oil pastelists were familiar with them. The colors are comparable to the Holbeins, but I hesitate to use them other than for practice pieces as I don't know how archival they are. Is there anyway to tell?


11-27-2007, 07:57 PM
Hi Sandy. I'm afraid I don't know anything about these. The general consensus here is that the student-quality OPs are harder and waxier than the professional-quality ones. It's a rather subjective judgement, but I don't know of any way to determine the quality other than that. Jane

11-27-2007, 08:54 PM
According to the book "Oil Pastels for the Serious Beginner" Holbeins were first imported to the US in the early 1980's, which led in 1983 to the first article in a magazine about their use by a professional artist. From that I take it that until then OP's were considered to be for kids only. Given that your box lacks even a brand name, I think it's safe to say that what you have are student grade.

Pat Isaac
11-28-2007, 08:39 AM
I don't know anything about these either, but I would agree that they are probably student grade.


11-28-2007, 10:03 AM
Sandy: Welcome to the OP Forum! :wave:

I have no idea about your pastels, but I wonder, since you say they seem like Holbeins, if they could be Holbeins that may have been imported and sold under a different name, prior to the Holbein company selling their OPs under their own name in the 80s, as Bob notes. Since the box says they were "manufactured for" Greenland Studios, that means some other company somewhere was producing them.

I wonder also if that could have been the case because Holbein has an distinctive color range (based on Munsell) so if the hues you have are similar, that seems to hint at some connection. When you say "comparable" do you mean that there's a base color and then tints of that hue? (That's how the Holbein color system works.) All of this is just speculation on my part though.

What do they look like? Are they square or round? (Artist grade Holbeins are square.) What sort of packaging did they come in? These all may be clues. Maybe you could write to the Holbein Company to ask if they ever sold OPs to Greenland Studios. If you're very ambitious, you probably could do a test of lightfastness by exposing color swatches to sunlight for a long time.

11-28-2007, 02:06 PM
Out of curiosity could you post a picture of the box and some of the individual sticks? Grumbacher made OP's back then, Cray-Pas obviously did (but were they available in the US then), does anyone else know any other brands (artist or student) that were available then? Does anyone know when Sennelier OP's were first available in the US?

11-29-2007, 06:48 PM
Hi Sandy,

Believe it or not, I have the exact same pastels! I also got them in about the early 70s. I drew constantly as a child and that was my first exploration into color. My dad ordered them for me from an ad in Parade Magazine (that insert in the Sunday paper). Is yours also a box of 60 in a woodgrain-looking cardboard box? The colors do look Holbein-ish, but I don't think they are. Mine are very hard and really don't blend well and I don't use them, although I only have Caran D'Ache to compare them to. I had fun experimenting with them as a child. It brought back a lot of memories when I rediscovered the box after many, many years and I don't want to part with them for just that reason! Hope this solves some of the mystery.


05-26-2015, 01:01 PM
I think the Greenland studios oil pastels were Guitar brand, made in Japan. Guitar sold the same set in a cardboard faux woodgrain box but with a different stick on label. Student grade oil pastels.

05-27-2015, 12:40 PM
Arlenebc, that sounds like mine exactly. They're not square like Holbeins, but the same color gradations. Thank you stez. I'll just continue to consider them student grade. I never did bother to do the sunlight test. I've never heard of the Guitar brand. Thanks everyone for your responses.