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View Full Version : Sennelier vs. Artworks


KOP
01-03-2008, 01:13 PM
I was looking for a large set, I sampled some of these, but I'm still not sure which to get. Will someone help me in deciding?

Deborah Secor
01-03-2008, 01:37 PM
Great American Art Works, hands down, for me. Bigger, not as prone to crumble, softer texture, less expensive, wonderful colors, made in the USA. Just MHO.

Deborah

mrking
01-03-2008, 02:39 PM
Coming from Secor, I think you have your answer. :D

Bringer
01-03-2008, 03:28 PM
Hi,

I've never used Great Art Works, but with the Sennelier 80 halfs set (two halfs are bigger than a whole one) at around 60 dollars.
I have the 80 half set which I really like for landscapes and I'm think about getting the new 80 half plein air set.
But I must say that I would also like to try the Great Art Works.

Best regards,

Josť

binkie
01-03-2008, 03:30 PM
Deborah is right on the mark! I am relatively inexperienced but have some of both, and I'd chose Great Americans hands down!

binkie

bluefish
01-03-2008, 07:12 PM
If you decide on Sennies - only consider the La Grande - they do not crumble as readily as the smaller ones do - they do have nice colors but Deborah is right on - Great Americans are Great! Terry Ludwig makes one mean pastel also! I'd personally choose them over a lot of other brands - Mt Visions are also worth a close look at - nice pastels and rather inexpensive for what you are getting! I think you would be very happy with either the GAs, TLs, or MVs!

'bluefish':wave:

PeggyB
01-03-2008, 08:34 PM
Well this is such a personal choice I don't see how anyone could possibly choose without trying some of all of them enough to know they want to go to the expense of a set.

I have two landscape sets of GA that were won in competitions as well as additional colors, but I don't use them much because to me they are too soft, and fill the tooth too quickly on any surface I want to work on. Having said that, they do have some colors that are unique, and I do use them.

I recently bought the Richard McDaniel plein air half stick set of Sennelier pastels, and I love them. As Josť said, the half sticks are larger in diameter, and way less inclined to crumble or break than the whole sticks (less so than the GA which I've also found easily break into small pieces, but don't crumble). I also have some Sennelier jumbo sticks which are really convenient for large areas of laying in color.

Having said that, I still use more Unison than anything else, but maybe that's because I was given the whole set way back when before they were even imported into the U.S, and just keep buying replacements of the colors I love rather than trying to find a different brand of the same color. I've started buying some Mt Vision, but they aren't really the same as the Unison - close, but not the same - and those I have I like too! I use Terry Ludwig as often as I use the Sennelier. Oh yah, and then there are the Art Spectrum extra soft lightest lights as substitutes for "white" - very nice as are some of the unique colours (had to use the Aussy spelling there hehe) in their regular line.

I should mention my most often used support is Art Spectrum paper, and now that there is the new UART to replace my old favorite Ersta, I'll be using it too even thought he Art Spectrum is completely archival and the UART is only pH balanced. If I'm not using a pre-made paper, I'm making my own with the Art Spectrum "goo". The support you use is very much a part of deciding on how soft or hard a pastel you will find most enjoyable to use.

I think you'll have to make you own decision since we aren't going to be the one using them.

Peggy

Donna A
01-04-2008, 03:00 AM
Hi, KOP! Peggy makes a really good point about trying out different brands of colors before investing in a whole set of any of the brands. It's rather like buying shoes. What feels good to one does not fit well at all for another. And the painting surface you work on, as she noted, also plays a big roll in how various pastels work for you---in your own personal style.

Something you might do if you have other pastelist friends near you is to ask to work with some of theirs to get a real feel for the different brads. Otherwise, order a few colors of Senns, GAs and at least several other brands, as well---colors that you would typically use often. If you are not going to be investing in a number of full sets, you may want to shop the market a bit more hands-on.

I have full sets of 20-some pro brands and many colors or several others---and most of them for 10-15-20 years or longer---and I really got to know each brand well---and the differences can be considerable---and luscious, offering different handling and/or visual effects. Each set has it's own 'wonder colors!' Things that no one else offers---and that are boons to many. Each brand has a particular 'feel.'

I hope you can create for yourself an opportunity to get a 'feel' for colors you are considering---and even some you are not right now considering. It can pay off for you wonderfully well. Very best wishes in finding the full set that serves you best! Donna ;-}

KOP
01-04-2008, 11:36 AM
Hi Donna,

You are correct about the painting surface having a big roll in how the finished outcome will be. The thing is, I like working on Canson Mi-Teintes, but I believe that may be a problem with the sennies- there are some sticks of them that I've tried with pigments that don't go down well on this type of low-tooth paper, they're just too hard and have shiney parts in them after being used on it. Has anyone els had that problem with Canson? On a nice sanded paper, there are some good results though. I think you all have pretty much helped me, so thanks, really. It's nice to have all you with more experience than myself here to give wisdom.

:)

PeggyB
01-04-2008, 05:53 PM
Hi Donna,

You are correct about the painting surface having a big roll in how the finished outcome will be. The thing is, I like working on Canson Mi-Teintes, but I believe that may be a problem with the sennies- there are some sticks of them that I've tried with pigments that don't go down well on this type of low-tooth paper, they're just too hard and have shiney parts in them after being used on it. Has anyone els had that problem with Canson? On a nice sanded paper, there are some good results though. I think you all have pretty much helped me, so thanks, really. It's nice to have all you with more experience than myself here to give wisdom.

:)

Ah Ha KOP - the Canson Mi-Teintes can be a problem with any of the extra soft pastels, and both Sennelier and Great American fall into that catagory. Way back when Canson Mi Teintes was one of two papers I used Rembrandt and Grumbacher were the primary pastels easily available to anyone in the US. Both of those brands worked well with the Canson because they were more "medium" soft, and didn't fill the tooth too quickly. I still know of pros who prefer using Canson and Rembrandt, but are beginning to add other medium soft brands to their palette. I think Mt Vision and Art Spectrum would also work better with Canson Mi-Teintes than either Sennelier or Great American, but that's just my 25 + years of painting with pastels experience opinion. :)

Peggy

fio44
01-04-2008, 06:09 PM
I was looking for a large set, I sampled some of these, but I'm still not sure which to get. Will someone help me in deciding?

I'm not sure if "vs" is the right terminology. If you are determined to get a set of pastels, I think being able to see them in person would be ideal. Do you have a store nearby that might offer both brands? Catalogs and computer screens can only offer you so much, seeing them up close, feeling them and their texture would be ideal.

With the plethora of manufacturers out today, you might not want to limit yourself to just two, unless of course you've already narrowed it down to these two. if so, then it really becomes a case of which mfg offers you the colors most in tune with how you see the world.

Like Peggy mentioned in an earlier post, you really need to try them all if possible. There is a deep indigo blue that Sennelier offers that I love, but an orange from GA that I adore too. Of course, lately I've been using a lot of Terry Ludwig pastels which are awesome. I also use a lot of Unison, and if you have seen some of the set-ups others have shown of their studio, then you can see that the answer that truly defines is, you use whatever gets you the result you seek.

I hope this has been helpful somewhat, and wish you the best in your artistic pursuits.

Deborah Secor
01-04-2008, 06:36 PM
If I was working on Canson Mi-Tientes I'd use my Giraults. They fit that paper wonderfully! I agree that you'll find the Sennies and GAs a bit too smooshy (technical term) for use on Canson MT.

Have you tried lightly sanding the surface of the back side to bring up a bit more nap on the Canson? I use 400-grit sandpaper to do it. It fluffs up and holds softer pastels a bit better.

Consider getting a pastel sampler from Dakota or Rochester Fine Art.

Deborah

bluefish
01-05-2008, 12:50 PM
Thought I'd pass something along when I read Peggy's post and I had to smile-

I was visiting my daughter's home yesterday and noticed a pastel painting I painted back in the late 60's/early 70's - It was done on Canson MT and with Rembrandt pastels - it looked as fresh as I had just completed it - I was going to tell you that way back then, not to many artists were working in pastels and only a few papers existed, MT being the most popular, and only a few brands of pastel existed (Peggy named them) - we hear a lot of comments today about the longevity of various materials but here was a painting that is +/- 40 years old and in museum condition and it's been moved around at least a half dozen times. Good luck with your MT - you may want to look at Rembrant or Grumbacher - I still dig them out occasionally!

By the way Peggy, that's 1960's not 1860's:lol:

'bluefish':wave:

chewie
01-05-2008, 02:19 PM
i also agree--your paper makes a huge diff. in the pastels you want. if you use velour, i see those artists tend to use very hard pastels. i think i am 'heavy handed', and when i grab a super softie, wow, i fill tooth in a second! the only time i did ever get along with super softs was when all i used was canson, and then only as a last ditch effort to get something to hold! i then found sanded papers, and sold my schminke set! i now am reaching mostly for spectrums, some unison, and mt. visions. i also use plenty of the fabers that are like nupastels, only more lightfast.

and altho canson is not my fav., i do still keep a few on hand. good grief, harlely brown uses it, i sure can too!

PeggyB
01-05-2008, 03:03 PM
By the way Peggy, that's 1960's not 1860's:lol:

'bluefish':wave:

Well since I was still wet behind the ears in the 1960's I will just have to take you word for this Blue - :lol:

Thank you though for the confirmation that although Canson Mi-teintes isn't "archival" it still has longevity if properly framed and exhibited. Like Chewie, it is no longer a favorite of mine, but I do still sometimes use it, and my students all begin with it for a couple reasons. 1. the price is right 2. they learn not to use too much pastel rather quickly since it doesn't easily hold multiple heavy layers. Usually, once they've learned the layering method they choose to change to a sanded surface. the reason given by most of them is they've come to like the more intense colors of pastels that are softer in nature, and Canson just doesn't hold those pastels as well.

I own a pastel on Strathmore pastel paper that hasn't survived as well as the Canson does. This was painted by another pastel artist in the early 1990s on a mauve colored paper in more of a drawing manner of application of the pastel so there is a lot of the background mauve color showing. I wanted to change the framing when I bought it, and in taking it apart found where ever it had been exhibited prior to the gallery where I bought it, it had to have been exposed to damaging light because under the mat the paper is a darker color of mauve. Needless to say, I framed it archivally under UV protection glass, and in my home it is hung in a hallway that has no direct natural lighting.

Peggy

KOP
01-05-2008, 03:49 PM
Thank you though for the confirmation that although Canson Mi-teintes isn't "archival" it still has longevity if properly framed and exhibited.

PeggyB, you're kidding me! I simply won't use any paper that isn't archival. Are you sure?

What paper is archival, besides Wallis that is?

And to the other poster, yep, vs was exactly right:) It is Latin for versus, (but you knew that) which can mean "as compared to" for one of the definitions, but there are others. I don't supose many people study Latin much anymore:lol:



OHo, PeggyB, I was visiting your website and came across a drawing entitled "Oregon Summer" It's so lovely! Where on earth did you get such a lovely green for the sunlight on the grass? Beautiful! Like neon!

PeggyB
01-05-2008, 05:30 PM
PeggyB, you're kidding me! I simply won't use any paper that isn't archival. Are you sure?

What paper is archival, besides Wallis that is?

And to the other poster, yep, vs was exactly right:) It is Latin for versus, (but you knew that) which can mean "as compared to" for one of the definitions, but there are others. I don't supose many people study Latin much anymore:lol:



OHo, PeggyB, I was visiting your website and came across a drawing entitled "Oregon Summer" It's so lovely! Where on earth did you get such a lovely green for the sunlight on the grass? Beautiful! Like neon!

Oh dear KOP, sorry to tell you, but Canson not only has never been archival (although they now say it is Ph balanced, but that is not archival) - but also most of the colors do fade if not cared for in extremely archival framing. Even if you cover the whole sheet of paper, there are still little specks that aren't truly "covered" - look very carefully at your work and you will always be able to tell what color of paper you used without cheating and looking on the back side.

As for other archival papers, well Art Spectrum comes immediately to mind, and there are others as well. I don't know of any other than watercolor or printmakers paper that aren't sanded that are archival. You probably already know that sometimes they like to make artists think that just because they advertise their products as "pH balanced" we will think that is the best that can be or confuse it as being "archival" - but that isn't so! To be archival, the paper must not only be pH balanced, but also made of 100% rag paper. Therefore, anyone looking for completely archival products need to look for the word "archival" and not just pH balanced. To go along with the archival paper, one needs to look for pastels that are not going to fade! Even then if we are going to be really responsibe for the longevity of our work, we need to frame it in a fully archival manner. I know this to be extremely expensive for most artists, and there is much controversy as to just how much we need to pay for framing and still make it marketable in price... but that's another whole subject in itself! :)

Thank you for your kind words regarding Oregon Summer. That piece was painted plein air using all Unison pastels. It was a very hot summer day that I painted that piece, and the greens of Unison really did capture what I was seeing. It was painted on Art Spectrum paper, and I think it was plain ol' white. The painting is long gone living in another state, and out of my inventory so I can't check on the paper color now it might also have been the ivory color (don't remember the exact name of their "ivory").

Peggy

Donna A
01-06-2008, 02:23 PM
Hi, everyone! I tried uploading this last night, but the WC server was evidently down for a while.
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Archivalness and Lightfastness are such important issues for me and so I must just chime in and say, Peggy---ditto---ditto---ditto! And well put! Although, I'm not so terribly sure that all the archival framing in the world would keep some of the Canson colors from fading. I discovered the fading problem when I began cleaning up my studio after having been terribly ill for several years and finally able to be up and about again and cleaning off the dust layers! :-) Dark Cansons had been stored on 4" high shelf, tucked back a good way from the edge and in shadow---and when I pulled the paper out, the top piece was terribly faded (in the shadow of the shelf for several years though in a bright room) and where just bits of corner of other papers had been protruding from under the navy sheet, those portions were faded as well. In the shade! Well, a couple of years later I reported on this at one of our MidAmerica Pastel Society meetings. John Roush, a marvelous pastel painter whose work you may have come across (gorgeous!), had been using that exclusively and could not believe my comment, so went home and fixed up tests of 12 different colors of canson, covering half of each sheet in heavy black paper, well fitted against the hidden parts of the papers to keep all light out---and then hung it in a south window for a couple of months to expedite any fading---and it was winter, so much less sun! He brought his test results to a meeting two months later---and did a presentation for the whole group. John was shocked how much the papers faded! (any at all was NOT GOOD!) He never painted on it again. He had a big supply of it---and announced that he had now confined his use of Canson to the back of his pastel paintings as his backing paper on the framing---where he didn't have to worry tooo much about it's fading! :-)

Another one of our MAPS members who lives in North Dakota was in Kansas City for the big Plaza Art Fair. She stopped by for a visit. We'd been on the phone the week earlier talking about all manner of things including our art. Paper came up. Canson. It fades. Oh, that's alright. I cover it all up. Hmmm. (is how our conversation went in general.) When she arrived and pulled out some of her gorgeous paintings, Oh---you did that one on wine red! How did you know???? :-) Well, I can see it here and here and here and here...etc. She never used it again, either. And showing her the test panel John had made confirmed it for her. He had given me the test panel since he knows how I'm always sharing info.

And I could go on and on about a few of the pigments that are not lightfast but often used by some pastel makers. But---it's late and a busy day manana!

I love the Colourfix papers and boards and primers, both the original and the SuperTooth. And they offer so many alternatives, flexibilities, ways-out-of-corners, 20 colors, size options and more. Love the texture and love that I can sand it down for a suede-ier surface if I want. And that it does not 'eat up' my pastels as some complain of some sanded papers. Wallis has a great surface and it's a favorite of many. And these sandeds can just let the pigment glow even more than other papers! However, I did begin my earliest pastels on 100% rag etching papers, such as Rives BFK. But---even though I have reams of gorgeous rag etching papers still, years after my years of making etchings, I let it sit most all the time and use the Colourfix. And I have a gorgeous 47" roll of Wallis Museum in the studio closet. Poor dear, has been there for years. It's lovely, but I just love the Cfix. Both are wonderful surfaces! We just have to experiment and find what we like best!

Well, great words of wisdom, Peggy!

And KOP, I am so glad you are looking deeper into the choices you have open to you! You are taking such good care of your self and your art in doing so! Very best wishes in finding just THE most satisfying and perfect materials to serve you and your painting style and posterity! Take good care! Donna ;-}