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johnmk
09-05-2008, 03:44 PM
Hello All,
I have many Rembrandt pastels, which I like very much, but also a few Winsor Newtons. To me, they seem softer, and the price is about the same (they are a few cents more). I am thinking of rounding out my color palette with WNs instead of Rembrandt. Does anyone have any opinions of this brand?

No, I haven't tried anything softer, Unison, Schmincke, etc. but I did find the WNs layer on top of each other nicer than the Rembrandts.
Thanks!
johnk.

Colorix
09-05-2008, 04:40 PM
Hi John, I don't think we've 'met', so Welcome to the Pastel forum!

My 'workhorse' is Rembrandt, and I've tried W&N. As you say, they are softer, and more 'layerable'. I don't use them, as the intensity of pigments is a tad weaker than I prefer. I prefer Unisons, which I perceive to be of roughly the same softness, but way more rich in pigment, and therefore in colour. So it is purely a personal preference. W&N is a quality brand, so if you like them, go for them.

An idea: Dakota Pastels sell sampler sets of pastels (and of pastel papers too), where you can try many brands for little money, and find your favourite.

Charlie

johnmk
09-05-2008, 11:08 PM
Thank you Charlie!

Yes, I get the feel with the WNs of floating them over previous layers of Rembrandts and laying down a good amount of color, making me think that my Rembrandts are going to be used more for underpainting, provided I (can afford to) sample my way around and find a softer brand I also like. Thanks for the advice. I also like the look of the Sennelier landscape half stick sets I see around....

BTW I primarily paint, so I haven't posted here much (at all?), but love to read this forum. Glad to have met you as well!

johnk.

chewie
09-06-2008, 01:05 AM
welcome!

the senn half sets are great, they don't seem as crumbly as the full sized sticks. but, do try some art spectrums, with the brands you are mentioning i am betting you'd like them alot. i do, they are softer but similar to rembt. but iwth more color punch. some of my w/n had little rocks in them, so i avoid them except the palest colors, those are nice. but spectrums are well worth the money IMHO and fit the type you seem drawn to. (pun intended ;))

johnmk
09-06-2008, 06:49 PM
Hi And thanks for that advice too!

I am relieved to hear about the Sennelier halves being "sturdier" than full sticks, because I read a lot about a love-hate thing with them (love the color, hate the fragility issues). I had been thinking of the 80 half plein air set. I just don't know what would be left if a half stick splintered on me!

On the other hand there is the Unison 18 landscape set, and something similar by Terry Ludwig (30 in that set). Now I will look at Art Spectrum again. They sound like the softness of my WNs but stronger colors, just what I am looking for.

If anyone has an especial preference for any of those other brands, feel free to post it :-)

Thanks,

johnk.

fio44
09-06-2008, 07:19 PM
Hi John,

I too am from Massachusetts, though on the other side.

As you experiment and progress you'll find all kinds of techniques and which pastels serve your style best. I was introduced to the medium with Rembrandts and Grumbacher pastels, and now play with most of the major brands. I use Winsor Newton quite a bit for my sky and water work; I find the colors they offer work well with the toned paper I tend to use, offering a good base upon which I will layer softer, and harder pastels depending on the effect I am seeking.

Best of luck and keep painting.

Maggie P
09-06-2008, 09:13 PM
Hi And thanks for that advice too!

I am relieved to hear about the Sennelier halves being "sturdier" than full sticks, because I read a lot about a love-hate thing with them (love the color, hate the fragility issues). I had been thinking of the 80 half plein air set. I just don't know what would be left if a half stick splintered on me!

On the other hand there is the Unison 18 landscape set, and something similar by Terry Ludwig (30 in that set). Now I will look at Art Spectrum again. They sound like the softness of my WNs but stronger colors, just what I am looking for.

If anyone has an especial preference for any of those other brands, feel free to post it :-)

Thanks,

johnk.

Those Sennelier half sticks are great! One of my students at a recent workshop had the set and it was a good assortment of colors. They really don't break easily.

I love some things about most brands of pastels--texture, size, certain colors--but my all-time favorites are Ludwig, Unison and Girault. Each is a little different. Ludwig is a wonderful square fat shape, beautiful rich colors, excellent darks. Unison's colors are pure and clear, never muddy or "chalky." I do wish their hand-rolled sticks didn't taper at the ends but solve that problem by taking the wrappers off and breaking them in half. And Girault is a versatile pastel...not too hard, not too soft, dense coverage without dropping much dust. I believe you'd be happy with any (or all!) of these.

wakar
09-06-2008, 10:25 PM
Hi John,

I've only been doing pastels for a couple of months and one of the sets I got early on was the Sennelier 80 half sticks. So far they've held up well. I had them mailed to me and only one was too broken to use so they stood up to the mail service!

Wakar

learning to paint
09-07-2008, 01:47 AM
John:

Winsor Newton pastels vary in hardness; the line is pretty inconsistent. Some are so hard they'll rip your paper, and some are soft enough to layer. They're not mentioned in "best pastel" lists as often as some other brands, but they are widely available because WN is owned and distributed by a relatively large company (most other brands are not).

You owe it to yourself to experiment with Art Spectrum, Sennelier, Schmincke, Girault, Unison, Mount Vision, Terry Ludwig, Diane Townsend, etc. There are a lot of high quality brands out there, and you may enjoy working with them.

Two good sources for these brands, and for sampler selections, are Dakota Pastels and Rochester Art Supply (Fine Art Store). You'll find both with a web search. Both are very good about answering questions, too.

WC Lee
09-07-2008, 02:31 AM
While there are some W&Ns in my collection, I tend to reach for everything else except those. They aren't too bad but for roughly the same price, I would rather invest in Art Spectrum and/or Mount Vision. The Sennelier 80 half stick regular or plein air set are also good deals. The other brands are great too :) well the ones I tried anyhow; Unisons, Ludwig, and Great American,

CJMonty
09-07-2008, 06:52 AM
John,

I tend to use my Rembrants as my base painting and use W&N and AS for layering, I also use the Schminke for finishing off and I love all 4 of them. I also really really love Terry Ludwigs, but not too many of the American pastels are available here. We have only just managed to get Unisons.

Enjoy whatever you decide.
Love Carolynn :) :) :heart: :heart:

johnmk
09-07-2008, 04:37 PM
John,

I tend to use my Rembrants as my base painting and use W&N and AS for layering, I also use the Schminke for finishing off and I love all 4 of them. I also really really love Terry Ludwigs, but not too many of the American pastels are available here. We have only just managed to get Unisons.

Enjoy whatever you decide.
Love Carolynn :) :) :heart: :heart:

Thank you all, you have been incredibly helpful. There are certain online sales which end tonight; I should have decided (and ordered) by then. I'll let you know what I did!

johnk.

johnmk
09-08-2008, 03:42 PM
I ordered the Sennelier plein air set of 80 half sticks. It was a tough choice, and the one I almost went with was a Terry Ludwig set of 30 (landscape). The online image of the pastels looked like a landscape unto itself Just a perfect selection! However, I think I found all those colors in the senns, pus 50 more, and a promotion of another six (dark shades) to boot. I couldn't walk away from that! Next ones I try, I think, will be Ludwigs, though.

Thanks again, Hope the Senneliers don't arrive all crushed :-)
johnk.

Llio
10-29-2008, 09:14 AM
Hi, just joined this forum having taken up painting with pastels again after about 15 years...! Forgot how much fun they are to work with,.

I currently have a set of WN colours which, like some of you, I have found to be rather inconsistent in application, but they do layer reasonably well - up to 5 layers. I have just had a few Sennelier colours arrive though and while more expensive, they seem to be thicker and softer and fill the tooth of the paper quicker than the WN. The only problem I had was when ordering online - I thought I was getting a nice dark intense blue and it turned out to be sky blue :( They did all arrive in one piece though. I favour "greyed-out" colours with only a few accents of brighter colours, so the two brands should satisfy me perfectly

I bought some Derwent pencils to use with the pastels and found them very difficult, had to really scrub at the paper with them :envy:

Donna A
10-30-2008, 03:46 AM
Hi! I do remember, with a grin, upon having heard about the W/N brand being introduced to the market years ago, asking someone at a major NYC art store what 'the word was" on the new W/N pastels. She hesitated a bit---then said, "They are not what the pastel painter is looking for." LOL! That still rings in my ears. It was such a lovely way of putting it.

Now, being an experimenter, several years later, I did invest in a full set of W/N to see what they were like (an IAPS convention and they were at a reasonable price, it seemed.) Right---I have used them only a little---but one nice thing about them I did find was that they were so much lower in intensity, in general, that---when I wanted---they could give a great mellow effect with ease.

I have about 4700 different sticks---25 different pro brands---and the W/N do definitely seem much 'mellower.' I use the Art Spectrums for about 75% to 80% of my work---with all those other brands within arm's reach. Have not touched the Rembrandts (every color they every made) in sooo many years (well, since I found the AS's) and well---all the very lovely full sets I have---poor darlings. I feel kinda sorry for them. They just sit there. But they are pretty sitting there. :-) And I've been having so much fun with the PanPastel, too---so....

But, give or take a fading pigment used here and there---all of our colors are so marvelous---so what is most important is to find the brands that satisfy us best and serve us best. They allllll have marvelous possibilities. I am a fan of experimenting! If you come across some colors, a brand, that you've invested in and don't want to use any more---it's OK. Yes---$$$ sitting there---but we've bought clothes, etc. and even some food that has just set there and then needed to be tossed. What we learn is also valuable. The W/N can be marvelous for the artists who love painting a bit more low intensity. Actually, most of our world is medium to lower intensity. Still---so many of us do relish the brilliance of full intensity! It's all out there for us. And softness, med-soft and harder---all of these variations can serve. We need to try them---over some time---and find 'what shoe fits best.'

As long as a color is truly LIGHTFAST, we can make some delicious art with it that lasts! Enjoy! Enjoy! Very best wishes! Donna ;-}