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BANfear
01-19-2010, 04:52 AM
What do you prefer... getting full/specific sets, or simply purchasing pastels one colour at a time?

Also, speaking of full sets... which one do you have and/or prefer?


-Joelle

Colorix
01-19-2010, 07:19 AM
Open stock, absolutely. In full sets, there are too many near identical tints, or shades, especially of the values one rarely uses... LOL!

Got a bargain for a full set of Richeson's softer hard squares (with near identical too many yellows). First, I didn't like them at all, as their stickability to paper is low, and fall-off of dust is high. Until I discovered that they are superior for glazing, feathering, and really go on top of most stuff, increasing the ability to 'play' with a painting.

I've got a 72 set of Unisons, as it only had a few sticks I didn't want, and even with that it was cheaper than open stock. Then I added the Special set, the Orange set, and the Dark Jewels set. Got some near duplicates that way, but it was worth it. The rest are handpicked, so I guess I have a 70% of a full set. I love the Unisons. Very good for almost everything.

And a full set of Rembrandt, the only local brand. It all begun with a portrait set 20 years ago (before I really got into pastels), and then I added onto it (back when I had daytime job and actually earned money...) Again, I have too many identical or near identical tints. The lightest pure orange isn't any different from the lighest ochre (and about 5 other pigments), so I'd *need* only one stick instead of 6.

All these extra identicals will last me a lifetime.

But, it takes good knowledge and experience to know which colours one actually uses, and one doesn't have it when starting out.

allydoodle
01-19-2010, 10:33 AM
I think Charlie hit the nail on the head when she said "it takes good knowledge and experience to know which colours one actually uses, and one doesn't have it when starting out".

Way back when, as a beginner, I purchased sets according first to my subject matter (landscape or portrait). At one time early on, I was lucky enough to come across a local store that was closing out Quentin de La Tour (known as Girault now) for 50 cents a stick! I purchased each color they had, which was probably 300. Quite a find! They are still my favorite brand.

Unison was my next big purchase, I I love them and agree with Charlie that they are very good for just about everything. As I amassed my pastel collection (I know you all can relate!), I started to add open stock colors as they appealed to me, in the brands I most liked (usually Unison). If I did buy a set, I tried to make sure I wasn't purchasing duplicate colors. The last set I purchased was Art Spectrum Pure Pigments, and they are really nice. People say they are similar to Rembrants, but I don't think so. Somehow, I like them much more. Rembrandts are not one of my favorites, and I do not have too many of them.

My current pastel collection consists of:

300+ various Giraults
8 Unison Shadow Collection
18 Unison Special Collection
18 Unison Darks
36 Unison Landscape
36 Unison Portrait
36 Unison Starter
80 Unison Open Stock
40 Sennelier Assorted half sticks
60 ASW Pure Pigments
36 Daler Rowney Landscape
30 Schminke General Use
25 Open stock Schminke (Reds and Blues)
60 General Selection half stick Rembrants
70+ Open Stock Rembrants (assorted colors)
90 Derwent Pastel Pencils
60 Carb Othello Pastel Pencils
20 Pan Pastel Shades
20 Pan Pastel Pure Colors

So..... right now, my next contemplation of purchase is Mount Visions. I think I will probably buy the 50 piece Landscape set, as well as some open stock. When adding a completely new brand, I find that the colors are often times quite different from what you currently have. That is what happened with the Art Spectrum Pure Pigments set - there were not many duplicates.

Any way you look at it, this is way too much fun!

Studio-1-F
01-19-2010, 10:37 AM
I started out with two partial sets, the excellent Great American '60 Half Stick Set' (sometimes billed as a landscape set or an "outdoor" set) and the um well, less-than-excellent variable-quality Sennelier '80 Half-Sticks Set'. (I have an idea of what Sennelier uses to make these, but it's just a guess on my part.) Then I filled in the blanks from open stock.

That being said, some of the specialized sets can be a real convenience - a good short-cut to filling out your collection. For instance I use the colors in these three sets all the time:
== Terry Ludwig 30 True Lights (http://terryludwig.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TLP&Product_Code=LT001&Category_Code=Lights)
== Terry Ludwig 30 Intense Darks II (http://terryludwig.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TLP&Product_Code=D002&Category_Code=Dark)
== Mt Vision Thunderstorm Greys (http://www.mountvisionpastels.com/thunderstorm%20greys.htm)

If you are just starting to get your feet wet, I very much recommend the Great American Half Stick set (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/CategoryID/18306/List/1/Level/a/ProductID/27234/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost). Excellent quality, good useful colors.

As to your question 'speaking of full sets... which one do you have and/or prefer?' -- the only two "full sets" -- that is a full complete set of EVERY color that the brand offers -- of any pastels I ever bought were the Polychromos hard pastels and the Panpastels. These are workhorse sets.

The one that I WANT, on the other hand, is the Henri Roche full set. Just a mere 9 grand. (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/CategoryID/6760/List/1/Level/a/ProductID/16445/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost). Can you imagine owning such a thing? [shaking head] What on earth would you paint with them? What would be worthy?:rolleyes:

Jan

BANfear
01-19-2010, 11:36 AM
Thank you everyone for your replies! Keep them coming! You are helping me out, probably without even knowing it. :)

I asked this question because I've been wanting to reward myself for the hard work I've done at school and at work, and I was willing to spend 500-800$ on pastels. I've always wanted to buy a full set, but I'm not 100% sure if it's the best choice. It's just that it ends up being less expensive in the end, rather than purchasing the sticks seperately, and that really attracts me to buying a full set.. but I'm still not sure. lol

I was thinking about purchasing the Mount Vision's full set, since it isn't too expensive, and I've heard great things about the MV's. Also, the fact that I like to work on both landscapes and portraits doesn't really help me break down what would be the most convenient for me..

I honestly think that I'm addicted to pastels.. because I have about 700 pastels and I'm still only 17 years old.. yet I still want more!! :p


-Joelle

Phil Bates
01-19-2010, 11:44 AM
I like lots of choices so I prefer full sets. Instead of seeing too many identical colors like Charlie, I see too many gaps, so I purchase several full sets and blend them in my box (which is large...). The few duplicate colors are not a problem and certainly not worth micro-managing with open stock.

The only time I have found too many redundant colors is the portrait reddish and flesh tones in the Girault set. However, if I did portraits I'd want all those choices.

My box contains full sets of Girault, FaberCastel, Creatacolor, and Schminke, plus most of the Unisons and a smattering of most other brands.

Phil

robertsloan2
01-19-2010, 01:12 PM
Joelle, Mount Visions sound like a good choice for a full set. That'd leave enough budget if you went to $800 to also get a few Schminke whites and some hard pastels like the Polychromos or Richeson set. I bought the 120 color Richeson set but am thinking of adding some more later on because it seemed short on very light blue and green tints, but I'm always doing skies and need those light blues at the horizon.

I noticed one thing about the Richesons, especially in the yellows where I first realized it. Because the sticks are pressed or lacquered in some way, the outside of the stick doesn't always match the color of the mark. Some of the yellows were lighter than I thought they were. It'll take some practice using those to get used to exactly which color to reach for.

I've been going for sets all along because it's cheaper per stick. I found out in colored pencils that there were no colors I didn't use. Just colors I use in large areas versus colors I use up slower. But it depends on what I'm doing -- if Mount Vision did a Chromatic Tints and a Chromatic Darks set then I'd be happy with just those for doing Colourist stuff.

I love my MV Chromatic 25 set. Because one of the greens was out of stock, the owner substituted one of the new greens that was even brighter.

I lean toward sets partly because of space considerations. At different stages of a painting I'll use different pastels, so I'll set out those boxes and have the one I'm using open. Then close that and open the softer box. Then close that and open the Sennelier 80 half stick box.

I bought the Art Spectrum Pure Tones set on clearance, may have gotten one of the last of the 60 color Pure Tones sets. It's incredible. I did compare it to Rembrandts all along but AS has a wonderful texture. It's an all around great pastel in the medium-soft range.

If I had it to do over again I might not have gotten the 80 color Sennelier half sticks. They do vary a bit in hardness and I got them to be super-softs, also they don't have anything between an orangy red and a magenta in that set. So I'm lacking the strong clean red only slightly purplish that I'm used to having in student sets!

That may not be a big deal for some things but I'm into doing florals as well as landscapes. Combining orange and magenta doesn't get that red.

I used to want the 525 color Sennelier wood box full range set. Now if I ever manage to save up that much, I might go for something else or two something elses. 154 full range Art Spectrum set because some intermediate tints of those would be great and there are some nice mixed colors too. That's in reach if I hold off for a month before ordering it. The other would be the full range of Mount Visions.

But one reason I'm waiting before deciding is that I haven't tried Unison at all yet. Charlie swears by them and I'm learning her methods and love them. I'm tempted by Maggie Price Values set in Terry Ludwig. It's too bad the Huechroval book is no longer available as that would've helped me a lot.

I think the next step for me is to get a Heilman box and break off pieces of all the sticks I have to keep everything in one place, let the stacks of sets stay on the shelf. I bought a few open stock but rarely use them because the drawer they're in gets things stacked in front of it.

I have these sets:

Pan Pastels full range: 20 Painters, 20 Tints, 20 Shades, 20 Extra Dark Shades and one Chromium Oxide Green bought separately because it wasn't in 20 Painters.

Yarka 180 stick full range set, no longer carried at Blick, it was under $100 at the time and I really wanted a full range set. It has duplicates of most used colors including some nice sky blues and ochres and white. Yarka texture is a lot like Rembrandts. I was very frustrated by the range, it lacked strong reds, yellows, oranges, greens and violets.

60 antique Rembrandts, gift from John Houle who got it from an oil painter friend who tried the medium and didn't like it. John didn't like the medium either and was happy to pass it on to someone who uses it.

80 half stick Senneliers general set

60 Art Spectrum Pure Tones, love them.

25 Mount Vision Chromatic set with one substitute super green

120 Richeson hard pastels

72 Cretacolor pastel pencils.

36 Mont Marte student grade pastels, which I'll probably use for sidewalk sketching when I get a chance to get out and do that again. I have better ideas now for painting on pavement than I did when I lived in New Orleans and did it before. Did anyone else see Mary Poppins as a little kid and think that sidewalk painting scene was the highlight of the film?

Plus three Senneliers and a Terry Ludwig from open stock. If I had more open stock I might come up with a better way to keep them handy.

Greens sampler from Dakota which I'm going to use and test thoroughly before buying many more pastels. I've got some in hard, some in medium, some in super soft. I'd really like to try Schminke and am tempted to get that 10+1 small set in a tin, since that might be handy for taking out into the yard or going plein air on the mountain.

chuas2
01-19-2010, 01:54 PM
Joelle, check out my post a couple rows down "most usable set." There's a lot of good information in that post, as I was asking pretty much the same question.

BTW, you exhibit all the signs of being addicted to pastels, but it is a good addition (if potentially quite costly).

Also, I ended up with two small sets of Art Spectrum and Girault, and open stock Terry Ludwigs. This was to supplement my mostly open stock Senneliers and Schminckes. Woo hoo!! The only ones I'm not crazy about are Rembrandts, which sometimes feel waxy and not as pigment rich.

Oh yeah, and I ordered the greens sampler from Dakota 'cause I'm a newbie too!

Ok Jan, I HAD to have a look at the $9,000 Roche set. So how much of that do you think is for the polished rosewood cabinet? I'm laughing too....mostly in pain.

robertsloan2
01-19-2010, 06:33 PM
Yeah, Jan. I'll probably get tempted by that if I ever get a bestseller ala Stephen King's scale of royalties. That'd be awesome -- but I'd need to become Stephen King's peer to even think of affording it. I'd also need a bigger house with an actual studio and not just keep all my art supplies in my room.

Fun to look at that and dream.

I'd probably wind up with something like Paula Ford's collection if I had that much space available...

Art supplies do pay for themselves though. Someone who's getting a thousand a painting would only have to sell nine of them to make the Roche set pay for itself. Though I don't know if doing ninety paintings would start to leave that set pretty snaggly with used-up colors.

Studio-1-F
01-19-2010, 06:54 PM
Ok Jan, I HAD to have a look at the $9,000 Roche set. So how much of that do you think is for the polished rosewood cabinet? I'm laughing too....mostly in pain.
I dunno! If you bought from open stock the Roche sticks are about 22 dollars each. In that 567-piece set, they are about 16 bucks each. So I guess they throw in the polished rosewood cabinet for free. You know, as a bonus. Too bad they can't throw in an all-expenses-paid round trip for two to Paris as well. For heaven's sake, they ought to!

I wonder how may of those 567-piece sets they sell each year. Probably more than we guess.:rolleyes:

Jan

chuas2
01-19-2010, 07:10 PM
I dunno! If you bought from open stock the Roche sticks are about 22 dollars each. In that 567-piece set, they are about 16 bucks each. So I guess they throw in the polished rosewood cabinet for free.
Jan

Seriously, the next time I order from there I'm going to ask how many they sell, and how many people buy it just for the polished rosewood cabinet (and throw away the pastels).

Deborah Secor
01-20-2010, 01:26 AM
Well, c'mon you saavy shoppers--over at Rochester Fine Art you can get the full set of Roche's for only 8600 bucks (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/CategoryID/6760/List/1/Level/a/ProductID/18404/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost)if you act fast! :wink2:

Deborah

robertsloan2
01-20-2010, 07:35 AM
I dunno! If you bought from open stock the Roche sticks are about 22 dollars each. In that 567-piece set, they are about 16 bucks each. So I guess they throw in the polished rosewood cabinet for free. You know, as a bonus. Too bad they can't throw in an all-expenses-paid round trip for two to Paris as well. For heaven's sake, they ought to!

I wonder how may of those 567-piece sets they sell each year. Probably more than we guess.:rolleyes:

Jan

$22 a stick? Yeah, that makes sense they'd throw in a nice polished rosewood cabinet for free. I'm stunned.

I wonder what those handle like now. Has anyone actually used these?

Checked your link, Deborah, that's the difference between the set with the polished custom wooden drawer or without. So the cabinet is $300 or so and the pastels are $8,600 -- and that is a good price if they're $22 a stick.

I'm drooling at the 12 color sets, the Vibrant Colors chromatic one and the Darks look wonderful.

I like the photos on their site too, it shows how bright some of the colors are on some brands that I've surfed on other sites.

Colorix
01-20-2010, 08:11 AM
Henri Roché supplied Edgar Degas with pastels... So I guess the worthy painting would be a Ballerina!

Actually, someone here on WC paints with them. Who is it?

It is really hard to believe they are *that* much better. After all, it is the same pigments everywhere, and the rest is just a question of quality/purity of pigments, and fillers and binders. I may be wrong, of course, and when I'm rich and famous, I'll use them too!

:-)

Charlie

Studio-1-F
01-20-2010, 10:10 AM
Henri Roché supplied Edgar Degas with pastels... So I guess the worthy painting would be a Ballerina!

Actually, someone here on WC paints with them. Who is it?

It is really hard to believe they are *that* much better. After all, it is the same pigments everywhere, and the rest is just a question of quality/purity of pigments, and fillers and binders. I may be wrong, of course, and when I'm rich and famous, I'll use them too! :-) Charlie
This person, Kathryn Bevier, (http://homepage.mac.com/kbevier/PhotoAlbum10.html) has a 'signature' set (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/6761/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost) of Roche on the Rochester store site. Wait! No ballerinas. Hmmm! Some pretty good pears, though. ;)

Jan

Ruthie57
01-20-2010, 11:48 AM
Funny this should come up as I was looking on the net for a full set of Unisons yesterday (well I can dream) and found the Henry Roche pastels which I'd never heard of before.
They are like oil paints in that they come in 3 series. Series 1 starts at £8.50 per stick and series 3 is over £22!!
T'would be nice to try them to see if they were as superior to the others as their price indicates. But I'm steering clear. What if I fall in love with them and nothing else will do? Can't risk that!

chuas2
01-20-2010, 01:00 PM
This person, Kathryn Bevier, (http://homepage.mac.com/kbevier/PhotoAlbum10.html) has a 'signature' set (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/6761/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost) of Roche on the Rochester store site. Wait! No ballerinas. Hmmm! Some pretty good pears, though. ;)

Jan

Some pretty nice stuff there. However, I'm reasonably sure that had I painted those subjects with $22 a stick Roche pastels, the pictures wouldn't look like that. I think (and I was thinking about this in the shower this morning lol) the polished rosewood cabinet is to help prevent "buyer's remorse." Just like I've heard when you buy a Rolls Royce you get "free" floor mats. Something like that...

DAK723
01-20-2010, 08:31 PM
I usually recommend open stock compared to sets because there are usually a fairly high number of pastels in a set that I never use.

On the other hand, specific sets (landscape, portrait) usually have far less of those never used colors.

Open stock is always better if you can go to the store and see them. Buying online, I might tend to lean towards the sets because I am never sure of the exact color when seeing little color swatches on the monitor.

Sometimes having a set will encourage you to use a color that you normally would never have thought of, too.

So there is my wishy-washy reply!

I appear to be a real simpleton when it comes to the number of pastels I have. I can't believe, Joelle, that you already have 700!

My collection includes about 105 Giraults, 60 Mt. Visions, 15 Rembrandts, the 80 1/2 stick Sennelier set, a handful of old Grumbachers, W&Ns and Daler Rowneys, another 15-20 full-size Senneliers, and the Roche portrait set of 12. Speaking of the Roche...

As mentioned, I bought the portrait set of 12 a couple years ago (for $150). I think most of the folks here would not like them at all. They are the hardest soft pastels in my collection. Now, I only have 12, so perhaps other color families are softer. So, if you like layering, love that soft buttery feel of a Schminke or Sennelier, the Roches are definitely not for you. And priced between 14.99 and 21.99 (approximately), they would probably get eaten up at a very expensive rate on sanded papers!!

So, you are probably better off buying between 6 to 8 Mt. Visions or any other of your favorite brand for every one Roche purchased!

Don

Colorix
01-21-2010, 05:14 AM
Don, thank you for letting us know the Roché pastels are hard-ish.

rankamateur1
01-21-2010, 08:52 AM
I can't remember where I read this, but I vaguely remember that the Roche pastels have grit in them to help them bind to the paper. I also vaguely remember that one of the types of Diane Townsend pastels (terrages?) emulated that texture. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Luana

saramathewson
01-21-2010, 11:52 AM
Yes Luana you are right. Wolf Kahn (famous landscape painter) asked Dianne Townsend to make a pastel similar to the roche pastels that would grab the surface and "plow into it" to be able to use several layers on regular paper. (Or something like that.)
Someone here on wetcanvas said that Mount Visions also have pumice in them. Is this true as well?

Sara

BANfear
01-25-2010, 07:30 PM
Thank you so much everyone! :)
I ended up purchasing the full set of Mount Visions and a few white Schminckes.

SunFace
01-25-2010, 07:58 PM
I buy the sets because they are more cost effective. If I owuld do pastels for a living I believe Colorfix is right, open stock would be better.

JPQ
01-25-2010, 09:14 PM
I buy the sets because they are more cost effective. If I owuld do pastels for a living I believe Colorfix is right, open stock would be better.

To me problem is there is no such these things my manufacturers:
Flower set landscape sets are almost suitable but too few reds for example.(often one clearly red colour)
Modern art which is set which strong (like faber-castell sea green in coloured pencils) and/or bright colours. i defined this set now.

ps. and sets are very rare artits quality stuff in finland. At least for aquarelle,and colourpencils and pastels.
and i mean shops rarely seen and if seen not all sizes available.

Dougwas
01-25-2010, 09:43 PM
Enjoy your new pastels, Joelle. I would love to own a full set of MV pastels.

Doug

WC Lee
01-26-2010, 04:45 AM
Good choice, Joelle, you going to love them :) I got a full set of MVs last month (my gift to myself :D). Now you need a nice big, and I mean BIG, pastel box to put them in :D

Kathryn Wilson
01-26-2010, 10:50 AM
I also have a full set of Mount Visions and wish I had done it right away, instead of buying sticks here and there and never finding the colors I really needed.

If you buy a full set of any pastel manufacturer, then you can fill in with colors they don't provide - and some of them would be more than glad to try out new colors upon request. I believe Mount Vision and Ludwig will do that.

Congrats on your full set purchase of MV's Banfear - now we want to see what you do with them!

BANfear
02-13-2010, 01:26 AM
They finally arrived at my door today!!! :clap:
The colors are soo beautiful and I cannot wait until I experience with them. I don't have a lot of time lately, due to school, but I hope to still be able to fit in a few sketches and paintings here and there.

For now though, my issue is still to find a way to place them. My studio is currently in my basement. I usually use a flat surface to paint, while my pastels are stored in a kind of transparent drawer on wheels. But there is no more room in my drawers for these new pastels... and I want to be able to see them all.. so I'm a bit lost for the moment. :confused:

robertsloan2
02-13-2010, 03:30 PM
Those sound so wonderful, Ban! I can see how storing them is a problem though. Dakota has those pastel trays with screen under them to let the dust go through, but using those would need a good sized table to lay them out. I know that feeling of wanting to see them all too.

Maybe a hardware store would have something like a tool chest with drawers that'd work for them. I saw that in another thread, a nice wooden one. But even a metal one might work if the drawers are shallow, there are lots of them and you can move the foam from the cardboard boxes into the drawers. That's probably what I'll do when I get the full set.

Donna Aldridge has directions for making trays for Pan Pastels out of foam board in the "Having a Ball with Pan Pastels" thread. Maybe if you laid out the foam innards of the separate 25 color boxes together to get the dimensions for two or three of them, then made shallow foam core trays with duct tape holding them together that'd work. The lids could just be another piece of foam core taped on to flip back so that they're covered when you're not using them.

If the sides are the right depth for just the foam and pastels and then you strap them together, it might even work to make a plein air box. Donna uses hers for plein air.

Nansketch
02-13-2010, 07:40 PM
Ban,

thanks for asking this question -- what a great thread, loads of info. I two have been thinking of adding to my collection. I've noticed other artists use only a portion of the sticks that they have -- so, it does sound tempting to try open stock. On the other hand, knowing what colors to buy --

Anyway thanks for asking the question.
Nancy

jmp
02-13-2010, 09:48 PM
I go for both open and sets. Right now I have a spare couple of hundred and I am thinking of either Terri Ludwig or Great American sets - I just can't decide! I definitely want a gray set, which both have, and I want the Ludwig 60 Plein Air set ...but then I love some of the GA sets too....what to do, what to do....

If I lived near an art store that sold open stock, I would probably be more likely to pick and choose that way, but ordering online it is just easier to buy kits geared towards my color choices.

Anyone have any advice about Ludwig vs GA?

CalArtist
03-01-2010, 02:03 AM
You know, I don't mind when I see some dust falling from my painting as I stroke across the paper. But if I used the Henri Roche pastels, I'd probably be calculating the cost of that dust falling on the floor. I mean talk about making sure each stroke counts...