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View Full Version : Need help choosing new pastels!


jmp
02-14-2010, 12:26 PM
Someone help me decide! I have about $200 to spend and would like to get some new pastels. I sort of have it narrowed down to Grt American Artworks Big Box of Greys, or Terri Ludwigs 60 Plein Air, or Terri Ludwigs Mid Atlantic set, put together by Cape May artist Stan Sperlak....

Due to previous purchases of general sets by Sennelier, Schminke, W&N, Rembrandt, Webers, etc, I already have a huge amount of bright and barely used colors, since I don't paint flowers, portraits, or sunsets. I think my selection is lacking in muted, colorful grays.

What about performance? Do any of you have experience with the above sets? Does anyone have additional sugggestions for other brands?

I noticed that Dick Blick has pastels now, just called Blick Pastels. Nice color selection, and great price. They have them listed as artists quality. Anyone use them? Also, what about these Koh-I-Noor Torson D'or Soft Pastels? I saw them at ACMoore, and they are also listed as an artist quality. They seem pretty decent, and again, not too expensive.

Thanks for any help you all can offer, it has been a while since I could purchase any new pastels, so I want to make the right choice. The Stan Sperlak midatlantic ludwig set can be seen at stansperlak.com, just click on "store"....

DAK723
02-14-2010, 02:37 PM
If you have many sets already and are lacking grays, then I would look more specifically at sets of grays and neutrals, such as the Great American that you mentioned.

Ludwig has their essential grays, which seem quite popular with the folks here, and I also see a set of neutral greens here:

http://terryludwig.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=TLP&Category_Code=All

Mt. Vision has a nice set of grays - their Thunderstorm Gray set:

http://www.mountvisionpastels.com/sets.htm

Don

Studio-1-F
02-14-2010, 03:18 PM
I think my selection is lacking in muted, colorful grays. . . . Does anyone have additional sugggestions for other brands?
I also cast a vote for the MV Thunderstorm Set. Excellent stuff.

Girault also makes a 25 Grey Set (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/5710/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost) and a 50 Grey Set (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/18279/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost) that you might want to consider. See below.

Jan

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http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Feb-2010/12504-girault.jpg

doe
02-14-2010, 03:20 PM
I can vouch for the Ludwig plein air set (put together by Deborah Paris) they are a muted set, good for tonalist painting and the color selection is good enough to just go out to paint with just this set. Love the creaminess of the Ludwigs.

chuas2
02-14-2010, 03:20 PM
Hi there! I had the same problem a few months ago. Lots of beautiful brights, most of them unused.

I love my set of Girault greys (image above), but I also like the Ludwig greys that I purchased from open stock.

I put out a bit of $$ to get the handmade color charts from Dakota, which I highly recommend if they fit in your budget. That way you can flip through the sheets and really get the colors you want and need!

Have fun!
Chuas

Lynndidj
02-14-2010, 03:32 PM
I vote for the Giraults as they are so flexible - you can use them at any point during the painting. I also love the Ludwigs and have the Maggie Price Essential grays. There are 5 gray tones there in I think 5 or 6 values. They really are very close in value and I think if it would save you money, you could pick the darkest value, a medium value and the light value of each color in that set and still have what you need. Mine were a Christmas gift so I didn't have that choice. Lots of folks recommend the thunderstorm grays from Mount Vision - I don't use that brand personally and so I can't recommend them to you. Happy Shopping!!!

Lynn

Paula Ford
02-14-2010, 04:09 PM
My vote goes to Mount Vision Thunderstorm Grays or Terry Ludwigs.

Scottyarthur
02-14-2010, 04:21 PM
I use Shcmenckes and Ludwigs, so my vote is for the Ludwigs, his colors are great and work so wonderfully. Can't go wrong with them IMO

Lynndidj
02-14-2010, 10:36 PM
I was just on the Dakota website and they have a special deal on a set of 90 Schminkes for $249 - regularly $499!!! They don't list the colors, but I'm sure if you called them you could ask. Just thought I would let you know since you are looking to spend that money!

Lynn

Blick Art Materials
02-15-2010, 04:32 PM
Hello,
We'd be happy to send you a sample of our new Blick Artists' Soft Pastels for you to try for yourself. If interested, feel welcome to PM us or send us a post request in our forum. Please include the mailing address you wish us to send the sample.

Kristal



Someone help me decide! I have about $200 to spend and would like to get some new pastels. I sort of have it narrowed down to Grt American Artworks Big Box of Greys, or Terri Ludwigs 60 Plein Air, or Terri Ludwigs Mid Atlantic set, put together by Cape May artist Stan Sperlak....

Due to previous purchases of general sets by Sennelier, Schminke, W&N, Rembrandt, Webers, etc, I already have a huge amount of bright and barely used colors, since I don't paint flowers, portraits, or sunsets. I think my selection is lacking in muted, colorful grays.

What about performance? Do any of you have experience with the above sets? Does anyone have additional sugggestions for other brands?

I noticed that Dick Blick has pastels now, just called Blick Pastels. Nice color selection, and great price. They have them listed as artists quality. Anyone use them? Also, what about these Koh-I-Noor Torson D'or Soft Pastels? I saw them at ACMoore, and they are also listed as an artist quality. They seem pretty decent, and again, not too expensive.

Thanks for any help you all can offer, it has been a while since I could purchase any new pastels, so I want to make the right choice. The Stan Sperlak midatlantic ludwig set can be seen at stansperlak.com, just click on "store"....

Phil Bates
02-15-2010, 06:25 PM
JMP,

I would vote for the Thunderstorm grays or Girault grays. These sticks are slightly harder than Ludwig or Schminke which can be an advantage. When using muted colors, you typically want to save some tooth for the high chroma touches which are typically added at the finish of a painting. It's hard to save tooth with a set of very soft grays.

Phil

allydoodle
02-15-2010, 06:51 PM
JMP,

I agree with Phil, either brand is excellent, and for the reasons he stated.

jmp
02-15-2010, 08:28 PM
Wow, thank you so much everyone. I do think a set of grays is going to be the most useful for me - but I have to check out the Deborah Paris Ludwigs too. Phil, you are right about not wanting to fill up too much tooth with ultra soft muted colors. I hadn't considered that.

For those of you who mentioned Girault, I have been looking at those for a few years and want to get a set, but had not considered them for this purchase, and I hadn't considered Mt Vision either, I think for price reasons...but I'll take a second look. I hear Giraults are very versatile, due to their size and shape, and their in-between not too soft and soft...and they look sooo pretty in the box. But then, I feel that way about most pastels. Thanks so much for the above included Girault color chart, now I have to compare it to the other grey charts!

Funny how no one really has an opinion about Great American? And thanks so much for the Dakota Schminke sale info - I usually shy away from Dakota, their regular prices are higher than most.

Again, thanks everyone, I am very grateful for the advice.

Sonni
02-15-2010, 09:51 PM
I love Great American and feel they are equal to Schmincke. Many of their colors are muted and they go on like butter. I use their Gray Box, a set of 18 grays.

Paula Ford
02-16-2010, 12:50 AM
I just ordered a handful of the new Dick Blick pastels and they should be here tomorrow so I'll let you know how I like them :D

jmp
02-16-2010, 12:19 PM
good to know about the great american pastels, I like schminke, so I should like them too.

Paula, thanks, i would really appreciate hearing what you think. Such a great price for them, I hope I like them.

jmp
02-19-2010, 09:01 PM
I got my Blick soft pastel sample in the mail today. Though i haven't actually used it for painting, I did play around with it a little and am impressed with it. Not sure if this is one of those lines where softness will vary from color to color, but the red one that I was sent is pretty soft. Not quite as soft as Sennelier or Schminke, but not too far behind them. Definitely much softer than Rembrandt, Windsor&Newton, Weber, Graumbacher or Yarka. I heard they were made in England, and possibly by a big pastel company, but I would have to have the big set to really compare them.

I think that these are a great buy, and would love to get a big set to replace the non-lightfast Nupastels I have been using.

mollerman
02-24-2010, 10:35 PM
I am not familiar with most of the different brands. I bought a set of Blick designer pastels which are supposedly similiar to the hard nupastels. The Blick designer set does not sell sticks individually at this time but they are a harder pastel than what is typically sold in the master catalog. I don't know why they are not listed in the master catalog? Anyway this is about the only pastel I am familiar with and I use them with UArt 400 grit paper. I am happy with the results but I don't know any better. In my case, the price was right as a beginner I would like to try other pastels and now I have a good idea on what brands I may try next.

robertsloan2
02-24-2010, 10:49 PM
Got my sample of the Blick Artist pastels and it's nice, beautiful strong red. Those aren't very expensive and I think they do have a lot of muted colors in the range and grayed colors. I like the price on the full range set, very reasonable.

If I wanted grays though, I'd get the Mt. Vision thunderstorm grays set, that looked so cool.

Paula Ford
02-24-2010, 11:00 PM
I also received the new Blick pastels a couple of days ago and used them in my newest painting. I have to say, I LOVE'M!! They are about as hard as Rembrandts, but no scratchiness and are not greasy.

Great job Dick Blick!!

artsygala
02-25-2010, 04:12 AM
I got my Blick soft pastel sample in the mail today. Though i haven't actually used it for painting, I did play around with it a little and am impressed with it. Not sure if this is one of those lines where softness will vary from color to color, but the red one that I was sent is pretty soft. Not quite as soft as Sennelier or Schminke, but not too far behind them. Definitely much softer than Rembrandt, Windsor&Newton, Weber, Graumbacher or Yarka. I heard they were made in England, and possibly by a big pastel company, but I would have to have the big set to really compare them.

I think that these are a great buy, and would love to get a big set to replace the non-lightfast Nupastels I have been using.


I bought 20 Blick soft pastels. Based on their names (pansy violet, autumn brown) and being made in England, I am quite sure they are made by Daler-Rowney. I compared the Blicks to my Rowneys (old formula) on a piece of Uart 400 grit. The old Rowneys were softer, but not by much. I hope Blick introduces more colours and tints. I noticed expensive colours like the cadmiums were 'hues', which keeps costs down.

As for greys, I've always loved Rowney's purple-grey and red-grey tints and am glad to see them in Blick's line.

jmp
02-25-2010, 12:30 PM
Yes, I am impressed with the Blick Pastels as well. At first I thought they were a little more crumbly/dusty - but that was only when I was using the tip of the pastel, the edges broke off a little. After removing the paper and using them in other ways, I have to say they are great!

The only thing that stops me from buying them right now is that I really need some muted and grayed down colors - not more brights. But the price is too good to pass up, and with the quality, it is a sure thing that I'll be purchasing a full set within 6 months. Maybe for now I'll get some singles in the shades I need.
Thanks everyone for your opinions on these!

jmp
02-25-2010, 12:31 PM
Yes, I am impressed with the Blick Pastels as well. At first I thought they were a little more crumbly/dusty - but that was only when I was using the tip of the pastel, the edges broke off a little. After removing the paper and using them in other ways, I have to say they are great!

The only thing that stops me from buying them right now is that I really need some muted and grayed down colors - not more brights. But the price is too good to pass up, and with the quality, it is a sure thing that I'll be purchasing a full set within 6 months. Maybe for now I'll get some singles in the shades I need.
Thanks everyone for your opinions on these!

PS - I mentioned above that I wanted these pastels to replace my nupastels, but they are far too nice/too soft for that purpose!

patsbeads
02-26-2010, 03:25 AM
I am really new to soft pastels but I did order some of the dick blick pastels, they came today . When I was breaking them to put in my tray and I did notice that there was some differences in the hardness of them. A few were pretty hard. I ordered a prussian blue that I almost couldn't break in half.I actually didn't think I was going to get it broken in half, I had to put it on the table edge and really apply pressure to break it. I don't know if it is that it may have been older stock, or if that is natural for that color. I do think they are going to be great to work with and I don't think the variable hardness be an issue for me. I also got some other brands (senns, mt visions, ludwigs, holbeins, and a few polychromos) and I noticed the same differences in hardness in the senns, and maybe a little difference in the mt visions and ludwigs. Like I said though I am really new to soft pastels and I can't wait to start painting with all of my new sticks tomorrow.. Pat

Colorix
02-26-2010, 09:30 AM
Pat, some colours are harder, especially the chemically made pigments, like Prussian blue. Some brands try to even out the quality, while others sacrify eveness to intensity of colour. If you're working on gritty paper, it shouldn't matter.

Charlie

PETE K
02-27-2010, 10:47 PM
[They are about as hard as Rembrandts, but no scratchiness and are not greasy.]

Paula, thank you for this info. I'm going to give them a try also. the set of Rembrandts i have i never reall like them much because of the greasy/waxie feeling they had. remind me some what of oil pastels not as bad tho.

patsbeads
02-27-2010, 11:36 PM
I have been playing with the dick blicks and I really do like them. I don't really think the variation in hardness is going to be any problem .They are not scratchy, they go on really nice and smooth. I am having so much fun getting dusty.I have painted with oils, acrylic, watercolor and I have never had as much fun as with pastels. I think I have finally found my perfect fit.
Pat

saramathewson
02-28-2010, 11:22 AM
hehehe "another one bites the dust..." hehehe

Welcome to the dusty side Pat! You will find pastels are quite addicting. My first medium of choice was watercolors and i never thought I would paint with anything else until I used pastels on sanded paper. I will still use watercolor as I do love them but Pastels have become my first medium of choice:)

Sara

saramathewson
02-28-2010, 11:25 AM
Marcus, I have never heard of the Blick designer pastels.

I went to your website and I would say you know what you are doing with whatever media you were using on all the paintings i saw. You are very talented if you are indeed a beginner!

Sara

mollerman
02-28-2010, 04:20 PM
Sara - The Blick Designer pastels were sold through a sales flyer Blick sent me. I did not find them in the master catalog and thought maybe they were new and haven't been published in the new catalog yet or were a discontinued item?I just received some of the Blick soft pastels and they definetely appear to me to be softer than the designer set I bought. Blick does not sell the designer pastels individually:( and can only be bought in sets. This is the information I got from Blick order department last week.The price was right and been very happy with them as I apply them to UArt #400.
Really, my past art experience has been drawing and pen & ink mostly. I have learned a bunch since joining wc and am indebted, and grateful for the influence and support. Thank you for the compliment...you forgot to say hi in my guest book :lol: :lol: :lol:

CalArtist
03-01-2010, 01:43 AM
Hi,

I have both the Girault greys and the Mount Vision 'Thunderstorm Grays.' If you feel you might use these grays on an ongoing basis (and I mean neutrals, not just hues of black and white), economy may dictate that you go with the Mount Visions, which are fine pastels, but with an entirely different feel than Giraults.

With any of the better pastels, you may want to buy one of the sets as a seed set, and then build around that set by pruchasing individual pastels that extend from the pastels in that set. I think that would be a useful scheme.

If you like a firmer pastel, as I do in the early stages of the painting, Daler-Rowney makes some great pastels, and has sets of cool grays and warm grays (again, neutrals, not blacks and whites) at reasonable prices; especially since it seems you have some very soft pastels in your collection.

Blick Art Materials
03-01-2010, 05:52 PM
Hi All,
I wanted to add into the conversation regarding our Blick pastel products. I checked with our buyer, as I too wasn't familiar with a "Blick Designer" pastel series. We currently offer our Blick Artists' Soft Pastels as well as our Hard Pastels. Feel welcome to call us, if you have any other questions on our house brand of products.

Kristal