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Andrew
03-09-2010, 05:45 PM
Pastel and I have had an on going love/hate relationship. But I am feeling the urge to give them another go.

I am looking for any recommendations on a starter palette or set? I tend to be a very limited palette kinda guy, and this is a whim on a bit of a shoestring.

Thanks,
Andrew

water girl
03-09-2010, 06:14 PM
You could try Rembrandts to begin with. They come in sets of half sticks. That's how I started. And also pick up a small set of NuPastels, Polychromos or Jack Richeson's hard pastels. I use the hard pastels to block in color, which begins to fill in the tooth. Then cover that layer with your softer pastels. It's an inexpesive way to begin.

DAK723
03-09-2010, 06:21 PM
Here is a previous thread on the subject that might help:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=589582

Another thread on Starting in soft pastels:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=392571

Hope these help!

Don

Andrew
03-09-2010, 06:29 PM
Thanks Don, water girl.

I will have to peruse those links in a bit when I have the time to absorb what I am reading.

I already have a full set of NuPastels and collection of the greys and blacks. I prefer them to conté, for non-earthtones. And I enjoy using NuPastels over watercolor in sketches.

Andrew

robertsloan2
03-09-2010, 09:50 PM
Blick Artists Pastels -- if you're doing this on a shoestring, they are pretty soft for medium-soft and the ranges are good on their smaller sets as well as the full range set. Some colors are a lot brighter than the swatches. I'm planning on a full range set and that's still only $125, so you should be able to find the size of starter that suits your budget.

They're a bit cheaper in sets than open stock too. The larger a set you get though, the easier it'll be. Don't bother with Yarka or the student grade ones though, they're not that great.

GaryNorthants
03-09-2010, 10:44 PM
Hi Andrew,
You already have a pretty complete palette and I look forward to seeing you use them. You might want to check the paper threads to see what you pastels will do. Have fun and good luck
Gary

Studio-1-F
03-10-2010, 09:57 AM
I am looking for any recommendations on a starter palette or set? I tend to be a very limited palette kinda guy, and this is a whim on a bit of a shoestring. Thanks, Andrew
First off, Andrew, know that there is no 'shoestring' in pastels. :heart: Well, maybe so. But it takes work to go 'shoestring'!

My rec for a starter set is the Great American Set of 60 Half Sticks (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/18306/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost). I really like the colors and the smooth soft texture of the GAs.

For something a bit harder and somewhat closer to your NuPastels, there is the Girault line. They have a bunch of sets (http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/5704/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost) to choose from.

The other thing that I very strongly recommend is to use good, sanded paper or specially prepared pastel paper. Results on Canson were really dismal for me and very, very discouraging. If you are on a very strict budget, prepare your own paper using Colourfix primer (http://www.artspectrum.com.au/colourfix.html) on illustration board or heavy watercolor paper. (Other ideas for surfaces are here (http://jan777.blogspot.com/2009/12/eight-adaptable-pastel-supports.html).)

Good luck! Be sure to post your results!

Jan

prestonsega
03-10-2010, 11:13 PM
Here is a list of popular brands listed in order of softness (#1 being the softest)

#1 SCHMINCKE
#2 GREAT AMERICAN
#3 SENNELIER
#4 UNISON
#5 TERRY LUDWIG
#6 DIANE TOWNSEND SOFT
#7 DIANE TOWNSEND TERRAGES
#8 DALER-ROWNEY
#9 GIRAULT
#10 MOUNT VISION
#11 REMBRANDT
#12 ART SPECTRUM
#13 WINSOR & NEWTON
#14 HOLBEIN
#15 NUPASTEL
#16 FABER-CASTELL POLYCHROMOS

Also, Dakota sells sampler pastel sets that will allow you to test several brands side by side before taking the plunge.

Hope this helps.

Lynndidj
03-10-2010, 11:38 PM
Preston - gotta say I think Ludwig comes after Schmincke or the GA's - they are certainly MUCH softer than Senns or Unison - at least IMHO. I'd list them as #2 or #3.

Lynn

robertsloan2
03-10-2010, 11:44 PM
Good general list, though from the sample I got, Rembrandt would come after the Art Spectrum rather than before. Blick Artist would be somewhere around Mount Vision.

Thanks for the link to the Great American half stick set -- I like the colors. I like the colors in the Claudia Seymour floral still lifes assortment even better, one row of neutrals and the rest are all a good Colourist range with darks, pure tones, tints and light tints around the spectrum.

prestonsega
03-11-2010, 12:02 AM
Don't shoot the messenger.....:o LOL

OOps......I lifted this list from Dakota's website and failed to give the proper credit......(did ya'll really think I was smart enough to pull this list together ? )

Colorix
03-11-2010, 07:22 AM
No worries, we all recognize that list on sight. And nobody agrees with it, either... :-)

TL is definitely softer than Unisons and Senneliers, f'rexample. But Dakota may be measuring average of a whole brand.

Shoestring: I think you can make do with around 40 carefully selected sticks. (Abslolute minimum would be around 20.) That would teach how to use them to their fullest. Mixing, hatching, scumbling, you could get nearly any colour and value out of those. I mean, either you have 2 000 sticks, and spend time searching for the exact one, or you have 40 sticks and spend time, on paper, creating the colour you want. I'm comfortable with about 100 sticks, don't need many more than that.

Charlie

HwyStar
03-11-2010, 09:10 AM
Then would everyone agree that the "Generalized", modified list below is correct for the pastel brands?

Soft:
#1 SCHMINCKE
#2 GREAT AMERICAN
#3 TERRY LUDWIG
#4 SENNELIER
#5 UNISON
#6 DIANE TOWNSEND SOFT
#7 DIANE TOWNSEND TERRAGES
#8 DALER-ROWNEY
#9 GIRAULT
#10 MOUNT VISION
#11 ART SPECTRUM
#12 REMBRANDT
#13 WINSOR & NEWTON
#14 HOLBEIN
#15 NUPASTEL
#16 FABER-CASTELL POLYCHROMOS
:Hard

Thanks for the list Prestonsega. I had not seen this list on Dakota's website.

Colorix
03-11-2010, 09:56 AM
Getting pastellists to agre on *anything*???! ;-)

Possibly if we group them? Do add your opinions:

Ultra Soft: Schmincke

Super Soft: Great American, Terry Ludwig

Soft: Sennelier, Unison, Diane Townsend soft.

Medium Soft: Townsend terrages, Daler Rowney, Girault, Winsor & Newton

Medium : Mount Vision, Art Spectrum, Rembrandt

Medium Hard: Richeson's Square, Holbein

Hard: NuPastel, FC Polychromos.

Or?

Charlie

allydoodle
03-11-2010, 12:03 PM
Charlie,

IMHO, Mount Visions are more like Giraults, only larger. I've also found Windsor Newton to be more like Rembrants.

Regarding any of the other brands you've listed that I'm familiar with, I agree with the rest of your your list :D .

Colorix
03-11-2010, 01:19 PM
Chris, would you move MV up to Medium Soft, then? Or move down Girault to Medium?

W&N goes down to Medium. I checked the one stick I have... :-)

Revision A

Ultra Soft: Schmincke

Super Soft: Great American, Terry Ludwig

Soft: Sennelier, Unison, Diane Townsend soft.

Medium Soft: Townsend terrages, Daler Rowney, Girault

Medium : Mount Vision, Art Spectrum, Rembrandt, Winsor & Newton

Medium Hard: Richeson's Square, Holbein

Hard: NuPastel, FC Polychromos.

WC Lee
03-11-2010, 01:52 PM
I think MV are more of a medium soft than in the same range as rembrandt.

I also think Unison is more of a medium soft too :)

Colorix
03-11-2010, 02:12 PM
OK, Lee, waiting for more opinions before next revision. :-) I think I agree, though.

Charlie

prestonsega
03-11-2010, 04:27 PM
I agree with Lee

HwyStar
03-12-2010, 09:08 AM
And where do the Blick pastels fall into that list at? New users like me will want to know.

robertsloan2
03-12-2010, 09:28 AM
I'd put Blick Artist's between Mount Vision and Art Spectrum, based on a one color sample. I won't know till I have more of them whether all the colors have a consistent texture -- some brands sacrifice consistency of texture for pigment purity, others add fillers to keep the texture consistent. Every brand has a different formula. But they are in a category with Art Spectrum and Rembrandt.

Based on the sample I liked it quite a lot more than the Rembrandt. But my sample of new formula Rembrandt might have been old or particularly hard, others like Charlie find them a perfectly good workhorse. My vintage set of Rembrandt have a lovely texture a lot like the Art Spectrums, it's just the new ones that I got in a sample that were quite harder.

HwyStar
03-12-2010, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the post Robert! I plan on keeping the completed list on my hard drive for reference purposes, for the future.

Colorix
03-12-2010, 10:54 AM
Maybe this needs a post of its own? Do add opinions to it.

Revision B

Ultra Soft: Schmincke

Super Soft: Great American, Terry Ludwig

Soft: Sennelier, Diane Townsend soft.

Medium Soft: Unison, Mount Vision, Townsend terrages, Daler Rowney, Girault, Blick Artists, Richeson handmade, (Manet, same as Richeson).

Medium : Art Spectrum, Rembrandt, Winsor & Newton

Medium Hard: Richeson's Square, Holbein

Hard: NuPastel, FC Polychromos.

Charlie

allydoodle
03-12-2010, 10:30 PM
Charlie,

IMHO, I think I agree with you now :D . I have 11 of the listed brands, and I would stack them ultra soft to hard just the way you did. I'm sure the rest of them are pretty accurate too, based on how I've heard other artists describe them.

This is a sickness, isn't it? What other medium gets artists this excited about their materials? :lol: I could talk about this all day long, and have fun doing it!

prestonsega
03-13-2010, 12:02 AM
Maybe this needs a post of its own?
Charlie

LOL

chuas2
03-13-2010, 12:39 PM
:lol: I think Sennelier belongs in all categories, since I've found they come in so-soft-you-can't-breathe-on-them to suitable-for-sidewalk-art.

RiJoRi
03-15-2010, 05:22 PM
Andrew? An-n-dre-e-ew!! Has anyone here seen Andrew??

--Rich

PETE K
03-15-2010, 07:02 PM
Sorry Charlie, but i do find that Richeson squaress are a lot harder then Nu-pastals.

bchlvr
03-18-2010, 07:31 AM
I would have to agree with the list in thread 8 or 16. To me the list in 23 is way off.

Gerri Mc
03-18-2010, 06:10 PM
IMVHO, I agree that Senneliers are softer than Unison! I don't have experience of many of the others.

To go back to the original question, I almost gave up on pastels completely until I tried pastelmat paper (card). I love it!:thumbsup:

Colorix
03-18-2010, 07:15 PM
And I have given up on that grouped list, but I knew it would be impossible to agree, even on whether it should exist at all, or be posted in a thread.

We all have our favourites, and criteria. Was interesting to try, though, for a student of human reactions.

Charlie

bchlvr
03-18-2010, 09:11 PM
lol Charlie! Just goes to show you can't please everyone...lol.

Gerri...I like the pastelmat also. I like several of the others too but I do like the pastelmat that seems to hold a lot of pastel yet feels smooth to the touch. I will definitely buy more.

RiJoRi
03-19-2010, 10:37 AM
Gee, maybe some ISO group could develop a "standard pastel" (say, 6mm x 6mm x 75mm) and determine all sorts of physical properties (useful & not :D ) from it...

"Sennelier's Standard Pastel (Red 3250) has a breaking strength of 300 grams"
"Holbein's Standard Pastel (Purple 1480) has a breaking strength of 3000 grams"

Of course, they would need to do it for all colors which might take a while...

--Rich
(Also an engineer)

Colorix
03-19-2010, 12:09 PM
Rich, right, the possibilities are, if not endless, quite many. :-D ...specially the not useful ones: "Let this be pure science, of absolutely no practical use whatsoever." (Btw, Love your signature lines!)

Charlie

chuas2
03-20-2010, 12:20 PM
Gee, maybe some ISO group could develop a "standard pastel" (say, 6mm x 6mm x 75mm) and determine all sorts of physical properties (useful & not :D ) from it...

--Rich
(Also an engineer)

I suddenly had an image of crash test dummies made of pastel. :lol:

Colorix
03-20-2010, 02:41 PM
I suddenly had an image of crash test dummies made of pastel. :lol:

There is one... :wink2: nearly. I was wondering how people got Senneliers to crumble in their hands, so I squeezed a stick really hard between thumb and fingers, and it did crumble. So, don't hold onto the stick for dear life or it will 'crash', gently does it.

JPQ
03-24-2010, 11:10 PM
Its nice know i need many pastels i actually think maxium what i ever
way when stuff dont go way too pricey is about 40-100 pastels. my
current idea contains about 50 pastels.
chuas2: nice product idea this pastel test dummie.

Andrew
05-06-2010, 11:31 AM
Andrew? An-n-dre-e-ew!! Has anyone here seen Andrew??

--Rich

I'm still running amok. Just took me a while to circle back to this topic.

After sorting through all the pastel options, oil painting just seems so much easier. I have opted to shoot for some free samples to make my final decision. I have talked to several instructors and weeded through a few introductory books to get an idea on a starter palette.

Surfaces aren't a problem. I have a couple different Canson papers, and some velour paper that has been in my flat file for what seems forever. I also have some boards I prepped with powdered pumice, which has a good tooth and a delightful warm neutral gray. And I plan on ordering some UArt and Clairefontaine card.

Andrew